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 outdoor 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 the 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 an 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 prOduces a guideline for its drivers so that they are aware of and promote 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