Trail Etiquette: Know Your Backcountry Manners

Backcountry, Trail Etiquette -

Trail Etiquette: Know Your Backcountry Manners

As Colorado grows in population, we are seeing a growth in the backcountry as well. This means it’s more important to discuss backcountry etiquette and how to respect the trail.

The finer points of trail etiquette will depend on what type of activity you're participating in -- hiking, trail riding, camping or hunting. It’s important that while traveling through the backcountry, you pay attention to the following points to ensure you’re a respectful visitor to the area.

Hiking Etiquette:

Respect Nature

  • Stay on the trails and do not bushwhack
  • If you need to take a break move well off the trail

Yield to Hikers, Pack Mules and Horses

  • Equines always have the right of way. Hikers and bikers should always yield
  • Be friendly and considerate towards fellow backcountry trekkers
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering stock mules or other animals
  • Always keep dogs on a leash unless in designated areas

Camping Etiquette:

Follow the Seven Leave No Trace Principles

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

Camp Far From the Trails

  • Always camp at least 100 feet from designated trails and 200 feet from water sources
  • Camp in established camp sites. If you must camp in a new spot leave it the way you found it.
  • Don’t interfere with other hunters or hikers by making too much noise or camping in prime hunting/walking locations

Horse Camping

  • Hay must be certified weed free on all Forest Service lands
  • Be careful not to exceed the number of livestock permitted in the backcountry. Check with the local Forest Service for the permitted number of heartbeats (humans + animals).
  • Do not overgraze an area. If possible, free grazing is the best method.

    The backcountry offers everything from great hunting to spectacular views. That’s why we want to preserve the area as much as possible. Trail etiquette is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. So if you’re planning a trip to hike, camp or hunt in the backcountry, we hope you look over our advice and abide by the rules and regulations to maintain the area.


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