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Hiking Etiquette

With rafting season coming to an end, many rafters find themselves looking for other ways to enjoy the outdoors until the spring season begins. One way to experience nature without getting (too) wet is by hiking. West Virginia is home to a number of beautiful trails nestled in the Appalachian mountains in the state park system. This means that while the state may work to maintain the trails and conditions in the park, there is also some degree of responsibility for guests of the trails. To learn more about essential hiking etiquette, keep reading!

Some of the most important rules to remember while on the trail include:

  • Stay on the trail – don’t cut through the trees
  • Always stay to the right on larger trails (similar to driving)
    • So, be sure to pass on the left also.
  • If you need to overtake someone, make sure you alert whoever is in front of you. A quick warning prevents crashes or other problems.
    • If you are being overtake, stay to the right and allow the faster parties to pass you.
  • Be polite to the people you meet, a simple smile and “hello” usually is sufficient.
  • Uphill hikers have right of way to downhill hikers.
  • Groups of hikers should yield to single hikers (it is much more difficult for an entire group to get off of the trail)
    • If you are hiking in a group, take no more than 1/2 of the trail – this allows for others to comfortably pass.
  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Pocket all your trash, including cigarette butts and candy wrappers, and dispose of it properly.
  • Wildflowers, wildlife, and historic objects all contribute to the beauty we came to see. Leave them undisturbed.
  • Keep pets on a leash at all times.
  • Bicycles are only permitted on bike trails

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