Hiking Etiquette (with Dogs)

Hello fellow adventurers!

As much as I like solitude when I hike, it fills my heart with joy to see other people getting outside and being active! From novice hikers to seasoned trekkers, I am so inspired by your willingness to make time on the weekend to go on an adventure. However, I would like to go over some trail etiquette, specifically with those of us with dogs. I want to address some of these common faults so that we can all keep our trails peaceful and beautiful!

  1. Uphill hikers have the right of way- I know it’s so easy to let gravity do its thing and get your momentum going downhill, but remember when you and fido were panting on the hike up? Give those working hard to fight gravity and get to the summit the right of way. This is especially important when you have a dog. Try to shorten the leash as much as possible and maneuver your dog to the side of the trail. Although I have a hard time believing it, not everyone wants to be kissed and greeted by Scout when they’re working hard to get up the trail.
  2. Keep your dog on a leash- I love letting Scout run around in open fields and exploring all of the funky smells (and finding poop…gross). BUT, the trail is not an ideal place to let him off leash because you never know who is not a dog person. You also never know if there are more aggressive dogs just up ahead even if your furry adventure pal is the most friendly guy. I’ve seen my fair share of dog fights that could have been prevented by a leash. Lastly, it’s a safety issue for your dog. There are lots of snakes sunning on/ near trails now that it is summer. Scout has already attempted to put one in his mouth. If your dog is running around, then you can’t stop them from annoying rattlesnakes.
  3. Pack in/ Pack out- If you get as ticked at seeing trash on the trail as I do, then you may have been taught the “leave no trace” principal from a young age. I can’t stress the importance of this rule enough for human trash, but it’s also vital for your doggy doo-doo. You know how you’re supposed to bury your own waste at least 200 ft from a trail? Well, do the same with your dog OR pack it out. Trash and feces along the side of heavily trafficked trails can really ruin the ambiance of a hike. It can also ruin your day to step in dog poo. I guarantee your canine’s poop won’t stink if you double-bag it in some doggie bags. If you are taking responsibility for your dog on the hike, you should take responsibility of ALL parts of your dog.
  4. Be friendly, but ask if your dog can be friends with their dog- Hiking really gets those endorphins pumping, and it’s nearly always a beautiful hiking day if you live in SoCal. It is important to be friendly and say hello to others on the trail- build up the hiking community! When encountering another dog, it’s also polite to ask if your pets can also say hello and meet! I love when Scout makes friends on the trail, but sometimes he gets tired (or the other dog is exhausted) and then he gets moody towards dogs who would normally be his buddies.

This is my short list of dog hiking etiquette. If you have some human hiking friends that maybe bend these rules, then a friendly reminder probably wouldn’t hurt them. If your fur-friend bends these rules, then they don’t really get a choice when you make them follow this etiquette.

Have I missed anything? Please let me know if you think there’s more to address and I’ll add it in!

Thanks for being responsible adventurers!



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