The basic trail etiquette rule is “Wheels yield to heels”. ATVers, motorcyclists and snowmobilers yield to all other trail users. Bicyclists yield to hikers and walkers who in turn yield to horseback riders.
Every trail user has the responsibility to ensure his or her own safety. However, trail users should expect and demand safe practices from other trail users. Trail users should exercise caution at all times and follow local trail regulations. Preventing accidents or injuries is the first step; acting responsibly if an incident occurs is the second step. Always think clearly before reacting!
Basic Trail Etiquette
- Be aware of other trail users
- Know and obey posted trail rules
- Heed all hazard signs – they are there for trail user safety
- Stay to the right of the trail (except when passing)
- Slow down at corners
- Always clean up after yourself
- Obey all the trail rules
- Give a clear warning signal when passing
- Travel at a reasonable speed at all times
- Keep pets on leash
- Move off the trail when letting others pass
- Yield to other trail-users when entering or crossing a trail
- Stay on the trail (respect the environment by not venturing off the trail)
- Do not litter
- Do not contaminate water sources (wash 100 feet away from any nearby water source)
- Use provided toilet facilities (if you are unable to find a facility, dig a hole 6 inches deep at least 200 feet from any open water)
- Do not make open fires (use picnic areas and grills where provided)
- Respect wildlife – do not disturb plants or animals – this is their home, you are the visitor.
Trail Etiquette for Different Users
Hikers, Walkers, Backpackers
- Move off the trail whenever possible for other trail users
- When meeting someone riding a horse, step off the trail and speak calmly
- Avoid walking on cross country ski tracks or on groomed snowmobile trails in the winter time
- Always yield the trail to hikers and walkers
- Make your presence known when approaching other trail users from behind by way of bell or horn
- Control your bicycle at all times
- Know your ability and your equipment as well as the area
- Move to the side of the trail for less mobile trail users
- Do not ride under conditions where you leave evidence of passing (i.e. after rain or snow)
- Stay on the trail
- Do not ride through streams
- Slow down when approaching corners or blind spots
- Obey speed limits
Equestrian (Horseback Riders)
- Practice minimum impact techniques
- Observe speed limits
- Always clean up after your horse
- Avoid campsites used by other trail users
- Keep horses in campsites only long enough to un-pack or pack them
- Do not tie your horse to a tree for any length of time as it will damage the tree
- Never tie your horse within 200 feet of a lake, stream or spring
- Obey all trail regulations
- Operate at appropriate speeds
- Approach pedestrians slowly
- Announce your presence (i.e. honk) when approaching a trail user from behind
- When attempting to pass someone, follow at a safe distance until you reach a safe place to pass, then pass slowly
- Minimize noise through proper care and operation of your off-highway vehicle
- Stay on the trail
- Do not ride on areas that are either wet, have loose soil, steep slopes, meadows or swamps
- When camping, ride directly to and from your campsite or turn off your vehicle and push it
- Avoid late night riding near populated areas
- Obey trail curfew regulations (usually 11 pm to 5 am)
- Stay off groomed snowmobile trails during the winter months
Cross Country Skiers
- Ski on the right side
- Yield to those coming downhill or who are faster. To step out of the track, lift your skis so that you won’t disturb the track
- When breaking trail, keep skis wider than normal
- Yield to snowmobiles when you are going uphill
- Operate at appropriate speeds
- Stay on trail
- Do not ride on tracks made for skiers
- Obey trail regulations
- Avoid late night riding near populated areas or lodges
- Yield to cross country skiers whom are going downhill
When traveling with animals:
- Clean up after your animal
- Keep pets on a leash or lead
- Give larger animals the right of way
- Do not let your animal disturb wildlife
- Keep your pet on the trail
Common Trail Courtesies
- Obey all posted signs.
- Accept trail safety is the responsibility of all users – the trail should not be used in a manner that endangers the safety of trail users. (Exercise caution at all times)
- On a shared‑use trail ‑ expect to see All Terrain Vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, walkers, hikers, children on bikes and in strollers and horseback riders, and in winter, snowmobiles, cross country skiers and even dog sled teams.
- Stop at all road crossings, and then proceed with care. Watch carefully for numerous driveway crossings on the trail as not all of them are signed.
- Slow down when approaching other trail users and keep to the right side of the trail when meeting opposing traffic. Motorized users and cyclists yield to other users.
- Stay on the trail.
- Be considerate of others, including the rights of landowners.
- Do not litter – carry out your trash.
- Keep pets on a leash and clean up after them.
- Respect the habitats of local flora and fauna.