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Trail Etiquette

Why is trail etiquette needed?

New Hampshire is one of the best places in the country to recreate. With a variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors, New Hampshire promotes sharing the trail with other users so that everyone can have an equally pleasurable experience. Trail etiquette is a tool to inform other users to act in a courteous way on recreational trails. This is not a complete list, nor are these rules or laws. When in doubt, smile and use common sense.

Trail Ettiquette Information Sheet (non-motorized) 

General Guidelines for all users

  • Be courteous of all other users regardless of their sport, speed or skill level.
  • Keep pets under control.
  • Enjoy and respect wildlife; do not disturb.
  • Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate.
  • Train yourself and your animals.
  • Be polite and a good steward of your recreational use; educate others.
  • Travel at a safe and reasonable speed.
  • Faster users yield the right of way to slower users.
  • All users yield to horses and mushers.
  • Users should be single file when in groups and approaching other users.
  • Stay on trail, avoid trail widening when trail is wet/muddy and stay off trails during mud season.
  • When parking, do not block gates, and park only in designated areas.

General Guidelines for all users encountering equestrians and mushers

  • When passing a horse or musher from behind, call out that you want to pass, and proceed slowly and safely.
  • Speak in a calm tone to alert horse and rider and musher of your presence.
  • Ask the rider and musher to advise you on passing and always proceed slowly around horses and dogs.
  • Motorized vehicles should stop and wait for rider and musher to advise what to do next 

User-Specific Guidelines

Hikers
  • Yield to horses and mushers.
  • Do not take short cuts or cut switchbacks.
  • Keep pets under control.
  • Do not destroy or add additional trail markers.
Mountain Bikers
  • Yield to hikers and equestrians mushers.
  • Control your bike; be ready and able to stop at any time.
  • Know your ability, equipment and trail.
  • Do not slide around corners.
  • Slow down and use caution when approaching another user.
  • Avoid riding after heavy rains.
Equestrians
  • Make sure your horse has the temperament and training for riding on recreational trails.
  • Know you and your horse’s limitations.
  • Let other trail users know when it is safe to pass your horse.
  • Announce your intention to pass others. Come to a walk and pass on the left when safe and appropriate.
  • Always pick up after your horse. Keep the trail head and parking area clear of manure and trash.
  • When meeting a musher, move off the trail to a safe spot and let them keep moving to pass. Call out to the musher if they need to stop.
OHRV’ers
  • Yield the right of way to non-motorized users.
  • Know the local laws, rules and stay on designated trails.
  • Do not operate vehicle in a careless way that may endanger people or property.
  • When approaching an oncoming equestrian or musher, pull off to the right, stop your vehicle and let the horse or musher pass.
  • When passing a horseback rider or musher, alert the rider to your presence by calmly calling out you wish to pass. The horseback rider or musher should pull the horse or dogs over. If the rider has the horse under control, proceed on. If not, allow the rider to move the horse or dogs to a safe spot on the trail and then proceed.
  • Be aware of other users nearby and be careful not to kick up dust and debris.
  • Keep noise levels to a minimum where practicable.
  • Avoid riding after heavy rains.
  • Park your ATV and walk to sensitive, historic, scenic, and cultural areas.
4x4’ers
  • Yield to all users.
  • Know the local laws, rules and stay on designated trails.
  • When approaching an oncoming equestrian or musher, pull off to the right, stop your vehicle and let the horse or musher pass.
  • When passing a horseback rider or musher, alert the rider to your presence by calmly calling out you wish to pass. The horseback rider or musher should pull the horse or dogs over. If the rider has the horse under control, proceed on. If not, allow the rider to move the horse or dogs to a safe spot on the trail and then proceed.
  • Keep speed and wheel spin to a minimum.
  • Keep noise levels to a minimum where practicable.
  • Be aware of other users nearby and be careful not to kick up dust and debris.
  • Keep headlights on for visibility.
Cross Country Skiers
  • When stopped, step to the side, out of tracks.
  • Yield the trail to skiers that overtake you from behind.
  • If you fall, move off the track as quickly as possible.
  • Know the trail difficulty symbols and ski within your abilities.
  • Skate skiers should avoid classic tracks.
  • Do not delay the progress of other trail users.
Snowshoers
  • Snowshoe on designated trails and keep off groomed ski trails.
  • Yeild to skiers.

Snowmobilers
  • Yield the to non motorized users.
  • Keep noise levels to a minimum where practicable, especially around residential areas.
  • When approaching an oncoming equestrian or musher, pull off to the right, stop your vehicle and let the horse or musher pass.
  • When passing a horseback rider or musher, alert the rider to your presence by calmly calling out you wish to pass. The horseback rider or musher should pull the horse or dogs over. If the rider has the horse under control, proceed on. If not, allow the rider to move the horse or dogs to a safe spot on the trail and then proceed.
  • Park your snowmobile and walk to sensitive, historic, scenic, and cultural areas.
Mushers
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Make sure your dogs have the temperament and training for being on recreational trails.
  • Always keep your dogs under control.
  • Stay to right when going around corners.

Sharing Our Trails!