Share the Trail & Make It Fun For Everyone- Hiking Etiquette

Hiking etiquette- Appalachian Trail

Hiking etiquette- Hiking Man silhouette

If you’ve ever been hiking, you know how peaceful and serene it can be.  But odds  are at some point on your journey, you’ll eventually end up sharing the trail with  other hikers. It’s always a good thing to know the proper hiking etiquette when  hitting the trails.

 Instead of doing the awkward dance of “who should go where” we’ve got some  hiking  etiquette that will make your experience with others more enjoyable.


If you thought getting around a mountain bike was tricky…imagine crossing back with a horse on a trail. In this situation, give the horse as much room to pass as possible.  Try to avoid any abrupt movements as they pass and talk calmly to avoid startling the animal.  If you’re on a narrow trail, get off the trail on the downhill side as they trot by.  Horses are more likely to run uphill than downhill is spooked. You definitely don’t want to be in the pathway of a startled horse!


Hiking etiquette- Mountain-bike-jumpMore and more people are hitting the trails on 2 wheels. Undoubtedly you’ve been terrified when seeing a mountain bike barreling down the trail, headed your way. Since mountain bikes are generally considered more maneuverable than hikers, bikers are generally expected to yield to those hiking on the trail. However, if you see a biker with a lot of momentum, it may be a good idea to get out of their way.  A biker should never expect a hiker to yield, though.


Even some of the most experienced hikers aren’t sure who has the right of way. One absolute rule…hikers going uphill have the right of way. The reason? Hikers heading up an incline have a smaller field of vision and may also in the “hiking rhythm” and not in the mood to break their pace. The uphill hiker may allow the downhill hikers to pass as they catch their breath, but remember that’s the uphill hiker’s call.

If you’re about to pass another hiker, just a friendly “Hello” is the best way to get their attention and announce your presence.  When passing, it’s always advised to stay on the trail to avoid erosion.

While etiquette is important when hiking in small numbers, it’s even more important when hiking as a group. Some keys to remember when hiking as a group.

Never take up more than half the trail

Stay on the trail itself

When a group of hikers meets a single hiker, the general rule of thumb is to allow the group to continue on.

Bottom line: If you treat others on the trail as you would like to be treated, you can create a fun adventure for all parties. The golden rule applies to everything in life, doesn’t it?

If you’re looking for some great places to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, visit the link below. Remember to always be safe and most importantly…HAVE FUN!

Hiking etiquette- Hiking trail

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