Trail Etiquette

 Rules of the Trail


* Cyclists yield to Hikers and Horses
* Hikers yield to Horses
* Motorized vehicles yield to all other users

General Etiquette

Respect: It’s simple. If you offer respect, your more likely to  receive it. Most friction on the trail can be avoided with this simple rule.

Communication: Part of the respect. Let people know you’re there, before you surprise them. This doesn’t mean be load and obnoxious on the trail, simply don’t startle people. A smile and “Hello” go a long way.

Use Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required.

Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you.
* Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options.
* Stay on existing trails. Don’t cut switchbacks.
* Ride, don’t slide.
* Pack out at least as much as you pack in.

Travel responsibly and in control: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Bicycles and motorized machines should obey all speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits. Walk in single file when traffic or trail dictates.

Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you go around corners. Follow the rules in the sign above. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.  Common sense will go a long way.

Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

Smile!: Sounds to simple, but you’re out on a trail to have fun, so take a moment when you meet someone to smile and say “Hi”. Out on the trail, if things go badly, it helps to have friends.

Avoid Spreading Seeds: Help keep weeds out of our forests. Noxious weeds threaten our healthy ecosystems and livelihoods. Stay on trail, drive on designated roads, use weed seed free hay, check your socks, boots, bikes, ATV’s or horse tails for hitchhikers when you get back to the trailhead. Let’s keep our forests free of invasives.

Be Informed:  It’s YOUR responsibility to be “in the know.” Questions about where to ride, trail closures, outdoor ethics and local regulations are important to know before you head out on the trails. Contact your local land manager if you are unsure about what you can and can’t do in a given area.

Give Back: Trails don’t maintain themselves. Get involved with your local trail club and help out on trail days. Pack a folding saw and trim back the branches you have to duck or climb over.


* Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly.
* Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions.
* Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Rules based on IMBA standards.

Mountain Bikers

* Know your ability, equipment and the area.
* Yield to other non-motorized trail users.
* When approaching from behind, announce yourself well in advance and reduce your speed, or dismount, to pass safely.
* Approach blind curves with caution — assume someone is coming in the opposite direction. Make presence known at corners or blind spots.
* Always ride in control.
* Be a positive representative of your local cycling community.  Be respectful of others. Speeding cyclists can scare horses, dogs AND people. Don’t compromise your right to ride on the trail.

Bikes and Horses:
* Yield to horses by stopping and moving to the downhill side of the trail when possible. Trail horses may not be used to cyclists. They can weigh 1000 lbs and scare easily. When this happens, they tend to run uphill. Be on the downhill side.
* When approaching from behind, announce yourself well in advance and leave at least 30m between you and the last horse. Be patient, it may be a few minutes before the rider finds a safe place to let you pass.
* Pass horses only when the rider says it’s OK and follow their instructions. Generally,  dismount and walk as far to the left as possible.

Dirt Bikers

* Wear a helmet and proper protective equipment
* Always ride in a safe controlled manner
* Less sound = More Ground. Ensure that your muffler is functioning properly and that your muffler is equipped with a spark arrestor to assist in the prevention of forest fires
* Keep the area clean. Take out all your garbage with you.
* Join a club or an organization that supports off-road dirt biking.
* Respect other trail users (hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders) Slow down or pull to the side and let them pass
* Respect the environment and do not disturb flora and fauna
* Report any suspicious or illegal activities immediately to the RCMP or police
* Please protect everyoneʼs “Right to Ride” by being responsible.
Squamish Dirt Bike Association

All Terrain Vehicles

* Always be courteous to other people.
* Stay on the trail.
* Respect others’ property. Ride quietly when around houses, campgrounds, and other non-riders. Keep the rpm’s and speed low and steady. ATVs must have approved spark arrestors. Don’t trespass on Private land.
* Keep speed below 20 kph when traveling within 30 m (100’) of a non motorized user or a home and in particular watch for children and animals.
* Avoid creating excessive dust and noise when riding in a community or camping area.
* Do not operate vehicle in a careless way that may endanger people or property.


* Be part of the Trails Community; respect the experience of other users if you want them to respect you.
* Yield the right of way to hikers, bikers, and horses. When passing horses stop your vehicle. Take off your helmet and say hello. Avoid any sudden movements. Let the horse pass. Or if passing a horseback rider, alert the rider to your presence by calmly calling out you wish to pass.
* Keep your speed down to avoid making dust when passing other trails users.
* When in a group, make sure you are not blocking the trail for other users.
* People traveling downhill should yield to those traveling uphill.
* Let others know you are approaching them, especially if from behind.
* If people announce themselves from behind you, move over to the right to make sure they have enough room to get by.
* Keep to the right side of the trail to avoid oncoming trail users.
* If you take your dog, make sure you can control them.
* Keep to marked trails and tracks and resist the urge to establish new ones without proper planning and authority.
* Park ATV and walk to sensitive, historic, scenic, and cultural areas.
* Participate in trail maintenance. Give back to your trails.


