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Sharing the Trail: Know Your Proper Hiking Etiquette

A number of outdoor trails are available to locals and visitors of Jackson Hole. However, just as while skiing, it’s important to be mindful of others and exhibit respect. Four Hiking Etiquette tips that will make anyone hiking, biking, or horseback riding near a lot happier. Check out this article.

Related Read: Mountain Hiking Tips for Everyone

Hiking Etiquette jackson Hole, October 2010
Photo by: Larry Johnson

Trail and Hiking Etiquette 101

The Trails Are Meant to Be Shared

While driving on the open road, it’s common sense to adhere to larger vehicles. For example, if you’re a cyclist, you wouldn’t want to play ‘chicken’ with an eighteen-wheeler truck. The same logic applies to hikers. Yield to larger animals and objects passing or coming your way, which could be horses, moms with baby carriages, etc.

Loosely, the following code is followed: Bikers yield to hikers and horses and hikers yield to horses, yet always remain mindful of your immediate surroundings. Bikers are fast and (should be) in control, so they let all else have the right of way. Horses are big, bulky, and unpredictable, so give the animals the right of way.

Hiking Basics of Etiquette

Stay on the trail and do not attempt to take shortcuts; this is especially important regarding children, who should be accompanied by an adult. When on wider paths, stay to the right and get out of the way of those who are keeping a faster pace. With that being said, if you’re a fast walker, pass others on the left.

If you’re a biker, let others know that you’re approaching, giving them more than enough time to get out of the way. If you hear someone scream, “On the left,” do your best to scoot over to the right to remain out of their path. Of course, you’ll want to stop to enjoy a view, take a picture, or drink water, yet ensure that you are off the trail and out of the way of others who are continuing on their way.

Those who are coming uphill are given the right of way versus those coming down. Be alert; often, those coming uphill will give you the right of way if you’re coming down at a greater speed. It’s not mandatory, but it makes for a nicer ambiance if you give others a short wave or a “hello.”

When hiking in a group, do not “hog” the road by walking horizontally. Rather, walk in a single file line and be mindful of others coming toward or approaching from behind. If it isn’t your first time hiking, alert others of the etiquette related to bikers, horses, etc.

When Meeting a Horse on the Trail

Get off the trail (on the downhill side) when a horse is approaching. Horses run uphill when they grow scared, so a person waiting uphill may appear to them as a predator. Greet the rider and ask them if your position is okay. Then, stand quietly as the horse passes.

While speaking of standing quietly, keeping your volume to a minimum is good practice when walking any trail. One of the niceties of hiking is enjoying the outdoors, which is away from horns, sirens, and loud cities. It’s okay to bring a smartphone for safety reasons, but be mindful of your volume.

Tips to Go

While away from Jackson Hole luxury hotels, you’ll want to bring along food and refreshment. Most trails allow hikers to bring food and drink, yet if you bring it in, be sure that you leave with it as well. Do not litter along the paths or assume workers will clean up after you.

Moreover, if you come across a beautiful flower or unique set of rocks, leave elements as they are. Imagine if a flower or other element was taken before you got there; it would not be there to catch your eye. Pay the same respect to those coming after you.

No one likes being considered a “tattle,” but trail masters and workers can’t see all things at all times and rely on good citizens to report bad behavior and vandalism.

Maurice B. Williams is a travel consultant. He enjoys writing about his experiences on the web. You can find his posts mainly on vacation and travel blog sites.

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