Trail Safety & Etiquette

| Share the Trail

Hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities carry inherent risks. You can reduce much of this risk with careful planning, good communication, and by following local laws and regulations. Carefully consider which trail to undertake based on your personal fitness, weather concerns, and time constraints. Trails in this guide all include distances, elevation gain, and relative level of challenge.

Gear and Trail Essentials

  • Wear suitable footwear for the trail surface. Note potential stream crossings on your route and recent rainfall.
  • Bring an extra layer of clothing and a waterproof jacket in the event of rain, snow, or temperature changes. The temperature can be much cooler at higher altitude and at dusk or nightfall.
  • Helmets are required by law for all cyclists ages 14 and under.
  • Wear adequate sun protection such as UV protection clothing, a hat or visor, and sunscreen.
  • Bring a daypack with trail essentials, including plenty of water and extra food, basic first aid supplies, and a flashlight or headlamp in case you are not able to complete the trail before nightfall.
  • Bring a familiar navigation method (maps and/or GPS). It’s wise to have a paper map or trail description in addition to a phone app or GPS device. Phone service is not present on many trails in this guide.


  • Many rural areas do not have reliable cell phone service, make sure you tell someone your plans and let them know when you plan to return so they are aware if you are late due to a trail emergency.


  • Check the weather carefully and be prepared for temperature extremes and foul weather. Trail conditions can change and will vary depending upon the season and weather conditions.
  • After heavy rain, trail surfaces will be soft and muddy. Avoid mountain bike trails to reduce damage to trail surfaces.
  • Click here to view local trail conditions.

Plants and Wildlife

  • Do not approach wildlife. This region is home to a wide variety of fauna including black bears and venomous snakes, including rattlesnakes and copperheads.
  • Wear insect repellent and check your body thoroughly for ticks. Tick-borne illness is common.
  • Learn to identify unsafe plants such as poison ivy and stinging nettles.

Trail Courtesy

  • Show courtesy and respect for fellow outdoor adventurers. On multi-use trails, cyclists yield to hikers. Hikers and cyclists both yield to horseback riders. Those walking downhill should yield to those walking uphill.
  • Keep your noise level low and allow the sounds of nature to prevail.


  • Follow all Leave No Trace© principles closely. Deposit all trash in proper receptacles, or pack it out with you when you leave the trail. Click here to view the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.