Here in Idaho, we’re lucky to have countless places to camp and recreate outdoors. Wherever and however you choose to get outdoors – recreating responsibly is vital to protecting you, other recreationists, and the land, water, and wildlife we all love. In this 5 part series of blogs, the Idaho Conservation League is helping you recreate responsibly with easy tips and tricks that make a difference – giving back to the lands that give us so much.

From Sandpoint to Ketchum to Boise, there are some beautiful trails all across our state. More and more Idahoans are choosing to spend time recreating outdoors, and while this is a great way to build appreciation for Idaho’s wild places, there are some practices that we all should keep in mind as we hit the trails this summer and all throughout the year.

Here are some written and unwritten rules that trail users should follow to make the outdoors as welcoming and sustainable as possible for all Idahoans:

  • Do not hike on muddy trails! Hiking on muddy trails can cause damage to these paths, and it can be a long process to get them back to working condition after many people have misused them.
  • Stay on the trail! Going off-trail can damage vegetation and/or wildlife habitat.
  • Close the gates! If you pass through a gate that was closed, make sure to close the gate after your group. (Also, make sure you are allowed to pass through the gate in the first place. Respect signage.)
  • Leave no trace! Pick up trash you see along the trail, carry your own trash out until you can dispose of it properly. Leave artifacts, rocks, vegetation for everyone to enjoy.
  • Be respectful of other trail users! 
    • Uphill hikers have the right of way. If you are on a narrow trail coming downhill, step off the trail when uphill hikers are approaching to let them pass.
    • Say hello to other trail users, or acknowledge them in some way. Trails are for everyone, and we can all work to create a welcoming outdoor community!
    • If you are coming up behind another trail user, respectfully let them know, then ask to pass by if you would like.
    • Be mindful of your noise level. Many folks want to hear the sounds of nature when out recreating, not electronic noises or music.

Public lands give everyone an opportunity to get out and experience the beauty of Idaho. With more newcomers to the area and more people wanting to try outdoor activities, each of us can make sure that we are welcoming, kind and respectful to other trail users.

For more information on recreating responsibly, planning your next Idaho adventure, and ways to stand up for Idaho’s public lands – sign up for our email updates here.