Share the trail: Etiquette tips for a better outdoor experience

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Lake Superior. Photo by Michael DeWitt

Spring means new trails and new opportunities for adventure in Wisconsin’s outdoors. It’s also a good time to remember to share the trail and practice caution on muddy or rutted trails.

Here are a handful of OutWiGo good practices for biking and hiking to help make everyone’s outdoor experience (including your own) more enjoyable.

Muddy And Rutted Trails:

Try to use hard surface trails like asphalt or stone this time of year rather than native surface or dirt/grass trails.

Think before you sink; if you leave tracks, turn back and try another trail.

Seek out upland trails or trails in sandy areas that drain well.

If you come across a muddy, wet or icy section of trail and cannot turn back, go right down the middle and embrace the mud – do not go around it and widen the trail tread which can damage habitat.

Avoiding muddy trails now helps to limit closures and repairs late

Be mindful of safety issues like slippery areas or areas covered in water – walk your bike and go slowly.

Etiquette Tips For Every Season:

Know before you go. Learn what types of trail use are permitted at your destination and obey traffic (and other) laws and signs.

Ride single file. You can ride two or more abreast if you will not block other traffic.

Walk with no more than two people across to allow others to pass.

All users should stay right except to pass. Pass on the left of those you’re passing.

When passing, move to single file and announce yourself (verbally or with a bell) before passing. Slow down when maneuvering around other trail users.

Pets must be on a leash 8 feet or shorter and kept under control. Keep your pet out of the path of oncoming or passing traffic. When possible, walk with your pet on the outer edge of the trail.

Pack it in, pack it out. Pick up your litter.

Thank you for helping keep our trails safe for all users. Please be considerate of all trail users and keep a physical distance of 6 feet between yourself and those outside your group.