How to Practice Safe Trail Etiquette During COVID-19

written by

Kurt Villavicencio

April 29, 2020

Idaho is a recreational Mecca, offering some of the most beautiful (and challenging) trails I’ve ever set Chaco on; and in the middle of a pandemic, they serve as a healthy respite from quarantining day after day. Whether you’re home all day with the kiddos, furiously teleworking or both, it’s important — and healthy — to take a little time for some sanity in the sun.

With social distancing guidelines in effect on the trails, our etiquette as hikers, bikers, runners and horseback riders is paramount to keeping everyone healthy. Here are a few recommendations to keep us all safe when recreating in the great outdoors:

1. Avoid difficult, off-the-map trails.

Photo by C Drying on Unsplash

Yes, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding a crowd; but in the event of an injury, you may require medical attention that could be devoted to other individuals during this time.

2. Know the right of way.

Photo by C Drying on Unsplash

How it works is: mountain bikers yield to pedestrians, pedestrians yield to equestrians and downhill traffic yields to uphill traffic. Try your best to maintain 6 feet from others. Either step off the trail to allow others to pass or if you’re passing, do so in single file.

3. Leave No Trace.

Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism.

Leave No Trace principles are more important now than ever with limited services at parks and trailheads. Whatever you pack in, please pack it out.

4. Be Willing to Make a U-turn.

Photo by Ozark Drones on Unsplash

If you find that parking near a trailhead is crowded, consider returning during non-peak hours or find another trail to explore. You may just find a new favorite.

Idahoans are resilient in the face of adversity, and nobody that I know is looking forward to staying home any longer than they have to. Whatever trail you end up on, I hope it’s safe and helps you re-energize for the tasks waiting for you at home.

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