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Blaze a Trail of Kindness

These are nice trails. When you see other hikers, bikers, dogs and horses, smile!

How can I take care and be kind on trails?

Hiking Etiquette

When you are out hiking in the Sierra, you may pass a fellow hiker, biker or horseback rider. Hikers going uphill (usually) have the right of way! Bikes, horses, and hikers going downhill should yield to uphill hikers. Always be alert in case a biker or horse cannot get out of the way. Make sure you stay on the trail and do not interact with any wildlife you may see. And of course, say hello to anyone you pass!

Be prepared. Dehydration, getting lost, and encountering poison oak are some things to be aware of in nature. Make sure you pack plenty of water, food, protective clothing, and of course, watch where you are walking on the trail.

Don’t feed the wildlife

While enjoying the Sierra’s incredible sights, you’ll encounter local wildlife. If you stumble upon a chipmunk, squirrel, goose, or even a bear, PLEASE DON’T FEED THE WILDLIFE – even if they are trying to steal your sandwich! Feeding animals can cause them to lose their natural ways, which can be unhealthy or even deadly for them. Let’s work together and keep our animals wild!

Spring Riding Etiquette

During low-snow winters, mountain bike season starts early.  Spring melt-off means some important riding considerations for us as we get back on the bikes. Please try to follow the guidelines below to help keep our trails in good shape.

  • Avoid trails that you know are going to be muddy. In the spring, that often means avoiding north-facing trails that don’t get much sun and those that have more clay in the soil. Try and stick to those sandy trails we all love!
  • If you come across a section of trail with standing water or mud, don’t ride around it on vegetation, but ride through it. If everyone rides around it, the trail footprint gets wider.
  • If it’s a hard freeze at night, get out riding early before the trails have thawed and become muddy.
  • Watch for downed trees! We have some big wind events and there may be trees across the trails.

Busy Trails

There has been a huge increase in trail use in the Sierra over the past year and that trend will certainly continue. Please be courteous to all trail users you see enjoying our public lands. Here are a couple of tips to remember when you’re out:

  • Alert users when you’re approaching, slow down, and say hello. Let other users know how many people are in your group behind you.
  • Avoid the crowds by getting an early start to your day. The trails are most busy from 10 am – 4 pm.
  • Ride from home or take public transportation whenever possible to reduce trailhead parking congestion. Rack up some extra miles!
  • If you’re parking in a neighborhood, please respect the residents.
  • Pack out what you pack in and pick up litter if you see it.

Why should I take care?

Bikers, hikers, dog walkers and horses all share the trails. Following trail etiquette is as easy as being kind and passing along with a smile. Respect uphill traffic and give plenty of space for horses. Do your best to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming – a friendly greeting is a good method.