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Be prepared. Wear proper footwear and clothing, bring water, snacks, maps, a light source, and other equipment you may need. Cell phones are an excellent idea, but batteries can die and accidents can happen in areas with no cell reception. Be aware of your surroundings on shared trails. Know where you’re going, and tell someone else your plan.

Don’t use the trails after a heavy rain! Give the trails a chance to dry out and recover after rainstorms. Hoof marks, wheel tracks, and footprints have drastic effects on wet trails, leading to erosion, which is difficult to reverse. We don’t get much rain here in Arizona, so have patience — a sunny day is just around the corner!

 Trail damage and erosion from trail use after a heavy rain.

No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails and this includes electric bikes.

Who has the right of way? 

Hikers and runners yield to horses and bikers yield to both hikers and horses.

If you’re sharing the trail with equestrians, give them as wide a berth as possible and make sure not to make abrupt movements as they pass and talk calmly when approaching to avoid startling the animal. If you’re on a narrow trail and horses are passing, get off the trail on the downhill side. Horses are more likely to run uphill than downhill when spooked.

Mountain bikers should call out as they come down steep slopes or blind switchbacks, and should also let you know if there are other bikers following them.

When you encounter other hikers, remember that hikers going uphill have the right of way. An uphill hiker may let others come downhill while they catch their breath, but remember that’s the uphill hiker’s call.

Trail etiquette is even more important when you’re hiking in a group. Always hike single-file, never taking up more than half the trail space, and stay on the trail itself. When a group meets a single hiker, it’s preferable for the single hiker to yield and step safely to the side.

Keep right and pass on the left. Announce yourself before passing another hiker either with a simple “hello” or “on your left”. When passing, always stay on the trail to reduce erosion. 

Hiking with dogs

If dogs are allowed off-leash always keep your dog under control and within a line of sight.

When another hiker approaches, with or without a dog, leash your pup and step to the side. Be polite and let them know if your dog is friendly or if they are not. If you see a yellow ribbon on a dog’s leash or collar it’s a sign to other people, that the dog needs some space and that you need to proceed with caution. The dog may not be child friendly, have health issues, have fear or anxiety issues, or is in training. Either way, caution should be applied when approaching.

Always clean up after your dogs and keep them on the trail. And please don’t leave your poop bags lying around for others to pick up (even if you intend to pick it up on the way out).

Smart phones and iPods on the trail

Enjoy the sounds of nature and let others do the same. Remember to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you make or receive a call please keep your voice down. If you want to play music, consider using a single earbud, so you can still hear and turn down the speaker volume when you see others coming. Using a smartphone on the trail is a personal choice, but be aware of how it affects others.

Protect our wildlife and keep our forest clean

Don’t litter – not even biodegradable items such as banana and orange peels. It is not good for animals to eat non-native foods. If you packed it in, pack it back out. Recycle trash found on the trail.

Don’t feed the wildlife. While many animals stay hidden, others are not so shy. Giving wild animals human food only disrupts their natural foraging habits and can make them sick.

When relieving yourself outdoors, be sure to do so 200 feet away from the trail and any water sources. Dispose of human waste in a pit 6-8 inches deep and pack out all toilet paper and hygiene products.

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