Hiking Etiquette 101: How To Be a Good Traveler in 5 Steps
Central Washington takes pride in being home to many of the most beautiful trails in the country. We are fortunate enough to step foot on some of the best trails, so we must do what we can to protect and preserve the natural components that make them so compelling. Take advantage of our region’s extraordinary weather, and let the trails take you through the adventure you’ve been longing for! Let us share 5 of our hiking etiquette tips to take with you:
#1 – Stay on the designated trail
Keep your footing on the designated trail to not only protect yourself but to also protect the plant and animal life living among the grounds. Don’t take shortcuts. Trails are carefully planned to take you through the safest route with minimal damage to the environment. Next time you have the bright idea to venture off-trail, please don’t. Protect and care for nature so that future visitors may be able to enjoy the beauty and natural fruition of the trail as you have!
#2 – Give ascending hikers the right of way
Giving uphill hikers the right of way is important to following the general guidelines of the trail. It is important to understand that ascending hikers have a narrower view of the trail, and are also having to endure a steep incline while those descending do not. It is possible for an uphill hiker to let the downhiller hiker pass while taking a breather, but that must be initiated by the uphill hiker. Be sure to practice this courtesy!
#3 – Leave no trace
It is important to leave with what you came with. Nothing extra, nothing less. Be sure to pack out all trash that you may have accumulated during your trip. Help protect the flora and fauna around you by being conscientious ‘ If you find trash that isn’t yours, pack that away too. Leave the trail better than you found it!
#4 – Hike quietly
Avoid unnecessary noise like yelling or the use of cell phones. Yelling can cause panic or disruption to wildlife and hikers around you, and should only be done when in an absolute emergency. Bringing your cell phone along with you on the trail is a personal choice. However, please refrain from blasting music, making loud phone calls, and being distracted while using your cellular device. Why? Trust us, the visuals found in nature are far better than anything technology can provide.
#5 – Wildlife is not a souvenir
Taking wildlife or plants from their habitat is not only a crime in some instances, but also a threat to nature as a whole. Please refrain from removing any habitual animal or plant from the trails, and instead snap a picture while practicing safe distance. It is important to be well-informed before traveling so that your choices do not harm wildlife!
Our tails are diverse and offer a plethora of sights and opportunities for exploration. If you’d like more information on hiking in Central Washington, stop by one of our Visitor Centers, or give us a call at (509) 925-2002.