Hiking may seem like an activity that doesn’t require much planning, but there are actually some etiquette rules that can make your hike more enjoyable. They can also help you be considerate to other hikers.
The most important thing to remember when hiking is to be prepared. You should research the trail, the weather, and make sure you have adequate supplies — including food and water. You not only can endanger yourself from not being prepared, but you can be a burden to other hikers when they have to assist you..
Always clean up after yourself and pack out your trash. Whatever you bring with you, you should take back. This is includes paper, food products, and toilet paper. If you must use the restroom, dig a 6 inch hole and bury it.
Always stay on designated trails. If you don’t stay on an already established path, you can damage vegetation, cause soil impaction, and erosion. You can also injure yourself and other hikers.
Don’t interact with wildlife. Observing wildlife is fine — it’s a part of the experience of being in nature — but don’t interact with them. This includes feeding them. Not only can you endanger yourself and the animal, but you can make animals dependent on humans for food.
Think about other hikers around you. Hikers don’t escape to the outdoors to be surrounded by noise; they want tranquility. It’s important to keep your voice down, and use ear buds when listening to music. If you encounter hikers, yield to them if they’re going uphill. Also, step aside for hikers who are walking faster than you, and don’t be afraid to ask the same of others.
Following these rules of hiking etiquette will make your trip safer and more enjoyable!