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Trail Etiquette

Remember when on the trail, expect and respect other users! A winning trail attitude includes: safety, respect and relaxation. Combine this attitude with the following trail etiquette tips and you will be on your way to an amazing outdoors experience.

Hiking the trail – Do’s and Don’ts

  • Research the regulations and special concerns for the area you are planning to hike. Hike only along marked routes, especially on farmland.
  • For your safety and to protect soil from erosion do not take shortcuts.
  • Please do not climb fences; use the stiles.
  • Pets are best left at home. If you do bring them, keep them on a leash and away from water sources and please clean up after them.
  • Respect the sound of nature. Avoid loud voices and noise such as mobile phones and radios.

Hiking people SMILE

  • Respect the privacy of people living along trails.
  • Keep dogs on a leash, especially on or near farmland.
  • Be courteous to other hikers. Say hello to fellow hikers as you pass each other along the trail.
  • Walk, ride or cycle in single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
  • Stay to the right of trail and pass on the left.
  • If a person is climbing up a hill they have the right of way if you are climbing down.
  • Bike riders yield to both hikers and horseback riders; hikers yield to horseback riders.
  • Visit trails in small groups; split larger parties into smaller groups.
  • Unless you are passing someone on a trail, try to maintain a distance between yourself and other hikers.

Minimal impact approach

  • Leave flowers, wood, rocks and plants behind in their rightful place for others to enjoy.
  • Avoid tree damage. Do not break branches or strip bark off trees.
  • Leave the trails cleaner than you found them. Carry out all litter.
  • Fires are not permitted along trails, except in approved campsites.
  • Do not build structures, fire rings, furniture or dig trenches.
  • Schedule your hiking or camping trip to avoid times of high use. Aim to lessen the impact of human activity on one area.

Ecosystem healthy manners

  • When camping set up your campsite at least 60 meters [200 feet] from lakes or streams so as not to inhibit area animals from coming to drink water.
  • To wash camping utensils or yourself, carry water at least 60 meters [200 feet] from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap.
  • Scatter strained dishwater.
  • Garbage disposal is important issue on trails. As a general rule, pack out all garbage. Do not bury it.
  • Do not assume all waste will biodegrade. For example, orange peels do not decompose easily.
  • Leave your picnic spot or campsite cleaner than you found it.
  • Human waste should be packed out including feminine hygiene products and used toilet tissue. But if this is not feasible, dig a ‘cat hole’ about 10 cm deep and burn the toilet paper after, unless extreme fire hazard. Then refill the hole.
  • Take only pictures and fond memories away with you. Leave only a footprint on the path you have respected.

Other Users also have codes for Use

The Ontario Trail Riders Association, (OTRA) produces a guideline for uses to better interpret their interaction with Horses - download a copy here

The Ontario Federation of 4 Wheel Drive Enthusiasts (OF4WDE) also prduces a guidline for its drivers so that they are aware of and promte trail safety. - download a copy here

The International Mountain Biking Association produces excellent trail building and trail use Guidelines, full of Canadian content (they wrote tons of this) - download a copy here