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Trail Etiquette in the age of COVID-19

This blog contains plethora of helpful information and tips on hiking and trail usage in and around Jackson Hole including tips on trail etiquette in the age of COVID19.

Jackson and the area around it is home to an extensive network of trails. We welcome visitors to come and find escape through this beautiful place we are lucky to call home! Use this blog as a resource for trail etiquette and tips with fun at the forefront. 

Right of Way

The trail user's hierarchy is indeed a thing. While in some places these rules may seem silly for the likelihood, you'll see a horse over even a biker may be slim, in Jackson you'll see them all and quite often. Even on the steepest of trails you'll think to yourself, "who on earth would bike up this?" a biker will come scrambling around the corner.

Check what kind of travelers you will be sharing the trail with before you go. Most trailheads in and around Jackson will have signage on this at trailheads or throughout the path. Some places may only allow hikers while other hikes will be open to hikers, bikers, and horses, Cache Creek, for example. Be prepared for who you will encounter, and you'll know what to do when you see them. If you want to be prepared beforehand, visit Friends of Pathways for trail maps and updates, including what wildlife are prone to the area.

The hierarchy goes like this:

  • Bikers yield to pedestrians
  • Pedestrians yield to equestrians
  • Always yield to uphill traffic
  • Stay to the right and pass on the left

In times like the present, it's always a good idea to signal your passing. If you cannot ensure 6 feet while passing, let patrons know, so they have sufficient time to put on a mask or step out of the way.

View of the Grand Teton from Delta Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Leave No Trace

This rule applies to everything you can think of that doesn't belong there or wasn't there before you. Pack out everything from the most biodegradable food scraps like apple cores and banana peels to doggy # 2's.

Another way you can look at this is by not diving off the tail. Walking off the trails leaves a trace by causing foliage damage and significantly increasing erosion. Stick to the trails!

Social Distance

Social distancing still applies to the trails. Give everyone 6 feet of distance to ensure proper safety of yourself and those around you. Always bring a mask with you, and wear it if you can't ensure social distance with others on the trail.

Be Safe

In other words, know before you go! Remember, our resources are limited. Now is not the time to do that thing you have never done before but always wanted to. Being reckless only puts a strain on our resources and can potentially put you at a higher risk. If you absolutely must do that thing, be prepared, and practice. Visit Backcountryzero's website, specifically the "links worth investigating" page for helpful safety resources. Click here for more on safety practices by the National Park Service.

HAVE FUN

Lastly, remember to have fun! Just because we have to wear masks doesn't mean you can't say hi! Be kind to the trails and all who use them! 


Thank you for keeping our trails and outdoor recreation areas safe for all who use them. 

  • For more on outdoor activities, visit our summer activities page.
  • Are you looking for information on camping? Visit How to: Camping during COVID for info on dispersed camping locations and resources from NPS.
  • Looking for a post-hike snack? Visit our food & drink page for places to dine in town. Visit this blog for info on restaurants with outdoor seating or where to picnic your takeout.
  • Treating yourself? Jackson Hole is home to some of the best shopping around! With western inspired clothing and jewlery to some of the most beautiful art galleries around, there is something for everyone. 

Photos Courtesy of Visit Jackson Hole