Have you ever wondered who has the right of way when you meet someone on the trail? With more folks spending time outdoors, trail etiquette is more important than ever. Here’s how to share the trail so everyone can enjoy it safely.
Because horses are unpredictable and the slowest and least maneuverable of all trail users, they always have right of way. On fire roads and wide trails, move off to one side and give the horse party plenty of room to pass. On narrow trails, step off the trail and wait quietly on the downhill side.
Hikers yield to horses and should be alert for mountain bikes. Even though the hikers have right of way over bikes, it is a good idea to be aware of your surroundings, as fast-moving bikes can be a surprise around blind corners.
Bike riders yield to hikers and horses. In some situations, it may be easier for the hiker to move out of the way, but never assume that’s the case. Let other parties know your coming by calling out on blind corners, and slow down on steep downhill sections.
Uphill vs. Downhill Traffic
In general, anyone hiking or biking uphill has right of way when they meet another hiker or biker. Sometimes uphill hikers will stop to take a breather and let the downhill party pass, but good trail etiquette is to let the uphill hiker make that decision.