* Respect all wildlife; after all, it is their home.
* Respect the Environment as a whole. We want the next generation to be able to enjoy it as we do.
* As should everyone, clean up after yourself. Don’t litter. If you can pack it in, pack it out. Clean-up the mess left by others who have no respect for the environment.
* Stay on the established trail, no shortcuts and avoid trail braiding and widening.
* Avoid damage to the environment. Protect both the land and the water:
* Use existing bridges and structures to cross streams, or cross at right angles away from spawning areas where the substrate particle size is cobble or larger or bedrock.
* Do not ford a fish bearing stream. Check with local authorities.
* Do not spin your tires as it dislocates the soil and can cause drainage issues.
* Follow the Environmental Stewardship Guidelines.

Based on ATV-BC  (ATV Association of BC)

Horse Back Riders

Be an ambassador for the equestrian world! Remember, horses may be intimidating to many of the people you’ll meet on trails, so it’s best to be friendly and follow these simple rules:

* While you have the right of way on the trail, your horse reactions are the wild card in public settings, you are still responsible for knowing your limitations and ensuring that everyone stays safe.
* Desensitize your horse to the many strange-and-scary things typically on a mixed-use trail before you go out. Have a friend ride a mountain bike next to your horse and occasionally stop to feed treats. Do the same routine with backpacks and a dirt bike.
* Make sure that your horse is comfortable around leashed dogs and children. Dogs can lunge and children may run and shriek. It’s your responsibility to manage your horse’s reactions and take necessary precautions.
* Practice minimum impact techniques.
* Always clean up after your horse.
* Avoid campsites used by other trail users.
* Keep horses in campsites only long enough to unpack or pack them.
* Stock tied to trees ruins trees and turf; do so only for a short time.
* Use tie lines. Never tie horses within 20 feet of lakes, streams, or springs.
* If at all possible, stay off muddy trails! Horse hooves make a big mess out of a small one quickly. Wet trails are generally closed to horse traffic with good reason.

Common sense and courtesy should be the general rule. See you on the trail!


* Stay on the trail. Do not cut switchbacks or take shortcuts.
* Stay to the right on wider paths.
* When overtaking other trail users, let them know you are approaching and will be passing on the left. when you hear “On your Left!” , that means you should stay to your right.
* When you stop for a view, a rest or to yield, move to the side of the trail so it is free for others.
* Hikers and runners going uphill are working hard and should be given the right of way over those coming downhill.
* Greet others on the trail, especially if you are coming up from behind. No one wants to get startled. A smile, nod or brief “hello” is sufficient.
* When hiking in a group, hike single file or take no more than half of a wide trail.
* If you packed it in, pack it out. You know what we mean…
* Meeting horses: move off the trail on the downhill side (horses generally bolt uphill if frightened) and make sure the horses and riders can see you. Greet the riders and ask if you are ok where you are. Stand quietly while the horses pass.
* Walk beside, not on, ski tracks in the winter time.

Trail Use with Dogs

* If you hike with your dog, have your pet under control at all times. Not all dogs are used to outdoor activities (horses, bikes, children, large groups), so make sure you have introduced Spot to all possible encounters.
* Clean up after your animals
* Do not let your animal disturb wildlife
* Keep them on the trails



* Leave set ski tracks for skiers
* Avoid running over vegetation
* Respect trail closures
* Do not disturb wildlife
* Keep to the right side of the trail.
* Operate in a safe and courteous manner, within posted speed limits.
* Reduce your speed when there is oncoming traffic.
* Give uphill riders right of way.
* Slow down and yield to non-motorized trail users.
* Always report illegal operation out on the trails.
* Slow down when passing a parked snowmobile on the trail.
* Avoid riding late at night near populated areas.
* Park or stop on straight stretches with good sight lines.
* Respect private property.

XC Skiing

* Ski on the right side.
* Yield to those coming downhill or who are faster.
* To step out of the track, lift your skis so you don’t disturb the track.

Fat Bikes

Fat Bike Best Practices

* Always be courteous to other snow travelers.
* Basic equipment guidelines for a fat bike that will be ridden on snow:
* Wide tires — deep snow coverage may require tires wider than 3.5 inches.
* Tire pressure will often be less than 10 PSI.
* Enough floatation that you can travel over snow without leaving a rut deeper than one inch.
* Sufficient traction that you are able to safely control your bike and ride in a straight line.

Best Practices for Fat Biking on Groomed Nordic Trails

* Only ride on trails where fat biking is encouraged.
* Yield to all other users when riding. Skiers don’t have brakes but you do!
* Ride on the firmest part of the track.
* Do not ride on or in the set classic tracks.
* Leave room for skiers to pass (don’t ride side-by-side with all of your buddies blocking the full trail).
* Be an ambassador for the sport: stay polite, educate other riders, discourage bad behavior and follow the rules.
* Help out and get involved by joining your local nordic club.
* Consider donating time or money for trail grooming.

