Trail Etiquette

Trail Etiquette

Trails are used for a variety of recreational activities, including walking, hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and for ATV purposes. While on the trials, we recommend that users follow trail etiquette guidelines. By practicing trail etiquette, users make sure that everyone can fully enjoy the trail experience. Below is an outline of trail etiquette, divided into five sections: safety, a code of ethics, environmental awareness, and public awareness

Safety Etiquette

Trail users have the responsibility and right to ensure their own safety and expect safe practices from others. The best ways to practice trail safety are to exercise caution and to obey the signs on the trails. Safe trail users first try to prevent accidents or injuries from happening, and then act responsibly if something does occur. The most important safety etiquette rule to keep in mind is “Wheels yield to Heels.” When approaching other trail users, cyclists yield to all other users, while hikers, walkers, and skiers yield to equestrians. ATV users yield to all others on the trails, including cyclists. When passing others on the trails, users should stay to the right side.

Public Awareness

When practicing proper etiquette towards the public, trail users act as valuable representatives of the trail community. The rules for public etiquette, listed below, are founded on respect.

  • Be friendly towards other trail users. Stop, speak, and answer questions in a polite manner.
  • Present a neat appearance, remembering to be a good public representative of all trail users.
  • Any equestrian or motorized vehicle user under the age of 16 should be accompanied by an adult.

Code of Ethics

Trail users show respect for others, for nature, and for themselves by following a code of ethics that forms the foundation of trail etiquette.

  • Respect private property.
  • Respect the rights of other trail users.
  • Respect nature and the environment.
  • Leave only footprints, hoofprints or wheel tracks behind.
  • Do not mistreat wildlife or livestock.
  • Use only the route identified as the trail.
  • Always proceed slowly in areas that are heavily used.
  • Help anyone who is in trouble or has less trail experience.
  • Avoid showing off or performing stunts.
  • Observe posted speed limits.
  • Report any crimes witnessed, including poaching.
  • Enjoy the beauty of the trails and the pleasure of recreational activity.
  • Environmental Awareness

By following rules of environmental etiquette, trail users help to protect nature and maintain the trails for present and future use. Below are guidelines for environmental trail etiquette.

  • Keep the trails and surrounding area clean.
  • Do not litter. When possible, pick up any litter that others have carelessly left behind.
  • Be sure to leave the trail with everything that was first taken onto it.
  • Be careful to extinguish cigarettes butts completely. It only takes a small butt to start a big forest fire.
  • Do not damage crops or property adjacent to the trail, such as lawns in residential areas.
  • Stay on the marked trail path. Deviations from the path lead to unnecessary destruction of vegetation and may even lead to soil erosion.
  • Do not harass wildlife or livestock.
  • Leave plants in their natural habitat. Do not pick flowers or other vegetation in the trail areas.