Yes, there is even etiquette when you are hiking. When you are new to hiking you may wonder about how to be appropriate and what rules you should follow on the trails. I have compiled a list of etiquette tips you should know before you hit the trails.
1. How to yield. Often you may encounter bikers or horses on your trail. Here are the yield guidelines.
2. Control your talking volume. Nobody wants to hear about your party Saturday night (or maybe they do, was it fun?) so keep the volume at an appropriate level so that others can enjoy the serenity of the trail. I am a bit lax on this just because #1 volume keeps the wildlife away as I mentioned in Day 5 and #2 I have 2 boys. So, don't be obnoxious, but talking is fine.
*As a sidenote. Please no talking on cellphones when on a trail. We are all there to get away from technology and daily stresses not be closer to them. Luckily most cell phones are out of range on hikes :)
3. Stay on the trail. Do not cut a switchback or take a shortcut off of the trail. This ensures the preservation of our trail systems.
4. Greet fellow hikers. We are all out there to enjoy the same thing so be polite and smile or say hello. I have found that most hikers are very nice and give some good tips, so keep your ears open.
5. Hikers going up get the right of way. As I mentioned above, I learned this tip on a hike from a fellow hiker. I was excited to have some new knowledge. It makes sense, those that are working harder should get the right of way.
6. As with driving, stay to the right of the path and pass on the left. Let your fellow hikers know you are passing, so you don't startle them.
7. If you are stopping for a view or a rest, stay off of the path so others can pass. Also, you might want to say something so they know you are there. I was on a hike recently where a woman and her 2 dogs were standing really still and quiet off of the path, and I was startled when I was 2 feet away and finally noticed them.
8. When hiking in a group, hike single file or double file at the most. Be aware of what the trail width will allow. I get annoyed when I am hiking, and even running, and people take up the entire path so you have to actually say "excuse me" in order to pass. Let's all be polite and share the trails.
9. Keep your dogs on a leash and pick up after them. Believe me, nobody loves dogs more than I do ( I have 2 wonderful pups), but not everyone is as enamored by them. The most frustrating thing on a hike is to see a big pile of you know what right in the middle of the trail. Come on, really? Even worse, a bag of you know what thrown off to the side of the trail. I am pretty sure you just extended the life of the pile by doing that. Anyways, gross but had to be said.
I saw a funny sign at the trailhead of one of my hikes, it goes something like this:
THIS IS HOW YOU SEE YOUR DOG
10. Finally, pack it in , pack it out. Whatever you bring on your hike should go home with you as well. There is nothing worse than being on a beautiful hike and seeing someone's empty water bottle along the way. I always bring a gallon size Ziploc bag and put all of my garbage in it. I can keep it in my pack without taking up any room and I can keep it sealed so there is no smell.
I hope this helps you in your quest to become a smarter hiker. Let me know if you have an etiquette tip to share.