How to Be a Courteous Hiker When You’re Out and About
Hiking offers those who partake. It also offers hikers the chance to connect with, appreciate, and value nature and learn how their actions can affect the environment. With the growing popularity of hiking comes increasing challenges, one of which is sustaining the natural environment and managing the crowd that traverses the trails. It is essential that you, as a hiker, pay attention to your path and respectful other hikers and the trail.
Below, we share some tips on how to be a responsible hiker while you’re out discovering the natural world.
“Right of Way”
Trails are often narrow which may be a challenge, especially if it’s a multi-use trail, meaning the path may be used by those on foot, on a bicycle, or on a horse. If you practice common courtesy, you’ll have pleasant interactions with everyone you cross.
Therefore, acquaint yourself with the “horse, hiker, biker” rule. This is a generally accepted rule wherein hikers yield to horses. Bikers, on the other hand, should yield to both hikers and horses. This helps in managing the traffic flow and ensures that everybody gets to use the path fairly.
When traversing a single-track trail, you need to consider uphill and downhill traffic. Hikers who are going downhill should yield to those hiking uphill.
Be sure to stay on the right of the trail. If you need to overtake someone, be sure to go on the left side of the trail and signal them that you’re about to pass. Usually, saying “on your left” is enough to inform the other hiker that you’re going to overtake them.
Hike Single File
Trails are often narrow and can only allow one to two people to pass at the same time. Thus, hiking in groups can make it hard for other hikers to pass. As a general guide, it’s better to hike single file. It allows uphill and downhill hikers to use the trail at the same time.
Disconnect & Focus on Nature
Hiking allows you to enjoy nature. Don’t spoil it by bringing loudspeakers and boomboxes. Be considerate of others who want to bask in the peace and solitude that the great outdoors has to offer.
Leave No Trace Behind
Imagine that you’re a guest in your friend’s home. You wouldn’t leave your garbage behind, right? It’s the same with hiking. You’re expected to observe the “leave no trace behind” principle, by not leaving your garbage behind when you camp or hike. You’re expected to minimize your footprint and avoid disrupting the natural form of the environment.
Do you have your own hiking guidelines that you practice while you’re out and about? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.