Hiking Etiquette - Make the Most of the Outdoors

Hiking etiquette is all about your relationship with others on the trail and also with the outdoors. These tips and ideas will help you enjoy your hike and get the most out of the experience. 

My wife and I live in the state of Utah. We are blessed to live with many gorgeous mountains and many many hiking trails. From time to time, we will go hiking and experience some of the beauty and nature that our area has to offer. 

Hiking Etiquette TipsJust so you can get a taste of what we have to experience here, there is a hike that will take you to a place called Donut Falls. As you can see from the picture, it is a waterfall from a creek that goes through a hole in the rock (hence the name donut) and the hike is a relatively easy one. 

From experiences like this and others, we have learned some principles of hiking etiquette. Since this is a fairly popular location for a hike, we have encountered plenty of other hikers in a spot like this. 

So these hiking tips will be split into two pieces. The first part will deal with how you treat others and the second part about how you treat the land. 

Etiquette Towards Others

As always, treating others the way you want to be treated is the underlying principle. Here are some detailed thoughts on how to treat others on the hiking trails:

  • On hiking trails, size matters. The unwritten rule is that the larger the thing on the path, the more you give it the right of way. So, horses are usually the largest thing on the path, then bikes, then individual people. Move out of the way so that they have adequate room to pass you.
  • When passing someone or being passed from behind, stay to the right. Just think of it like driving a car!
  • If you are on a bike, it is polite to notify someone that you are going to pass them on the left. 
  • When meeting someone on the trail, it never hurts to say "Hi". 
  • I always recommend turning your phone off or leaving it in the car. If you are lucky, your cell phone provider will not have service on the hike!

Etiquette Towards The Land

When it comes to hiking etiquette, there is also the aspect of how you treat the land or the environment. Here are some tips for that:
  • Whatever you take in, take it out with you. It seems pointless to go on a hike, enjoy nature, and then destroy it by leaving garbage. Do everyone a favor and allow them to enjoy the nature as well. 
  • Stay on the trails. Let the wildlife grow and live.
  • As beautiful as some rocks and plants may be, do not take them home as souvenirs. Take a picture instead and allow others to appreciate the same beauty. 
  • Do not set fires, carve your name or initials in trees, or anything similar. These things destroy the nature and it makes it feel less like being in the wild. Leave no trace that you were ever there. 
I hope these tips will make your hiking experience something that lasts a lifetime!

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