As a general rule of thumb, on shared trails, “wheels yield to heels.” That means motorcycles, ATVs and mountain bikes yield to hikers and horseback riders while hiker yield to horseback riders.
Some basic trail etiquette from our friends at the Forest Service:
Basic Trail Etiquette
- Be aware of other trail users.
- Stay to the right of the trail (except when passing).
- Slow down at corners.
- Always clean up after yourselves.
- Obey all the trail rules.
- Give a clear warning signal when passing: call out passing on your left.
- Always look ahead and behind when passing.
- Travel at reasonable speed.
- Keep pets on a leash.
- Move off the trail when letting others pass.
- Yield to other trail-users when entering and crossing trail.
- Do not disturb wildlife.
- Stay on the trail (respect the environment, do not venture off the trails).
- Do not litter.
- Do not drink or contaminate water sources (wash 100 feet away from any nearby water source).
- Use provided toilet facilities (if you are unable to find a facility, dig a hole 6 inches deep at least 200 feet from any open water).
- Do not make fires (use picnic areas and grills if provided).
- Respect wildlife. Your surroundings are home to many plants and animals: you are the visitor.
- Obey all posted signs. These indicate special restrictions that apply to the trail you are on.
Hiking with Animals
- Clean up after your animals.
- Keep them on a leash or lead.
- Give larger animals right of way.
- Do not let your animal disturb wildlife or others.
- Keep them on the trails.
General Trail Etiquette for Certain Activities
Hikers, Walkers, Backpackers
- Move off the trail whenever possible for other trail users.
- When meeting someone riding a horse, step off the trail and speak calmly.
Mountain Bikers, Bikers
- Know your ability, equipment and the area.
- Move off the trail for less mobile users.
- Do not ride under conditions where you leave evidence of passing, i.e. after rain.
- Stay on the trail.
- Do not ride through streams.
- Make presence known at corners or blind spots.
- Control your bicycle.
- Always yield trail.
- Practice minimum impact techniques.
- Observe speed limits.
- Always clean up after your horse.
- Avoid campsites used by other trail users.
- Keep horses in campsite only long enough to unpack or pack them.
- Stock tied to trees ruins trees and turf: do so only for a short time. Use tie lines.
- Never tie horses within 200 feet of lakes, streams or springs.
ATVs, Four Wheelers
- Approach pedestrians slowly, pull over and turn off your engine.
- When passing someone, follow at a safe distance until you reach a safe place to pass: pass slowly.
- Minimize noise with proper care and operation of your vehicle.
- Respect trail closures.
- Stay on the trail.
- Do not ride on areas that are either wet, have loose soil, steep slopes, meadows or swamps.