5 Tips for Considerate Hiking

photo: Gideon HadenHiking is a great way to get outdoors, get some exercise, and see some terrific scenery. While you should have fun while hiking, you should also be mindful of those around you. You’re not the only one on the trail and you shouldn’t let your good time be more important than someone else’s. Here are 5 ways that you can be a more considerate hiker.

Avoid blasting music over speakers. It doesn’t matter if you have impeccable taste in music, some people don’t want to hear it while they’re out hiking. If you’re traveling solo, headphones are a good way for you to listen to music without disturbing everyone else on the trail, however if you’re hiking in a group, headphones aren’t an option. You might just have to save the music for the car ride home.

It’s courteous to let hikers heading uphill take the trail. The logic is they’re working harder to go up a hill than you are going down a hill. If the trail is wide enough for you to stand safely to one side, move over to let them through. Sometimes uphill hikers will take the opportunity to rest and let the downhill hiker pass, but you should still give them the option.

As a kid you might have been told to use your inside voice when you were in school, or at the grocery store with your parents. Your inside voice is meant to be soft and quiet. The implication with there being a quiet inside voice is that there is an outside voice, and that voice should be as loud as humanly possible. But you don’t have to be loud just because you’re outside. That doesn’t mean you have to hike in silence, but if you’re around other hikers, don’t shout non-stop, don’t spew profanities, etc.

The exception to this rule is when you’re hiking in bear country. If there are bears around, you should make lots of noise to help keep them away from the trails.

Let people pass, or let people know you are passing. Everyone has their own pace when they’re hiking. Some people move slower than others, and some move faster. Take this into consideration when you’re on the trail. If a group comes up behind you and they’re moving quickly, step to the side and let them continue. And if you’re the one moving faster than the group ahead of you, kindly let them know you’re trying to pass.

Acknowledge other hikers. You don’t have to tell them what you had for breakfast or tell them what your five favorite bands are, but you should at least extend a greeting. A, “Hello”, “Howdy”, “Good morning”,  or a “Yo” are sufficient in most cases. Just don’t ignore a passerby. If they are letting you pass, thank them. If there’s a hazard or something of interest on the trail ahead of them, let them know.

It’s really not all that difficult to be a considerate hiker. The key is being respectful. Think about the other hikers on the trail and how your actions might affect their experience. Be thoughtful and have a great time!

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