Trail Etiquette

SORCA works closely with the District of Squamish (DOS), Crown Land recreation managers, and other community stakeholders to maintain the trails, manage land-use conflicts and uphold a common approach to trail etiquette. It is important that trail users are familiar with trail etiquette in order to enjoy these amenities safely and sustainably.

WHO YIELDS TO WHOM?

These days we don’t see many horses in Squamish, but the general trail user should adhere to this sign as a rule of thumb.

Squamish is a major mountain bike destination. You will encounter mountain bikers on most trails as well as many hikers. You may also encounter trials motorcycles on some trails. Trials bike users built some of Squamish’s classic trails, which have been adopted over time into the broader off-road trail network. Many trails allow for motorized use. Please use common sense and respect when encountering other user groups.

A GUIDE FOR ALL TRAIL USERS

In order to keep the trails fun and open for everyone to enjoy, show respect for your fellow trail users (human and wildlife) and stick to the following guidelines.

  • STAY ON THE TRAIL: Do not cut switchbacks or take shortcuts unless there is one specified.
  • STAY TO THE RIGHT SIDE ON WIDER PATHS: Use common sense and give space when encountering others.
  • PASS ON THE LEFT: Communicate kindly with the humans you encounter. Let them know you’re approaching and would like to get past. Who knows, you might even meet a new friend.
  • IF YOU STOP, MOVE OFF THE TRAIL: If you find yourself wrapped up in the beauty of a grand vista, taking a rest, crushing a bar or doing some trailside bike mods, please clear the trail so others can pass. Be aware of the forest and try to minimize your off trail impact.
  • GREET PEOPLE YOU MEET: We’re all outside for similar reasons. Say hi to your fellow trail goers. Ask them how their day is. Share information and enhance each other’s experience.
  • GROUPS YIELD TO SINGLE OR PAIRS OF HIKERS/BIKERS: It’s harder for a group to get off the trail so often times singles will stop and let you all pass, but it’s their call. Communication is the key to success.
  • TRAVEL IN SINGLE FILE WHEN IN A GROUP: Make sure everyone in your group understands what actions to take when encountering hikers, bikers, horses and wildlife such as bears.
  • WHEN MEETING A HORSE: Get off the trail on the downhill side. Horses will tend to bolt uphill when spooked. Also, you waiting on the uphill side looks more like a predator waiting to pounce. Quietly greet the rider and ask if you are ok where you are. Stand quietly while the horses pass.
  • WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER A BEAR: Read this document about bears and biking.
  • DON’T LEAVE ANY MARKERS WHEN HIKING OFF-TRAIL: Cairns, ducks, or little piles of rocks are not needed. Markers tend to concentrate traffic which creates unmanaged trail scars.
  • READ TRAIL-HEAD GUIDELINES: There may be specific rules for the trail you are on, for example, a mountain bike descent trail.
  • WHEN USING DOWNHILL TRACKS BE COURTEOUS AND COMMUNICATE WITH THOSE YOU MEET AND PASS
    KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN: Use all your senses and your common sense. Safety first.

A GUIDE FOR BIKERS

  • Cyclists traveling uphill have the right of way.
  • Public trails are not a race course.
  • If you want to get the lead out, do it on a race day/night.
  • You must stop if you approach someone who is crossing a narrow bridge or negotiating a narrow piece of trail with limited space, coming up or going down.
  • Let faster riders pass you as soon as you can and when it is safe to do so, e.g. where there is a pull-out
  • Sometimes uphill bikers will prefer to stop and let you pass coming down so they can get a short break – the uphill biker should be allowed to make that decision.
  • Consider seasonal conditions and weather. With heavy rains, trails can turn into mud puddles or be affected by erosion. If you ride some trails before they are dry, you will damage the trail dramatically. Be patient. If a trail is open with a few snow patches, stay on the snow on the trail. Braiding a new trail causes extensive damage to an area.

PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT

PACK IT IN – PACK IT OUT

Leave only tread marks.  Take out any waste you or your pets create.

Need to go number 2? Use outhouses where possible. If you can’t hold it, level up your “pooping in the woods” game.

TAKE A PHOTO AS A MEMENTO OF YOUR ADVENTURE

Leave nature the way nature intended it. Take only photos. And make sure you’re not in the middle of the trail or obstructing other trail users.

REPORT VANDALISM

If there is contact information at the trail-head, tell the managing agency about any destruction or management concerns or requirements that you notice.

STOP THE SPREAD

Mountain bikers can help prevent the spread of invasive plants by cleaning shoes, bikes and pets before leaving the trail-head or moving to a new trail-head. Learn more about how to Play Clean Go.

Thank you to WORCA for sharing their excellent etiquette content with us, to keep messaging consistent in the corridor.

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