Common sense seems like a typical response to how to behave on the trail, but you’d be surprised how many have no clue. My friends over at Modern Hiker kindly put together a few tips that everyone should consider while adventuring outdoors.
(Read the full article on REI’s blog. Bullet points below are quoted from the article.)
Hikers vs. Hikers
- Hikers going uphill have the right of way. This is because hikers heading up an incline often have a smaller field of vision and may also be in that “hiking rhythm” zone and not in the mood to break their pace.
- If you’re about to pass another hiker from behind, announce your presence, even with a simple “hello”.
- When passing, always stay on the trail to reduce erosion.
- In group hiking, always hike single-file, never taking up more than half the trail space, and stay on the trail itself. Over time, those off-trail boot prints can badly erode switchbacks and destroy drainage diversions.
- When a group meets a single hiker, it’s preferable for the single hiker to yield and step safely to the side.
Hikers vs. Bikers
- Bikers are generally expected to yield to hikers on the trail, though it’s usually easier for hikers to yield the right of way—especially if a mountain biker is huffing and puffing up a tough incline.
- Bikers should never expect a hiker to yield.
- Bikers should call out as they come down steep slopes or blind switchbacks, and should also let hikers know if there are other bikers following them.
- Hikers should also be aware of their surroundings on shared trails, particularly with mountain bikes quickly coming around any bend.