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Hiking Etiquette - View Video

Updated on September 12, 2013
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.


Hiking etiquette is something I learned by watching other hikers on the trails as well as reading trail courtesy signs and posted trail rules and guides. Adhering to hiking etiquette makes hikes even more pleasant and fun. Here are a few tips to take with you on your hike. Enjoy!

Correct way to hike a Switchback
Correct way to hike a Switchback | Source
Incorrect way to hike a Switchback
Incorrect way to hike a Switchback | Source
  • When hiking remain on the trail, don't take shortcuts, or cut switchbacks. What is a switchback? It's a trail going up a steep hill or mountain only that trail is a zig-zag. Switchbacks make the trail easier to hike instead of having to climb a hill or mountain on a straight path up.
  • Hike on the right of the trail which leaves room for others to pass.
  • When you are coming up behind other hikers, pass on the left. You may want to let the hikers you are coming up behind and are going to pass, know that you are coming by calling out "On your Left." You are telling the hikers you are passing and to stay to their right.
  • If you're like me and need to rest for a few moments, rest off the trail so you won't hinder other hikers. I generally sit on a large rock or huge boulder if there is one around.
  • If you are going downhill and there are hikers coming uphill, give the uphill hikers the right of way.
  • If you're hiking in a group, hike single file.
  • Don't be a loud hiker, hike quietly. Keep conversations low. If you have music or other audio you're listening to please make sure that only you can hear it.
  • Speak to other hikers as you encounter them - be polite and smile.
  • Don't litter - bring a trash bag and take your trash with you.
  • Before you begin a hike make sure you read any trail rules and guides that are posted.
  • Don't approach the wildlife.
  • I have come across dogs running around during my hikes, so leave dogs at home especially if they will chase wildlife or be bothersome to other hikers.


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    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Deborah, thank you.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      I've done a lot of hiking and think your hub really captures well the rules of the trail. Nice job!

    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Nikki, I think you would enjoy hiking. You're good - I tried the rock wall at the amusement park and didn't do so well. LOL!

    • Nikki D. Felder profile image

      Nikki D. Felder 

      7 years ago from Castle Hayne, N.C.

      This is insightful, but for me I must first scale the wall in the local amusement park! Thanks, Nikki

    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi Cloverleaf, hiking is one of my favorite things to do and obeying the rules makes it even more enjoyable.

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Kristine, great tips on hiking etiquette, thanks for sharing this! I agree with Glenn; there are many hikers that don't understand these rules and should read these rules.



    • Kristine Manley profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kristine 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I have to agree with you about the stupidity. Sometimes I think these are the people who don't go hiking that often.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      7 years ago from Long Island, NY

      You deserve a lot of credit for writing this. I am an avid hiker and most hikers understand these rules. But once in a while I come across remnants of hikers who don't care for our environment and they litter our wilderness, expecting it to go away by itself. These people are just plain stupid but if they read your Hub maybe they'd learn a thing or two.


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