Trail Etiquette Tips

The weather is warming up! Summer is upon us! It’s time to head into the mountains for outdoor adventure!

If you’re planning on hiking, biking, running or riding the trails, the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign offers five friendly reminders about trail etiquette.

Overall, the goal is to be a good Trail Ambassador!

  1. Stay off Muddy Trails. With recent rains and mountain snow, the snow elevations are lower than normal and you may encounter muddy trails in the mountains or canyons. If that occurs, it’s best to turn around and find another place to play where the trails are dry.
  2. Stay on Designated Trails. This is a universal rule for all trail users.
  3. Ride on the proper trails suitable for your trail machine. Make sure you’re visiting a trail that’s appropriate for your style of trail riding – singletrack trails and up for motorbikes, 50-inch trails and up for ATVs, and jeep trails, two-tracks and dirt roads for UTVs. Do your research ahead of time with online and paper maps so you know where to go. Be aware that some trails are closed to motorized use.  
  4. Share the Trails. Be prepared to encounter other people on the trail – whether it be walkers, mountain bikers, runners, horseback riders, motorcycles, ATVs, etc. In general, yield the trail to uphill traffic. Mountain bikers and motorized trail users should slow down when approaching  blind corners to avoid any conflicts with people coming from the other direction.
    • On non-motorized trails, mountain bikers should yield to walkers, runners and horseback riders. Slow down when you approach other trail users.
    • If you encounter a horseback rider on the trail, stop, step off the trail and talk to the rider as they approach and say “Hi.” That lets the horse know you’re human.
    • If you’re mountain biking on a trail, and you approach a horseback rider from behind, say “Hi” and let them know you’re approaching. They will pull off to the side and let you pass. Talk to the rider and let the horse know you’re human. And continue with your ride.
  5. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Respectful. We’re all out on the trails to have a good time. Be a good trail ambassador and go out of your way to be friendly and courteous to people. It might make their day!

See more comprehensive details about trail etiquette at Tread Lightly.

Stop and talk to horseback riders so the horses know you’re human. Courtesy REI
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