While there are no hard and fast laws when it comes to hiking or biking on the trails, it's safe to say the system would collapse pretty quickly if everyone disregarded the unwritten rules. Since trail season is officially in full swing, here's a reminder of how to comport yourself when out for a hike or ride to keep things pleasant for all users.
Hikers and Bikers
Generally speaking, you should be respectful of the land and other users.
- Hike/bike quietly. There's nothing more annoying than a rowdy group of hikers on a trail. Keep your voices down, turn off your cellphone, and enjoy the sounds of nature.
- Hikers going downhill should yield to those going uphill.
- Cyclists should ALWAYS yield the right of away to hikers or equestrians, even when traveling uphill.
- Keep singletrack, single. Bike or walk through puddles, unless you can do so without going off the trail.
- Don't throw trash. Even if it's biodegradable, it doesn't belong on the trail. No one wants to see your rotting apple core on the trail and it's not good for wildlife. Speaking of which...
- Don't feed wildlife. It can interrupt their natural foraging habits. Many animals stay hidden, but there are some that are less shy.
- Leave no trace. You pack it in, you pack it out. If you're relieving yourself, do it 200 feet off trail and away from water sources.
- Leave what you find. Photos and happy memories are the only souvenir you should take from the trail. If you need something else, visit a shop in town.
- Dont' skid corners. It permanently damages trails. Slow down sooner and coast through the turn instead.
- Stay off muddy trails. If it's sticking to your wheels or heels, turn around. Wet or muddy routes are easily destroyed.
- Bells make everyone safer. Use and listen for them when you are on the trail.
- If taking a break, move aside so others can pass.
- If hiking in a group, don't take up the entire trail.
- Practice 10 Seconds of Kindness. Slow down and smile, it’s easy and it makes everyone feel good.
Dogs on Trail
Pooches are almost a required hiking/biking companion in a place as dog friendly as Park City. Despite Summit County's leash enforceable laws, the community often turns a blind eye to off-leash dogs because owners are generally responsible and courteous. That being said, leashing your dog is better for the trail system and other users, plus Park City has plenty of space specifically designated (Round Valley) for your pooch to run loose. If you're bringing your four-legged best friend with you keep the following in mind.
- Make sure dogs are allowed. While Park City is a dog lover's mecca, you should be careful if you're heading out a bit farther. Dogs are prohibited in Utah's protected watersheds, including favorite hiking locations like Big Cottonwood Canyon.
- Keep your dog on leash. In addition to keeping other trail users safe and comfortable, it prevents your dog from chasing wildlife and reduces the habitat damage that occurs when dogs run off the trail. It also keeps your dog safe and within reach.
- If off-leash, make sure your dog is trained. Your dog should know the commands: Come, Leave it, Sit, and Stay, at the very least.
- Know your dogs needs. Brings snacks, plenty of water, and any accessories necessary to keep your dog happy, energetic, and comfortable.
- Clean-up after your pet. Newsflash: the poop fairy doesn't exist. Pick it up and pack it out. Don't leave it in a plastic bag on the side of the trail, you'll forget it and it'll sit in the scorching sun rotting.
- Don't assume everyone likes your dog. Keep your dog under control so other users don't feel frightened or threatened.
- Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle. Oven like temperatures will roast your dog, even on cooler days.
Happy trails everyone, it's going to be another beautiful week!