10 pieces of hiking etiquette to live by

Jul 24 2019, 3:53 pm

Get ready for OK Times with the Okanagan Spring Summer Pack.

Stunning mountain views, beautiful rainforests and wildlife — yeah, you can say we are pretty spoiled here in Canada, and one of the best ways to get out and enjoy what we have to offer is hitting the trails for a great hike.

Another reason to get out hiking is that it allows you to escape reality and enjoy fresh air in a peaceful setting — until there’s that one person that throws a wrench into your zen time.

To make your nature experience more enjoyable, as well as for hikers and your four-legged trail companions, we’ve created a list of key pieces of hiking etiquette for you to follow.

Here are 10 considerations to keep in mind as you lace up your boots in no particular order — they’re all standard.

Don’t play loud music


Girl relaxing on green grass/Shutterstock

Yes, music is great for the soul — but when people hit the trails, it’s for some peace and quiet, plus we want to listen to the backcountry’s tune, such as the birds singing!

So, please don’t blast your smartphone’s playlist with your (I’m sure great) tunes, or bring the portable speakers. Instead, allow people to be present with the wilderness.

Don’t smoke in a wooded area 


BC Wildfire Services/Facebook

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Don’t feed wild animals

comedy wildlife

Overall winner- “Caught In The Act” by Mary McGowan. (comedywildlifephoto.com)

You have the best intention at heart, but feeding wild animals does more harm than good — and puts them at risk.

The BC Wildlife Act states “A person must not intentionally feed or attempt to feed dangerous wildlife, or…. provide, leave or place an attractant in, on or about any land or premises with the intent of attracting dangerous wildlife.”

The BC Conservation Officer Service is repeatedly having to tell people to not leave out attractants, especially in their neighbourhoods because it’s bringing bears into the communities — often the animals are the ones who pay the price with their lives because they are called “habituated” or “food conditioned” and get euthanized.

Moral of this rule — leave wild animals wild and respect that it is their home that you are going into.

Take back with you what you take into the wilderness

Some of the garbage carried out from Joffre Lakes (Vince Edmonds / Facebook)

Keep our parks and backcountry clean by packing up everything you take in. The world is already struggling to clean up garbage from oceans, lakes and forests, to name a few.

Do your research & be prepared

Hiker wearing headlamp (AYA images/Shutterstock)

Hiker wearing headlamp (AYA images/Shutterstock)

Don’t be the next news story!

Make sure you are well prepared for the hike you want to conquer and you pack everything you need so you don’t get stranded or put yourself in a dangerous situation.

Most search and rescue organizations are volunteer-based, and are people who risk their own lives during their free time (and unpaid — talk about big hearts!).

For your own safety, please make sure you are well prepared before you head out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and to stay safe while you’re hiking is available from North Shore Rescue and Adventure Smart.

Parks Canada advises you to stay on marked trails, abide by trail closure signs, and hike with a friend. It also recommends that you keep a safe distance back from slopes, river edges and bluffs.

If stopping, move out of the way


Yellow Lab / Shutterstock

Be like Rover!

We all need those breaks, especially during those challenging inclines, so make sure you move over so others can walk by you safely.

Let faster people pass

grouse grind

Devin Manky/Grouse Grind

Much like the last point, make sure you move over to make space for speedy hikers coming from behind you, and:

Yield to hikers going uphill

If you’re walking uphill and hear hikers behind you approaching quickly, let them pass by you so they can keep their momentum up.

Walk single file to avoid disturbing precious ground 


Image: Hiking / Shutterstock

It’s great to have a conversation with your hiking buddy on the mountain, but try to walk single file, or within the path already there so you don’t disrupt the ground around you and trample on plants.

Don’t block people while you gram

Calgary events


But did you really hike if you didn’t post about it?

It’s completely understandable that when you are exploring the wilderness and seeing what we have here in Beautiful BC you’ll want to share it on social media, but be aware if you’re blocking anyone else’s view — or ask out of consideration if the other hikers mind if you pop into their view for a quick moment to snap some pictures or video.  Most of the time, they won’t mind.  Remember, endorphins make us happier and relaxed!

Or, now this is going to sound wild, consider leaving your phone tucked away and just enjoy being in the moment.

Michelle MortonMichelle Morton

+ Great Outdoors