Hiking etiquette: How not to be a jerk on the trail

Most everybody hikes for their own personal experience – be it adrenaline-fueled exercise or a contemplative walk – but that doesn’t mean you can completely ignore your fellow hikers.

Trail etiquette is incredibly important, especially as more and more people crowd trailheads this spring and summer, but what does it mean to hike politely?

For hikers encountering other hikers, the general rule of thumb is that the person going downhill yields to the person going uphill. On mixed-use trails, mountain bikers yield to hikers, and everybody yields to horses.

Just like driving on a freeway, it’s good to let faster hikers and trail runners pass. It doesn’t have to be complicated, simply step aside when you sense, see or hear someone coming up behind you. For those doing the passing, make your presence known with a simple “hello” or “excuse me” when you approach.

Here are a few hiking do’s and don’ts to keep in mind this season. Don’t think of them as hard-and-fast rules, but rather strong suggestions, pleas for politeness, requests for basic respect. We all share the same trails, so let’s treat each other well while we’re out there.

 

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