City Cast

Your Guide to Utah Trail Etiquette

Terina Ria
Terina Ria
Posted on June 12   |   Updated on August 18
Hayyyyy. (Ali Vallarta/City Cast Salt Lake)

Hayyyyy. (Ali Vallarta/City Cast Salt Lake)

There’s no denying that Utah’s outdoor spaces are unrivaled. If you’re hitting the trails, here are some simple rules to follow to keep the great outdoors great.

🔈 Mind Your Volume

Remember that the outdoors is a shared space, and many people head to nature to find peace and quiet. Be respectful of others by being mindful of your noise level, whether you’re in a group or by yourself. If you listen to music, don’t blare it over a speaker — that’s what headphones are for.

⚠️ Learn When to Yield

Most trails will have signs showing who it’s for — hikers, bikers, horseback riders. The general rule of thumb: If you’re headed downhill, you should yield to those heading uphill, and everyone should yield to horses. When yielding on a busy trail:

  • Motorized vehicles yield to bikers, hikers, and horses.
  • Bikers yield to hikers and horses.
  • Hikers yield to horses.

🐕 No Dog Pee in the Watershed

Dogs aren’t allowed in protected watersheds. Watersheds supply Salt Lake City with drinking water, and it’s estimated that 60% of our water comes from the canyons. Know before you go where your pup is and isn’t allowed. Otherwise, you could end up paying a hefty fine.

Also, be aware that some of the trails that allow dogs have unique leash restrictions. Millcreek Canyon, for example, only allows dogs off-leash on odd-numbered days.

😁 The Courtesy Nod

This may be showing my Utah roots (or Utah rutts, rather), but I always try to say hello to people I pass on the trail. Or at least give them a courtesy nod or smile. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way. If that’s not enough, being friendly on the trail can also be an important safety measure! If you get lost or hurt, the last person you saw could save your life.

🚮 Leave No Trace

Do your part in protecting our outdoor spaces by leaving no trace, which means that it should look exactly how you found it when you leave. Don’t carve your name on rocks or trees, don’t feed the mountain lions, put your garbage in the proper receptacle (if available) or pack it out with you. And read up on how to “go in the woods.

Think you’re a trail expert? Test your knowledge and take the quiz by Trails Are Common Ground.

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