Department of Transportation

Trail Etiquette

Thousands of people use West Virginia’s trails each week. Mountain Bikers, ATV riders, equestrians, dirt bikers, people with disabilities, long distance backpackers, day hikers, runners, and people just out for a walk with the family dog. While some trails and areas are limited to one or two types of users, others are open to anyone who wants to travel along them. It is essential that everyone follow a few basic guidelines to ensure an enjoyable experience.

  • Always be courteous to other people.
  • Be courteous to wildlife, too; after all, it is their home.
  • Stay on the designated trail. Respect private property, not just private land adjoining the trail. Also respect others' property: i.e. bicycles, ATVs, horses or whatever.
  • When in a group, make sure you are not blocking the trail.
  • Motorized equipment should yield to everyone else.
  • People with dogs yield to everyone except motorized equipment. Move well off the trail to allow others to pass far enough from the dog that they are not concerned about being attacked or sniffed. Don’t let your dog bark or lunge at horses.
  • Bikers should yield to pedestrians.
  • Everyone should yield to equestrians. Horses are big animals and can do lots of damage to you and others if they become scared. However, equestrians are responsible for controlling their animals.
  • People traveling downhill should yield to those traveling uphill.
  • Let others know you are approaching them, especially if from behind.
  • If people announce themselves from behind you, move over to the right to make sure they have enough room to get by.
  • Keep to the right side of the trail to avoid oncoming trail users.
  • If you take your dog, make sure you can control it. Keep it on a leash if the local regulations require it.
  • Clean up after yourself. Don’t litter.
  • Get out of site of the trail and use proper sanitary procedures if you need to go.
  • Keep quiet. People venture into the outdoors for peace and quiet, not to listen to you yell or your IPOD.
  • Promote your sport. Take time to talk to other people you meet about your outdoors experiences.
  • In short: Treat others the way you would like to be treated if the situation were reversed.