Hiking Etiquette & Guidelines

Those who use our local trails come in all types — ranging from  hikers to power walkers, trail runners, photographers, uphill and downhill bikers, naturalists — and in all ages, genders, and walks of life. On a typical day there'll be college age students, the elderly , kids, families, out of towners and those with and without their dogs. There are those out for the views, those looking for an off-trail adventure and others looking for one of the many hidden waterfalls or water holes.

In a typical year more than 100,000 of these types frequent the front country trails and 2-3 times that if you count all the trails in all of the county. Amazingly, for the most part, everyone seems to get along fairly well, have a great time out on the trail and care reasonably well for the trails.

A great deal of this, I think, is due to the respect that most have for our local trails and desire to keep them that way for the next trip out in the hills. If you haven't been out on our trails, here are a few things to keep in mind that will help us maintain the trails and allow others to enjoy themselves as much as you are:

    • Be friendly and have fun. The other hikers are out to have a good time just like you are, and a friendly “howdy” or “hello” can go a long way toward fostering a positive atmosphere among everyone on the trail.
    • While fun is great do keep in mind the other hikers on the trail. Voices carry.
    • Make sure to carry out everything you brought in with you. The number one thing that hikers agree takes away from their experience is seeing trash along the trail.
    • Leaving doggie bags along the trail is an absolute no-no. 
    • Stay off the trails after it rains or until they dry out enough that you won't damage them. Walking on muddy trails is one of the main ways that the tread is damaged.
    • Please don't shortcut switchbacks. Aside from aesthetics, the erosion caused by water running down these shortcuts is a serious long term problem for maintaining the trails.

The click the "Leave No Trace" tab for a more thorough overview of the many ways you can improve your own habits when out hiking on our trails.

Thursday, September 3, 2020