Nothing is as invigorating as a brisk hike in the outdoor air. Hiking is an excellent way to view nature up close, exercise your muscles, and enjoy the beauty and scenery around you. Nothing ruins a good hike faster than someone who doesn’t follow appropriate hiking etiquette. If you are new to hiking, you may be unaware of some of the unwritten rules. However, even old hiking pros can still benefit from a refresher course in manners now and then!
Follow these basic hiking rules and you will maximize the safety and enjoyment of everyone during your hike:
Stick to the trail
Sticking to the trail is the first rule of a safe hiking experience. Trails are used for a reason, usually because they are the safest way to travel through a particular area. Going off-trail is not only dangerous, but it could harm the surrounding wildlife or plant ecosystem.
Share the trail
Chances are, you will encounter a fellow traveler at least once during your hike. Generally, slower travelers stick to the right and passing is done on the left, just like on the road. Bikers yield to hikers, horses, and motorized vehicles. Hikers yield to motorized vehicles and horses. Downhill travelers allow uphill travelers the right of way.
Keep things clean
Just like the Boy Scouts, you should always try to leave a trail cleaner than you found it. Always dispose of trash properly, and if you see trash littering the trail, pick it up and dispose of it. If you must urinate during your hike, take a few steps away from the trail to complete your business. Use biodegradable cleaning products, if possible.
Respect the atmosphere
Most people hike to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Respect this desire by keeping loud chatter and activity to a minimum. Rowdiness can not only disturb fellow hikers, but it will also disturb the surrounding wildlife.
Know and follow regulations
Before starting on any hike, make sure you know the regulations for that particular trail. Rules for building fires, eating, disposing of waste, and other trail regulations vary from trail-to-trail. Make sure you know the rules for your trail to avoid causing unnecessary and undesired impact on the area.
Chat with others
Greet others briefly, when you pass them on the trail. This is polite, and it can also act as a safety measure. Getting to know others on the trail can help prevent accidents and increases the safety of all involved.
What etiquette rules are important to you during hikes?