Hiking Etiquette (Is This a Thing?)

Oregon is a very beautiful state.

It has many opportunities for hiking. Hikers from other countries sometimes don’t realize that just as they must learn a new culture’s etiquette (expectations for polite behavior) for going to a dinner party or attending classes, they must learn polite behavior for being on the trail.

[aesop_parallax img=”http://portlandenglish.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/The-Columbia-Gorge.jpg” parallaxbg=”fixed” caption=” Wahkeena Falls Trail, Oregon” captionposition=”bottom-left” lightbox=”off” floater=”on” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”none” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

What do Oregonians expect from you when you are on a hiking trail?

 1) Leave the trail clean. Carry out all your trash.

That means, don’t toss your empty plastic water bottles into the woods. Don’t drop your sandwich wrappers. If you use toilet paper, bury it or carry it out with you. This leaves the trail picture- perfect for the hikers who come after you.

 2) Don’t blare music. If you want to listen to music, wear headphones.

People go hiking to get away from city noise. They want to hear the sound of birds, the wind, the leaves, the river. If music motivates you to walk farther, that’s great. Just keep it private.

 3) Don’t yell. Speak to your friends in a conversational tone.

In some countries, it’s cool to yell on the trail. Here in Oregon, hikers want peace and quiet. Respect your fellow hikers who may just want to listen to the sounds of the forest.

 4) Yield the right of way to hikers going up-hill.

Hiking up-hill is tough. People get out of breath. When you meet someone on a narrow trail, step aside and let the person going uphill walk by you first.

 5) Warn people if you want to pass them.

If you walk faster than someone in front of them and want to pass them, pass on their left and tell them “On your left.” This lets them know you are coming.

The best rule of thumb is to be as invisible as possible. This will allow everyone to soak up the beauty more easily.

If you will visit Oregon, here are some links to hiking trails in the area. Enjoy!