Review These Original Trail Etiquette Ideas Before You Return to the Backcountry

Here are some little-known and seldom-considered rules of the trail. Most are based on personal experience in the backcountry. Many online resources suggest trail etiquette. You will find some guidelines listed at the end.

To avoid being remembered as THAT hiker, there is only one rule – consider others.  Consider why those you encounter on the trail have come to the backcountry.  Their reasons are probably similar to yours. 

I have found that most people go to the backcountry to escape the world and enjoy the beauty.  Hikers simply need a break from everyday responsibilities and demands.  Some need to get away for a few hours or days, others need six months.  Many hit the trail for the peace it offers.

Some hikers are on a mission and pass quickly and quietly.  Others are more talkative.  If you are sharing a campsite with others, conversation is bound to be part of the evening.

As you consider topics of discussion, remember people may have come to the wilderness to escape and find some peace.  Refrain from speaking about politics and religion.  Most strangers don’t care what you think about the former or current U.S. president.  While discussion about religion is usually interesting, it can quickly turn contentious.  No one goes to the wilderness for a fight.

Some hikers may enjoy hearing about current events reported on the news, but others left the 24-hour news cycle to escape.  Refrain from reporting the latest news from Washington or the Middle East unless your hiking acquaintance asks about it.

Most parents try to protect young children from profanity.  It seems like parents are in constant fear of a young child repeating her latest profane vocabulary word to grandma.  In this modern era, profanity has become a part of everyday language and can be found throughout t.v. programming.  Refrain from using profanity around children.  Many parents don’t expect to fight this battle in the wilderness.

Trail etiquette is simple.  There isn’t a list of 15 or 21 rules to memorize.  Simply consider why others may have come to the backcountry. 

You can find other trail etiquette ideas from REI, Hiking Dude, and Tread Lightly.

What guidelines would you add to interacting with other hikers while on the trail?