Recently there have been near misses between different trail users in the Sage Hills. Several community members asked WenatcheeOutdoors about trail etiquette that would avoid conflicts and collisions. National practices have been agreed upon by such organizations as Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and the American Hiking Society — these same practices should be followed on our local trails.
What Does Trail Etiquette Mean?
Trail etiquette is the code of ethical behavior among trail users in their dealings with each other and in protecting the trails.
Mountain bikers yield to hikers and horses. Riders should come to a full stop and yield the right-of-way by stepping to the side, being mindful not to damage plants if they must step off the trail.
Mountain bikers going downhill yield to uphill riders. It is much harder to get started again going uphill so downhill riders should pull over and give those puffing uphill the right-of-way.
Mountain biking courtesy and accident-avoidance tip: Slow down when approaching blind corners where other trail users might be encountered.
Downhill hikers yield to uphill hikers. For some of the same reasons as above, uphill walkers get preferential treatment. Another way to think of it: Whoever is burning more calories goes first.
Hikers yield to horses. Walkers should calmly step off the downhill side of a trail for an oncoming horse. Trail users approaching horses from behind, should calmly announce their presence and intentions. Horses and other pack stock can frighten easily, so avoid sudden movements and loud noises.
Downhill trail runners yield to uphill trail runners. Like stated above, those that are working harder by huffing and puffing get to go first.
Trail runners yield to mountain bikers. It is easier for a trail runner to step off the trail than it is for a mountain biker to get out of the way.
All Trail Users
Stay on the trail. When yielding, stay to the side of the trail if possible. Stepping off-trail might damage or kill plants or animals bordering the trail.
Practice ‘leave-no-trace’ principles. Leave rocks, plants, flowers, bones, antler sheds, and artifacts where they are found for others to enjoy.
On all our foothills trails, dog owners are supposed to leash their dogs and scoop the poop of their pets.
References Used in This Article
American Hiking Society
National Park Service
Rock Creek Runner