SHARE THE TRAIL WITH HIKERS
Hikers make up most of the trail traffic you’ll see while exploring the Central Washington wilderness, so it’s important to know how to yield, whether you’re also on foot or you’re on a bicycle, horse, or ATV.
Hikers vs. Hikers
Start with a polite, “On your right(or left)!” if you are coming up behind them. If you’re coming toward each other, make eye contact. Trail etiquette states that the person going uphill has the right of way. This is because, in general, hikers heading up an incline have a smaller field of vision and may also be hiking in a rhythm, not wanting to waste energy by breaking their pace. Not everyone knows these practices, so if there’s confusion, communicate with each other.
Hikers vs. Bikers
Mountain bikes are considered more maneuverable than hikers’ legs, so bikers are generally expected to yield to hikers on the trail. However, because those mountain bikes are moving considerably faster than said legs, it’s usually easier for hikers to yield the right of way-especially if a mountain biker is huffing and puffing up a tough incline. A biker should never expect a hiker to yield, though.
Hikers vs. Motorized Traffic
Motorized traffic, such as an ATV, yields to all other forms of trail travel. When a motorized outdoorsman encounters a hiker on the trail, they are expected to safely pull over to the side of the trail and let those on foot pass. It may also be best to wait until hikers are a safe distance away before continuing down your path in case dust or rocks are kicked up off the ground as you accelerate.
Hikers vs. Horses
As the largest, slowest-to-maneuver, and least-predictable creatures on the trail, horses get the right of way from hikers, mountain bikers, and motorized traffic. If you’re sharing the trail with equestrians, give them as much space as possible, try not to make abrupt movements as they pass, and talk calmly when approaching to avoid startling the animal.