A note for hikers, cyclists, mountain bikers, horseback riders, dirt bikers and tourist gawkers: We can all just get along. Outdoors lovers in Colorado use trails in a lot of different ways, and conflicts are inevitable. Here are a few tips to avoid being the jerk on the trail.
1. Don’t go where you don’t belong.
Hikers are allowed on almost every trail, but other users have heavier restrictions. In areas designated wilderness, no bicycles or vehicles are allowed. Motorized vehicles aren’t allowed in city parks. Conversely, hikers may want to avoid areas of heavy dirt bike or ATV use.
2. Know the right-of-way system.
Step aside or pull off the trail if you are approaching someone on horseback or using pack animals like llamas. These animals can be unpredictable and appreciate the space.
Mountain bikers yield to hikers. If approaching from the opposite direction, pull over to let them pass if there is not enough room on the trail.
3. Let people know how many are in your group.
Riders passing a hiker or other riders, either from behind or coming the opposite direction, should say “two more” or flash two fingers to let the others know how many are in the group.
4. Step aside for uphill hikers.
Especially high up on a peak, there may only be enough room for one person to pass, so if you’re descending step off the trail to let the uphill hiker pass.
5. Large groups yield to smaller groups.
Large hiking groups move more slowly, so if a solo or couple of hikers are coming up on you, let them pass.
6. Warn before passing.
Nobody likes to have someone creep up on them, so whether you are trail running or mountain biking, it’s courteous to ring your bike bell or announce “on your left” before you pass.
7. Don’t blast music in your headphones.
Warnings won’t do any good if you can’t hear the bike behind you, so don’t play music in your headphones so loud that you can’t hear anything else.
8. Leave no trace.
Keep the trail clean and enjoyable for all by following the principles of Leave No Trace. For starters, always pack it in and pack it out.
9. Be a responsible dog owner.
Yes, your dog is the best dog ever, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to meet the pup up-close and personal. Follow leash laws and keep your dog away from hikers and bikers unless they welcome the interaction. And stop leaving bags of poop on the side of the trail that you may or may not pick up later.
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