When you’re out in nature hiking the trails, you can get so immersed in the beauty of your surroundings, the wind in our hair and the ground beneath your feet, that it can be all too easy to forget your manners. However, trail etiquette is old and important – it keeps everyone safe and ensures that the trails are well-maintained for us all to enjoy.
If you need to brush up on your hiking etiquette, check out these useful tips for hikers:
The first thing you should bear in mind when hiking is that there is a ladder of hierarchy on the trails. Horses should always take priority, followed by hikers, with cyclists coming in third. Now that you know this, you can always be sure to make way for the relevant parties, ensure the trails are safe and pleasant and avoid any nasty confrontations.
Additionally, you should remember that, if you are being passed by horses, you will need to move off the trail a little on the downhill side, if it is possible to do so. This will prevent the animals from getting startled by taking you out of their immediate path and making you look smaller.
When you’re hiking, you should always give way to uphill traffic. Going uphill is harder work than going downhill, and when you’ve built up some steam, and you’re going along at a pleasant pace, the last thing you want is to have to change course, lose momentum and start again. So, put yourself in the place of others and always yield to the uphill travelers.
Hikers should always try to stay on the right side of the trail, and if they wish to pass someone ahead of them, they should always do so on the left, after warning the person in front what they are about to do. Doing this helps to stop accidents and annoyances on the trail.
Leave No Trace
So, you’ve gone up the trail with a mountain of supplies including food, water, string and your best backpacking tent to see you through your trip. You’ve built a fire, had a feast and enjoyed your time in the woods. Now it’s time to leave, what do you do? If you’re an inconsiderate person, you’ll leave your food wrappers on the ground along with the ashes of your extinguished fire and leave. Who wants to carry more than they have to on the trails right?
On the other hand, you’re a very considerate person, you will pick up and repack everything you brought with you, including wrappers, apple cores, and banana peels and take them home with you to be disposed of safely, so that the next hikers who come along won’t have to look at your trash.
There is nothing wrong with listening to your portable radio or playing your iPod when you’re out on the tail, but try not to do it in the vicinity of other people who might prefer to listen to the birds sing rather than Beyoncé. Be aware of your surroundings and ask others if they mind before you do anything that could spoil their trip.
If you bear all of the above in mind, you’ll have a great hiking trip and so will everyone else on the trails.