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Hiking Etiquette 101

If you're looking for a way to get some exercise while soaking in the Summer weather, take a hike. Grab a friend or two and hike through forests or trek up a mountainside. Before you head out, here are some rules to keep in mind.

  • Stick to the dirt trail. It'll keep you safe and protect the natural environment. If everyone trampled wherever they wanted, there wouldn't be much plant life to enjoy.
  • Don't disturb animals or their homes. If you see a beaver dam, just be an observer, and take a few pics if you want.
  • Along the same lines, don't pick flowers or plants. Leave them for others to enjoy. It's also not a smart idea to touch plants since you don't know which might be poison ivy, or its West Coast cousin poison oak.
  • Pack a small garbage bag so you can keep track of your trash, and pick up after other messy hikers.
  • If you bring your dog, there may be a rule about keeping him or her on a leash. Follow this rule, as there may be fellow hikers on the trail who have other dogs or who are afraid of them. Be sure to clean up after your dog too.

There's more you should know before hitting the trail. To find out,


  • If it's a hike you're not too familiar with, pack a map of the trail, a GPS device, and a compass. Getting lost is no fun. Also be considerate to your friends and family and let them know where you're going and when you'll be back. I know it's a morbid thought, but if anything happens, you want people to know where to look for you.
  • Be one with nature. This means to keep your voice down and don't blare any loud music. If you scare off the wildlife, you won't have any amazing sounds to hear.
  • 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. Use nature's toilet paper (dead leaves) and bury it all when you're done.
  • If you see any damage to the trail or trail signs, note the exact location, and be sure to contact the proper authorities.
Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
livetolove livetolove 8 years
soo agree with Deidre! I hate when people forget the rules of the road!
Deidre Deidre 8 years
Remember to share the trail with your fellow hikers, especially on narrow trails. If someone is coming up behind you at a quicker pace than yours, stand aside and let them pass. Also, those heading uphill should stand aside on narrow paths to allow people heading downward to pass. Good post, Fit! This makes me excited to hit the trails soon.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
I agree with trying to keep your voice to a minimum. When I'm on the other side of the trail, I don't want to be hearing about your dry skin and your hate for the sun. :\ I'd rather listen to nature or be able to converse with my buddy without having to speak so loud.
HappyKate HappyKate 8 years
Please make yourself aware of potential dangers in the area before you head out as well. There are great info centers and ranger stations that will help learn about the local flora and fauna to keep you having a good time! Besides its fun to show off your scat and plant ID skills! Also please pack out any garbage you may find that may not be yours, not everyone is considerate but you can help!
kia kia 8 years
On the dog note... even if the area is designated off-leash, leash your dog if they cannot control themselves around wildlife. Where I live there are some prairie dog areas that you know have critters and it is disturbing to see fido going after the little guys. It will also keep your pooch safer from catching wildlife diseases.
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