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Trail etiquette

How to yield, protect, stay safe and enjoy

Keep everyone happy and safe, while protecting our state's natural landscapes. Knowing when to yield and how to interact with other users helps ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.


Yielding - non-motorized trail users

Yielding right-of-way to a fellow trail user does not always mean stopping or stepping off the trail, yet sometimes that’s the best way to ensure safe passing.

The most important thing to remember when interacting with others on the trail - courteous communication is often the safest way to pass.

Trail conditions and specific situations are always a little different, and will dictate whether you need to stop, step off the trail or simply pass each other.

User types


  • Stay on marked trails, and respect trail conditions and trail closures.
  • Leave no trace - pack it in; pack it out. If you see litter, please pick it up.


  • Although avoiding muddy trails altogether is best, if you do come across wet trail conditions, dismount and go down the center, not to the sides because it widens the trail.
  • Before passing, alert other trail users of your intentions.
  • Maintain a safe speed, especially near other trail users.
  • Cyclists are expected to yield to all other trail users.
  • Cyclists moving quickly and quietly can scare horses. Speak and communicate when encountering a horseback rider on the trail. The horseback rider will tell you the safest way to pass.

Horseback riders

  • If you encounter a muddy trail, travel through the center of the trail so inadvertent trail widening doesn't occur.
  • Communicate with other trail users about the safest way to pass on the trail.
  • Keep at least a horse length back from other trail users.
  • Clean up after your horse in staging areas and campgrounds.

Hikers and runners

  • If you must traverse a muddy section of trail, go through the center rather than travelling around the mud and widening the trail.
  • Keep pets on a 6-foot leash.
  • When hiking in a group, please walk single-file and be aware of other passing trail users.
  • Don't block the trail and stay alert to other trail users.
  • Yield to horseback riders, and be sure to speak to the rider and ask the best way to pass their horse.

Winter hikers, fat tire bicyclists, snowshoers, cross-country skiers

  • At the trailhead, check to see whether the trail is one-way or two-way.
  • Downhill skiers always have the right of way.
  • If snowshoeing on a groomed trail, be sure to travel on the side – not on the track, as that ruins the trail for skiers.

ORV and snowmobile riders

  • Always yield to uphill motorized traffic. Uphill traffic may have difficulty starting again if stopped.
  • Share the trail. Some designated snowmobile trails are also open to ORVing and other nonmotorized users.
  • During snowmobile season (Dec. 1-March 31), it's preferred that ORV riders use trails and/or open roads not open to snowmobiles.
  • Snowmobile trail groomers lay smooth paths for snowmobiles. If you are an ORV rider and encounter a groomed snowmobile trail, ride slowly or choose another trail so you don't undo the work of trail groomers or tear up the trail. ORVs can tear up terrain easily (even when the ground is frozen). ORV grooves can pose a safety risk by causing snowmobile skis to be pulled into an ORV track.
  • Be aware of two-way traffic and trail groomers, and "Ride Right" by keeping on the right side of the trail.
  • When you see nonmotorized trail users coming from the opposite direction; please slow down, pull over and yield the right-of-way.
  • If you stop on the trail, use designated stop areas and remove your helmet. Never stop side-by-side, in the middle, at the crest of a hill, on a corner or in the intersection of a trail.