Safety & Etiquette
Download Sharing Our Trails, a multi-use trail etiquette guide by CORBA
Respect other trail users
- Share the Trail. When trail conditions require a right of way for safe passage, equestrian users have the primary right of way, hikers next and then cyclists. When trail conditions allow and when there is width to safely pass, common courtesy should prevail for all users. Stand to one side of the trail and allow them to pass. When in a group, avoid blocking the trail. Mountain bikes yield to all trail users. Anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists traveling downhill must yield to all users, including other bicyclists, headed uphill. In general, make each pass a safe and courteous one.
- Use all your senses. Listen for suspicious noises. Don’t wear headphones; they impair your ability to hear someone approaching you from behind. If you sense that an area may be unsafe for you, leave.
- Announce yourself. Let your fellow trail users know you are coming, especially from behind. A friendly greeting or gesture is consideration of others and that will go a long way towards cooperative trail use. Anticipate other trail users around blind corners or in areas of poor visibility. If you approach stock from behind it’s critical that you announce yourself loudly but calmly so you do not scare the animals. Give the rider time to take control and move the horse. If you see a horse shying or spooking, move away from the horse and keep talking. Speaking will help the horse relax and realize you are a person. Let the rider know you’d like to pass at the next safe location. Do NOT ride up quickly on stock. It’s dangerous for you and the rider(s).
- Control your Actions. Awareness of trail conditions at all times is vital for safe use. It is recognized that the level of training and experience of any user varies and it is your responsibility to be in control. If you and a equestrian, cyclist, or hiker is inexperienced on the trail, it is suggested you travel with other trail users with more experience. Travel only at a speed that is safe for conditions on the trail.
- Move at a safe speed. Show respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace. Observe the 15-mph speed limit; 5 mph when passing. Excessive speed is an unsafe use of multi-use trails. All users must use good judgment and be aware that there are other users on the trail who may be going slower than they are. Limited visibility around corners and curves should be a signal to slow down to the speed of hikers, the slowest trail users. If possible keep dust down by reducing speed or safely using segments of the trail with less dust.
- Be alert. Project alertness, confidence, and determination. Your shoulders are back, you are aware of your surroundings, and you have somewhere to go. Stay alert. Horses and slower moving individuals may be startled by faster moving trail users.
Protect the environment
- Stay on the trail. Stay off closed trails and obey posted rules and regulations. Taking shortcuts, or cutting switchbacks can cause erosion, cause hazards and could ultimately cause the closing down of the trail. Do not disturb, feed or harass wildlife. Keep voices and music at a low volume. Prevent injury to yourself and damage to natural resources by staying on designated trails.
- Respect wildlife and the environment. Do not disturb, feed, or harass wildlife, or remove any plants. Attacks by mountain lions, coyotes or bobcats are extremely rare; your chances of tripping and seriously injuring yourself, or even getting struck by lightning, are much higher than getting bitten by a mountain lion, coyote or bobcat. Most snake bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone not watching where they are stepping. If you see or hear a rattlesnake, stay calm and slowly move away from the snake and give it room to slither away safely.
- Revere the resource. Help protect your accessibility by playing nicely with your neighbors and treating trails with reverence. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics and pitch in to give back - pick up trash, volunteer on a trail project or become a member of your local trail club. Take action and get involved today! Do not litter–pack it in, pack it out. Do not pick wildflowers, enjoy their beauty and leave them for others to enjoy.
- Avoid spreading seeds. Help keep weeds out of our forests. Noxious weeds threaten our healthy ecosystems and livelihoods. Stay on trail, drive on designated roads, use weed seed free hay, check your socks, bikes and horse tails for hitchhikers when you get back to the trailhead. Let’s keep our forests strong and clean.