The following post first appeared in November 2019 following a particularly crowded and frustrating hike at popular — especially in fall — Umstead State Park. We rerun it again because the trails have become even more crowded since then and the message even more appropriate.
We head into the wayback machine again to revisit the timely topic of trail etiquette. The following first appeared here on March 19, 2010, and has appeared occasionally since. It reappears today, with minor revisions.
A few years back, I was running the bike and bridle trail at Umstead when I came upon a sizable obstacle: a phalanx of hikers bearing backpacks spanned the width of the trail, spilling over onto the shoulders. The trail is quiet generous, a converted fire road that should be capable of handling boatloads of trail users without conflict. Provided those trail users are cognizant of other trail users. Which brings us to today’s topic:
The following originally appears as Chapter 13 in our “Let’s GetHiking: A Guide for the Aspiring Hiker.” We rerun it today because, frankly, you just can’t get enough trail etiquette.
One Sunday, I was on a multi-use trail (a trail open for more than just hiking: mountain biking and horseback riding, for instance) at a nearby state park when I came upon a phalanx of hikers spanning the width of the trail and spilling onto its shoulders. The trail was quite generous, a converted fire road capable of handling loads of trail users without conflict—provided those trail users were considerate of other trail users. I doubt these hikers were being intentionally inconsiderate: they were simply unaware.
Last week’s post on trail etiquette prompted a reader to note we had neglected one particularly important area: dogs.
“Also, please leash your pets,” Jennifer commented on our Facebook page. “I know they love to run, but some of us have been attacked and this situation makes me a nervous wreck.”
On a recent Sunday at crowded Umstead State Park, we honestly weren’t looking to get all Miss Manners on our trail companions. But events conspired to make apparent that it’s time for a reminder about trail etiquette.
Here are a few things to keep in mind on the trail: