Travel Curious

For independent travelers who want to dig deeper

The complete guide to how to be good in the woods


Park politely and use common sense, don’t take up more room than you need and don’t block someone else in. 


Environment Impact

  • Pack it in — pack more of it out.
  • Learn how to pee and poop in the woods, do not leave any trace of your presence including used tissues and toilet paper left somewhere you think is off-trail and out of sight. Find a spot that’s at least 200 feet away from any source of water. Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep. Do your business. Bury it.
  • Don’t leave your mark. There is never a reason to leave graffiti or carvings anywhere outdoors. Damage is cumulative and unerasable and also illegal.

Aspen graffiti



  • Keep dogs on leash in designated areas
  • If you are in an off-leash area and another person’s dog is on a leash, keep your dog from approaching it, the other owner has their dog on a leash for a reason
  • Do not leave your poop bags at the side of any trail with the notion you will pick it up on the way out, nobody wants to walk past a string of dog poop bags at on the trail

2022 08 29 17.49.59



Leave gates as you found them, open or closed unless posted otherwise.


  • Stay on designated trails
  • Do not widen trails around muddy or wet sections by avoiding them
  • Do not take shortcuts or cut switchbacks
  • When you encounter other hikers and trail users, offer a friendly “hello” or a simple head nod. This helps create a friendly atmosphere on the trail.
  • If you approach another trail user from behind, announce yourself in a friendly, calm tone and let him/her know you want to pass.
  • When walking in an area without designated trails walk on durable surfaces when possible. With a group in an area without trails and delicate surfaces, spread out do not walk in single file this lessens the impact on the vegetation.
  • Slow traffic should stay on the right side of the trail so others can pass safely on their left. 
  • Yielding to others who are faster than you, stop and move to one side of the trail when yielding. Understand if somebody is now right behind you, they are moving at an average speed faster than you, pull over and let them pass, do not do the speed up to stay ahead of the game, they are walking faster than you or they wouldn’t have caught up to you.
  • Have respect for others, don’t play music on speakers and disturb others’ quiet enjoyment of the outdoors.
  • Keep your voice down, yelling, whooping and hollering disturbs everyone else trying to enjoy the solitude of nature.
  • Move off the trail when you stop for a break.
  • In foreign countries learn the land-use and access rules, they can differ greatly from your home country.


Bear Country

  • Be alert while on the trail, and always be on the lookout for bears.
  • Keep an eye out for fresh tracks, scat, other signs (torn up logs, digging, fresh claw marks on trees), and carcasses in the area.
  • Know what kind of bears you may encounter, Black, Brown, Grizzlies…
  • Know your bear habitat, they like thick brush and heavy tree stands.
  • Understand the seasons, during the late summer and fall, bears will be foraging.
  • Watch out for plants that attract feeding bears, flowering plants, or plants that have fruit on them like berries.
  • Be extra careful near water sources where bears might be feeding or drinking.
  • Hiking in a group will decrease your chances of surprising a bear.
  • Trail running in bear country is highly discouraged.
  • Make noise while hiking, you want to avoid surprising a bear.
  • If you see a bear before it sees you, slowly and calmly back away from the area.
  • Avoid hiking at dawn, dusk, and at night. These are the time periods when bears are most active.
  • Be wary of sows (adult mother bears) with cubs.
  • If you find a cub, leave the area immediately.  DO NOT APPROACH CUBS.
  • If you have a surprise encounter with a bear, if sitting, slowly stand up and speak to the bear in a calm, confident manner. You’re trying to let the bear identify you as a person and not an animal. Immediately pick up small children and hold onto them. Slowly wave your arms above your head and tell the bear to back off. Do not run. Avoid direct eye contact with the bear. Slowly back away from the bear and keep an eye on it. If you back away and the bear follows you or begins to act aggressively, be ready to stand your ground and fight.


Understand Trail Etiquette / Trail Right of Way

You don’t just walk down trails without any regard for anyone else you might encounter, there is a very specific and well-defined etiquette and right of way to follow.


Horses and pack stock only yield to each other and everyone else must yield to them. If you have a dog, move off the trail to the lower ground if possible, try not to be higher than the horses, and make contact with the riders, they will tell you how their horses are with your particular encounter. If you approach from behind, calmly announce your presence and intentions. Horses and other pack stock can frighten easily, so avoid sudden movements or loud noises. Believe me, you do not want to be responsible for a thrown rider.


Hikers yield to horses, everything else yields to hikers. Hikers going downhill must yield to hikers going uphill (uphill hikers have the right of way)


Bikers yield to horses and hikers going uphill or downhill. Courteous hikers will often get off the trail for bikers to let them continue with their momentum, however, this is a courtesy and is not to be expected. Bikers going downhill must yield to bikers going uphill.


Rock Cairns

  • If you come across a cairn, do not disturb it. Don’t knock it down or add to it. 
  • Do not build them in areas without them, there is a reason they are not there, and the outside is not your private art installation.




  • Do not climb, sit, or stand on rock walls. Walls are fragile and continue to deteriorate.
  • Do not dig for artifacts.
  • Do not pick up, move, or remove artifacts.
  • Camping is not allowed in ruins.
  • Don’t let your dog go in ruins, they dig, urinate and defecate, destroying fragile cultural deposits.
  • Do not eat in ruins.



  • Respect wildlife, observe from a distance, if the wildlife is reacting to you, you are too close
  • Protect bodies of water, do not deposit any trash or foreign liquids into a body of water.


Pay it forward

By always picking up at least one piece of trash that is not yours compensates for the litterbugs, and it also sends a message about environmental awareness and doing what is right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Buy Framed Prints

Images on this website are available as framed prints to support running the website
Browse Prints For Sale


Featured Posts