Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics LNT.org logo
There are many types of people we try to avoid while hiking. Whether it is the group of college students blasting Mac Miller on the trail, or wanna-be influencers stepping on wildflowers to get the perfect shot. Here’s a list of things to do on the trail so you do become one of “those hikers”. 

1. Plan and prepare: Where are you hiking? What gear do you need for your hike? Do you need a map and compass or is it a simple out and back? What are the trail conditions like? Ask yourself questions like these so you don’t get caught in one of Colorado’s famous mid-day summer storms.

2. Walk on durable surfaces: Most people love wildflowers, most people don’t love crushed wildflowers. Do your best to stay on the trail to minimize your impact on sensitive ecosystems.

3. Dispose of waste properly: Trash? Pack out what you pack in. Dog decides to go number 2? Pack it out. You gotta go number 2? Follow the area’s guidelines for human waste. Pack it out. Pack it out. Pack it out. Did I mention you should pack it out? 

4. Reduce fire impact: If you are going to have a fire make sure you are following the guidelines for the area and you are within fire season. Put it out COMPLETELY if you do decide to have a fire and make sure it is in a designated fire area. 

5. Leave what you find: Find a cool rock? Leave it for others to enjoy! If every human took a cool rock they found on a hike, all the cool rocks would be gone. The same goes for flowers, sticks, animals….just don’t take anything…..

6. Respect wildlife: Animals are really awesome, but they are wild so could be unpredictable. Doesn’t matter if it’s a squirrel or an elk, keep your distance! They definitely don’t want to be bothered just because you think of yourself as a Nat Geo photographer. Also feeding animals is a big no-no. Just because a squirrel will eat your bag of Doritos doesn’t mean you should feed them Doritos….even the Cool Ranch kind….

an elk grazing in a meadow with a backdrop of snowy mountains in Estes Park, Colorado

7. Be courteous to others on the trail: The only soundtrack that should be blasting on the trail should be the wholesome song of the chickadees, not Mac Miller, not Kanye, not even Beyonce. Wait until you are safely in your car to tell the world what music you love listening to because not everyone is going to enjoy your music. Especially the animals. 

As long as you follow these principles, you and others can enjoy the hike without turning into “those hikers,” also if you are looking for more guidance or are new to hiking consider booking us for your next hike or backpacking trip, as all of our guides follow these Leave No Trace principles. 

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