Hiking is one of the greatest outdoor activities to experience. It permits a rare chance for some to experience the wonders of the outdoors in an adventurous way.
Like many outdoor experiences, hiking is not to be undertaken without the right education.
There are certain rules of etiquette that are important for both novice and advanced hikers to follow.
While they are technical guidelines, keeping them in mind can ensure that you have a positive, relaxing experience as opposed to a negative one.
This bit of Hiking 101 will prepare you with the rules for safe hiking that will allow you to enjoy the activity for years to come. The important rules to keep in mind are:
- Hiking is a Privilege not a Right
- Hiking is dangerous alone.
- Follow the No Trace Rule.
- Yield Based on Size
- Yield Based on Difficulty
- Yield Based on Group
- Make yourself known and stay alert.
- Don’t Veer From the Trail
- If In A Group Hike Single File
- Always be polite.
Hiking Is A Privilege Not A Right
Everything from the trail to the signs on most hiking trails is meant for the public.
Some hikers assume in their isolation that they do not have to follow the rules once they are in nature. It’s important to take care to be safe and comfortable based on the guidelines.
They are put in place to guarantee your safety as well as those that you may come across.
Don’t abuse the opportunity by being loud, aggressive, or destructive.
Hiking Is Dangerous Alone
It’s always important to try and adhere to the buddy rule if you are an inexperienced hiker.
While some may choose to adventure on their own, it’s always better to have someone with you just in case.
It prevents the possibility of injury without rescue and helps keep you accountable.
Follow The Leave No Trace Rule
The impact that humans have on the rest of the environment outside of nature trails is staggering. The entire point of a hiking trail is to have a preserved way to experience nature in its raw natural beauty.
Sadly, many people who want to experience nature don’t try to protect it.
Every imprint that you leave behind on the trail can have catastrophic effects on the fragile ecosystem you are walking through.
Leaving no trace is important. Keep track of all the garbage that you accumulate and either hold it with you or discard it at the end of your hike.
Cleanliness is one of the essential elements of proper hiking etiquette.
Yield Based On Size
When on the trail, it’s a good idea to yield to whoever is bigger. This doesn’t mean anything regarding physical stature.
It usually means bikers yield to walkers. It also means that pedestrians and bikers yield for horses.
Horses can be sporadic, so they get the right of way. Pedestrians should try and give the right of way to bikers, but it depends on the hiker.
Yield Based On Difficulty
Also, to yield based on size, it’s a good idea to yield to those that are going uphill on a trail. If you are going downhill, sometimes someone will step to the side that is on their way up so that they can take a moment to pause.
If the hill is steep and they don’t seem to want to yield during their ascent to break their momentum, step to the side in a safe place.
Yield Based On Group
Groups should ideally stay on the right side of a trail. They should also never take up more than half of the side of a trail.
This is just common courtesy since most people would rather not have to fight through a crowd.
There are many situations where how you approach movement as a group can matter. In some cases, it can be more than just an inconvenience.
It can be the difference between life and death.
Make Yourself Known And Stay Alert
Whenever passing someone from behind, be sure to pass on their left side. If you are coming up behind them, make your presence known by whistling or letting them know that you will be passing them on their left.
It’s better to prevent startling them and ensure they are aware of your presence.
Be aware of the trail of other people and your surroundings.
More importantly, keep a lookout for wildlife or any sign of wildlife, and warn others if you spot something suspicious immediately.
Know in advance the emergency numbers for contacting the proper authorities, just in case.
Don’t Veer From The Trail
The trail is there for more than just ensuring you don’t get lost.
While the primary purpose of a hiking trail is to keep you protected by ensuring you don’t end up wandering aimlessly for hours on end, it can also help keep you away from dangerous wildlife.
If In A Group, Hike Single File
The easiest thing to do on the list, but the most ignored rule, is the single file rule.
Most groups should try to keep a single file line while hiking to minimise space.
Some trails are tighter than others, and so this is a good practice to get into that will make sure you don’t interfere with anyone else’s experience.
Always Be Polite
Everyone wants to enjoy hiking trails. It’s vital to the community to try and foster a positive experience by greeting everyone you meet on the trail.
It promotes awareness and can let you know the person’s mental state.
Some people on the trail won’t follow the rules. Don’t let their lack of capability affect your ability. It’s vital to stay active and always be polite.
Everything from hiking bathroom etiquette to tight trail etiquette matters. The rules are created and followed by hikers all over to ensure a safe and fun experience.
Some think that hiking rules are more guidelines.
Some may not choose to follow the rules. You can do your part to ensure others will get to enjoy their experience by following proper hiking etiquette.