Sharing the trail: Your guide to trail etiquette

While we may go outdoors to get away, it is important to be considerate of our fellow #AlmostHeaven lovers on the trail. Here are some simple tips to being a mindful adventurer.

Who has the right of way?

Lucky for us there are some set guidelines and tips to help avoid an awkward of even dangerous situation on the trail!

Hikers v. Bikers

On the trail, bikers are generally expected to yield to hikers given their ability to maneuver more easily than someone on foot. With the speed of mountain bikers though, many hikers will yield the right of way as one comes zooming by.

As with all of these guidelines, it is always best to ride or trek with caution to best protect yourself and your fellow adventurers!

Hikers v. Hikers

A general rule of thumb for folks on foot is that hikers going uphill have the right of way. This makes perfect sense when you consider several factors! First, hikers coming uphill have a smaller field of vision than those descending. Additionally, stopping mid-uphill climb may mess up someone’s rhythm when they are powering through a steep WV hill.

When hoping to pass a group going in the same direction as you, a polite “hello” is a simple way to let them know you are approaching. It is always best to be kind and remember how easy it is to get distracted by the beautiful landscapes of #AlmostHeaven.

Hikers or Bikers v. Horses

Though they are majestic beauties, horses are typically the least predictable creature on the trail, and not always the quickest to maneuver. Because of this, most everyone else on the trail should expect to yield to an equestrian. Remember to speak softly and give horses space as they pass, to avoid spooking the animal.

While staying on the trail is the best way to preserve our wildlife areas, sometimes stepping off is necessary when a horse is passing by. In these cases step off to the downhill side of the trail, as a startled horse is more likely to take off uphill.

Respecting the Trail

It may seem like a no-brainer to be polite and courteous to others, but did you know there is a major step we can take to be kinder to the trail? A key element of loving our land is being aware of areas that can be impacted by heavy rainfall and using more durable trails. This is an important rule for rock climbers as well, with making sure the wall is completely dry before use, as sandstone can be extremely fragile when wet.

#AlmostHeaven has no shortage of breathtaking trails. Check out these hikes that are even better in the cooler months.


Travelers are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses before taking a trip. A statewide indoor face-covering requirement is in effect and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe social distance when traveling the state.

This post was last updated on December 4, 2020