Best Practices for Riding on Snowmobile Trails

* When riding on snowmobile trails, use a front white blinker and rear red blinker at all times. Wear reflective material on both the front and rear of your body.
* Stay to the far right of the trail and yield to snowmobiles.
* Know and obey the rules of your local land manager. Understand that some trails may be on private property and might not be open to alternative uses.
* Be prepared. Winter travel in the backcountry requires carrying proper gear and dressing properly. Be self-sufficient!
* Use extreme caution when riding at night. Be visible and use the brightest lights you can find.
* Be friendly! Fat bikers are the newest trail users. Be courteous and open to suggestions from snowmobile riders.
* Help out by supporting your local snowmobile club.
* Consider donating to trail grooming and maintenance efforts.

Best Practices for Riding on Natural Terrain and in the Backcountry

* In the right conditions, a fat bike can be the ultimate winter backcountry travel tool. Frozen conditions and minimal snow coverage (1-5 inches) means access to areas that are impassible during the warmer months. But just because you can ride somewhere doesn’t mean you should. Be aware and be prepared.
* Do not trespass! Know whether or not you are on private property. Obey ALL land manager rules.
* Do not ride through sensitive wildlife habitats. Learn about the area you want to ride in before you ride there.
* Do not disturb wildlife. Many species survive on minimal diets during winter. Stressors or the need to move quickly can deplete their energy stores. Hibernating animals may be disturbed as well.
* Learn safe ice travel. Riding on frozen water can be extremely dangerous. Is the ice thick enough to support you? Take ice fishing picks and a length of rope when riding on lakes and rivers.
* Understand changing conditions. New snowfall or warming temperatures can make the return trip much more difficult. Tire tracks can be covered, hard snow can turn to slush. Always know the forecast and be aware of how changing conditions might alter the safe passage of your route.
* Be prepared. Carry provisions in case you have to stay out longer than planned.
* Let people know. Make sure someone else knows where you are going, when you left and when you expect to return.
* Learn to share. Be aware that your tracks might attract other riders. Understand that “your” route might not remain a secret for long

BC Parks Etiquette

Big Creek and South Chilcotin Mountains Park
Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette

Although you are probably familiar with the trail etiquette guidelines outlined below, please take the time to review them with your group to help ensure the safety of your group, and other trail users, including animals. Back country riding offers a great wilderness experience.

Please use the 4 “C”s when riding:
Common sense, Communication, Courtesy, Cooperation

* Yield The Trail 
At all times. Ride so you can stop a safe distance from other trail users and wildlife. There is extensive horse use in this area. When encountering a horse, stop, communicate with equestrian as to the best way / place to pass. (Stop, move off to the side of the trail to let horses pass.)
* Stay On The Trail. 
Never cut corners or ride off of established routes / trails.
* Be Prepared 
Have sufficient equipment with you when traveling within the backcountry. Gear should include first aid kit, extra food and clothing and tools. Let someone know your intended route and return time before you depart.
* Be Aware 
Anticipate encountering other users and wildlife, particularly around blind corners. Lead rider in a group should use a “Bear Bell” or other signaling devices to warn others of your presence. There are bears in the area, do not approach or feed bears. Packing bear spray is also a good idea.
* Ride Don’t Slide 
Don’t ride too fast for trail conditions, stay in control at all time, leaving yourself room to easily stop within the distance you can see ahead. Excessive skidding causes unnecessary trail erosion.

Range Animal Etiquette

Horseback/Livestock encounters: The why’s and the what’s

* Always do your best to give way to animals (reason: they are living breathing beings that are often unpredictable because they are reactive to perceived threats, rather than pondering situations for the best outcome).

* Give way to Horseback riders (reason: A group of riders – often with packhorses – cannot always get off the trail for a motorized vehicle or mountain bike – please be patient and go to the bottom side of a trail to give way – reason: horse(s) spooking uphill are easier to get under control than those bolting downhill).

* Remember animals DO NOT perceive what we do: In the horse’s mind, a mountain bike is reminiscent of a speedy silent predator coming at them.  It is very important for cyclists to slow down, stop and SPEAK to the horse and rider.  On hearing a human voice, most horses will calm quickly.  Both horse and rider will appreciate your understanding.

Note: Mountain bikes can spook horses more than motor vehicles, because they are so quiet and come upon them so suddenly, while motorized vehicles can be heard coming.) Speed (by any type vehicle) is seen to most animals as a threat or attack, this is why it is important to slow down and move over. Moving over (if possible) shows you are non-threatening.

* Livestock.  Many trails pass through range tenures where people will see cattle/horses/ and occasionally sheep, at large. If you come upon a group of cattle or other livestock grazing in an area, it is most likely that they are in that area as part of a grazing management plan.  In this event, it would be preferable to leave that area and use a different trail or road, as human pressure may cause the animals to move from the area they are supposed to be grazing.  Temporarily finding a different place to ride is greatly appreciated by the livestock owners and range managers.

If another road or trail is not an option, please slow down and speak to them as you pass. This will prevent them being frightened and bolting either away or toward you.  Often cows will have calves at side – they are protective, so try not to act in an intimidating manner – remember that a direct approach to an animal is considered by most prey animals to be a threat or attack. With cattle, a direct approach can be seen as a challenge (Cattle and other livestock will move away from people in most situations). 

Provided by Mandi Rogers

Rex Peak Ranch

Marshall Valley, Bridge River