Hiking is one of the best experiences you can have, and it’s one of those activities that can be enjoyed whether you are in company or alone. Of course, there are a few unwritten rules when it comes to following the trail, and they are ones that every good hiker endeavours to follow. Here is a quick guide to hiking etiquette, with five of the top rules to stick to when you are exploring nature.
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Remember the Right of Way
This is the first and one of the most important trail rules that you must follow, as it will make things much easier for you – no matter where in the world you are hiking:
- Bikers yield for hikers
- Bikers yield for horses
- Hikers yield for horses
Similarly, if you are trekking down a wide path, you should remember to always stick to the right and pass on the left. This helps to prevent people walking into each other and provides a more relaxing walking experience for everyone. On narrow paths, you should step off the trail and to the side to let other hikers pass, and if you are in a group remember to yield to single and pair hikers.
Keep it Clean
Leave No trace is a universal rule. It means that you must not leave behind any hint that you were ever there. It is all preserving nature and ensuring that you keep the trail clean at all times.
If you have rubbish and there are no bins, carry it with you until you find one or place it back in your pack. Whatever you pack to take with you, goes home with you.
Respect Other Hikers
The trail is a really friendly place, and it is important to respect other hikers who are using it. Make sure you greet those you pass on the trail and adhere to the previously mentioned yielding rule.
When it comes to taking photos or selfies, make sure you do not do it in the middle of the path when others are behind you as it is considered impolite. Just remember your basic manners.
Respect Nature and the Trail
You are visiting nature when you hike, and respect is key. As a result, do not scare the wildlife or torment them, as this is cruel and unkind. Similarly, do no mark trees for fear of getting lost or place markers on the trail.
You should always leave it just the way you found it, without damaging trees or creating blemishes. If you see a Cairn, do not add to it or knock it over. Some of these are natural formations, and others are markers to prevent hikers from getting lost. Make sure you leave them and move on.
Keep Things Quiet
This is a time to get away from the noise and the busyness of everyday life. If you are listening to music while you walk, keep it quiet so that it does not echo outside of your headphones. If you are with a group, ensure that you talk normally instead of shouting and screaming.
You may be in the wild, but that does not mean that you can act like a feral creature. It’s all about respect, both for nature and the other hikers.
Hopefully, this has helped you to better understand how you should behave when you are on the trail, as well as give you an idea of what to expect when you are out there. While there will always be some rulebreakers, we know that if you stick to the points listed above you will have a much better and more relaxing time.
The basic thing to remember is that you should always be polite, respectful, and remember that nature is the one who rules the trail.