Hiking Etiquette 101: Helpful Tips for the Trails

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If you have ever wondered how to pass or who has the right of way on the trails you are not alone. In this guide we cover hiking etiquette 101 everything you need to know to have a great experience on the trails and to ensure others do as well. 

Hierarchy: Who Has The Right Of Way?

Hikers and Horses

When it comes to hiking trails, horses have the right of way over hikers and bikers. When letting equestrians pass, always give them as wide of a path as you possibly can. 

Also, avoid making any sudden movements or loud sounds. Speak in a more subtle quiet tone so as to not startle the horse. When on a trail, if horses are passing, get off the trail whether they are going downhill or uphill. 

Hikers and Bikers 

In general mountain bikers are supposed to yield to hikers. However. Bikers are usually going faster which makes it harder to stop. So, hikers need to stay alert just in case they need to move out of the way. In general it’s usually easier for a hiker to get out of the way but, a biker shouldn’t expect a hiker to yield 

When mountain biking a biker should be aware and call out as they are heading down slopes or coming around blind switchbacks, and notify others if there are more bikers coming. I find it helpful when bikers show a hand number or say a number of how many are coming down. 

Hikers and Hikers

Hikers going uphill have the right of way. This is because when hiking uphill you generally have a more limited view. However, sometimes a hiker coming uphill may let others come downhill while they take a break to catch their breath, but remember that it is up to the hiker going uphill.

Solo and Group Hikers 

In a group setting, trail etiquette is even more important. When hiking in a group, always hike single-file. Share the space on the trail and follow leave no trace principles making sure to stay on the trail to help preserve and limit erosion off trail.

When a group of hikers meet a single hiker, usually it makes more sense for the single hiker to yield and let the group go by. 

What To Say When Making A Pass 

When hiking and making a pass a wave and a “hello” are often a good way to make your presence known amongst others. 


When out on the trails use these hiking etiquette 101 tips to ensure you and others have a great experience. In general don’t forget the “golden rule” treat others and wildlife how you would want to be treated. Also, stay safe and pack the 10 essentials

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