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Hiking Dos and Don'ts and Tips

A Hiking Code of Conduct: Basic Tips When on the Trail

I know a lot of you are probably thinking about going on a hike this weekend. It's a great way to spend the Memorial Day holiday with friends — heck, even hiking alone can be a good time! My favorite rewards for going on a hike are the breathtaking views, and since there are often challenging climbs, it makes for a great workout — an hour of hiking can burn 355 calories! After filling your pack with essentials, review these hiking dos and don'ts before heading out onto the trail.



  • Do your best to hike with friends. It's much safer than hiking alone, and more fun too!
  • Research the trail and area before heading out so you know what to expect.
  • Make sure to pack snacks, water, a cell phone, and a map or GPS device. Also bring along rain gear, extra layers, and your ID.
  • Tell people where you'll be. If anything happens to you, you want people to know where to look.
  • Always stick to the trail. It keeps you and the natural habitat safe.
  • If you need to go "number one," do so far away from the trail and any natural water sources. If you need to go "number two," dig a hole first and cover it when you are done. Carry toilet paper with you, or use a leaf to wipe — just make sure it's not poisonous!
  • Don't wear new hiking boots on an epic hike. You will end up with painful blisters.
  • Don't disturb animals or their homes. Be a quiet observer and take a few pics if you want.
  • Don't pick flowers or other plants.
  • Don't blare loud music or talk too loudly. Fellow hikers come to enjoy the quietness of nature so be respectful. (Unless of course you encounter a bear — then make as much noise as you can!)
  • Don't litter. Pack a small garbage bag so you can keep track of your trash and pick up after other messy hikers.
  • Don't stay on a trail that is too difficult for you. It's more than OK to turn around.
Image Source: Getty
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
I agree with Betty. (the first part :P ) If your dog poops, pick it up! Not only is it gross for other hikers to look at, but if your dog happens to have a parasite, you could be passing it to other dogs. And if you don't feel like carrying it, attach it to your dog's harness and make your dog carry it. I grab a binder clip and bring it with me just in case.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
One thing to add: if you're with your dog, leaving its poo on the ground to disintegrate it better than bagging it up and leaving the poo bag sitting somewhere because you're sick of carrying it. Serious nothing both grossed me out and makes me mad like seeing bags of poo all over the hiking trail. Another tip- if it's not for you don't do it, but please no rude comments- I like to wear a knee length skirt when I hike, makes it easier to squat and then I just dab myself dry with the edge of it. I mean, I have good hygiene in general and I shower and do laundry afterward anyway, so I don't think it's gross, and it's very comfortable and convenient.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Black bears are fairly common near where I live, so you have to be really careful on hikes. My husband and I like to hike in the state parks...the trails are better-maintained and a bit safer.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
NEVER hike alone. I mean NEVER. Too many animals of the two legged variety that can potentially hurt you. I am not paranoid, but there are many instances of women being attacked while running, hiking, etc. Plus, if you get injured, turn your ankle, whatever, best to be there with someone. Just use common sense.
scmeggiry scmeggiry 8 years
What?!? Talking loudly when you hike is a DO! That way you don't accidently sneak up on bears and mountain lions. Breaking the peace can be a good thing!
kristints kristints 8 years
AZDaisy: Holy crap is right! I used a few more expletives that I won't type here though... :-)
La-Tua-Cantante La-Tua-Cantante 8 years
I absolutely love hiking! Kristints that's crazy and so scary!
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 8 years
Note to add to the last "do" point (no pun intended) - always know EXACTLY what kind of leaves you're using before you use them. If you don't recognize the type of leave, don't risk it... even if it isn't poisonous, you may have an allergy. You can test on your arm hours in advance as a preemptive move if you have benadryl cream/gel to treat it later if you react, but the best option is to carry some to-go 100% biodegradable TP if you're going on a trip long enough where you'll have to worry about digging a hole in the woods - just be sure it gets buried, too!
angelina8023 angelina8023 8 years
Wow kristints!! That's crazy!! Good list of do's and don'ts. However, I'm not cool with using leaves to wipe. I take a ziploc bag and some wipes.
AZDaisy AZDaisy 8 years
Holy crap kristints! I'm glad you lived to tell the tale. I just hiked Half Dome in Yosemite, it was amazing. I had a cold probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I got MVP of the day :-D
genipher85 genipher85 8 years
I think hiking is my favorite form of exercise. I love getting out in nature and taking pictures and I can feel my heart is getting a great workout the entire time!
kristints kristints 8 years
I just went hiking yesterday and encountered a big huge brown bear-on a hiking trail, not in the wilderness!-and that makes ALL hiking a don't for me. Literally running for your life is not a good feeling!
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