Proper Trail Etiquette for Hiking



- Dogs must be on a leash unless the trail is marked specifically allowing off leash—or under very strict voice command—if allowed. Strict voice command means the dog immediately heels when told, stays at heel and refrains from barking.

- When dog owners meet any other trail users, dog and owner must yield the right-of-way, stepping clear to allow the other users to pass without worrying about “getting sniffed.”

- Yield to the uphill hiker- hikers going uphill are working hard and should be given the right of way over hikers coming downhill. Sometimes uphill hikers will prefer to stop and let you pass coming down so they can get a short break. The uphill hiker should get to make the call.

- Avoid disturbing wildlife, especially in winter and in calving or nesting areas. Observe from a distance—even if you cannot get the picture you want from a distance, resist the urge to move close. This not only keeps you safer but also prevents the animal from having to exert itself unnecessarily fleeing from you.

- Leave all natural creatures, objects and features as you found them for others to enjoy.

- Never roll rocks off trails or cliffs—you never know who or what is below you.


- Dog waste - must be packed out. Do not leave poop bags along side the trail to pick up on the way out, other hikers want to enjoy the wilderness experience and have no desire to see a stream of poop bags along the side of the trail.

Stay on the trail. Do not cut switchbacks or take shortcuts.

Stay to the right on wider paths.

Pass on the left. When overtaking someone, let them know you are approaching and will be passing on their left. You may hear a biker call out, "On your Left!" as he comes up from behind. That means you should stay to your right.

Whenever you stop for a view, a rest, or to yield, move off the trail so it is free for others. If you are selecting the spot for a rest, get off on a used area or a durable surface such as a rock, dirt, or snow. Don't just trample off the trail into a nice soft field of grass and flowers.

Greet people you meet.

When hiking in a group, yield to single or pair hikers. When hiking in a group, hike single file or take no more than half of a wide trail.

When meeting a horse: Get off the trail on the downhill side. Horses will tend to bolt uphill when spooked. Also, you waiting on the uphill side looks more like a predator waiting to pounce. Quietly greet the rider and ask if you are ok where you are. Stand quietly while the horses pass. Horses can be easily spooked by strange dogs, and it is the dog owner’s responsibility to keep his or her animal quiet and under firm control.

Hike Quietly. Keep conversations quiet and let everyone enjoy the quiet and serenity of the outdoors.

Read trailhead guidelines. There may be specific rules for the trail you are on.

Pack It In - Pack It Out.

Report vandalism. If there is contact information at the trailhead, tell the managing agency of any destruction or management needs you notice.

Unfortunately, you will run into some people that feel they have a right to do whatever they want outdoors. Some people think that individually they aren’t hurting anything, however wilderness is slow to recover and impacts over-lap and accumulate. Being a good outdoor citizen means to set an example for others to follow, please follow the rules of proper trail etiquette for hiking so that others recognize you and our group as being courteous and polite and thoughtful.

Colorado has grown more and more dog unfriendly over the years, don't give the dog haters any more ammunition against us, go above and beyond to be good outdoor citizens.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Proper Trail Etiquette for Hiking April 16, 2014 5:51 PM Mike
Disclaimer February 11, 2013 12:24 AM Mike
Dog Friendly Restaurants March 24, 2011 9:12 PM Mike
About Aussies March 8, 2011 9:04 PM Mike
Australian Shepard Breed Standard March 8, 2011 9:04 PM Mike
About Australian Shepherd Meetup Group of Denver March 8, 2011 8:45 PM Mike

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