Table of Contents

Leave No Trace Best Practice

The trails’ natural beauty is a privilege to enjoy; make sure you Leave No Trace and preserve the wonder for future generations. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some useful tips on ensuring you leave no trace.

Leave No Trace

Plan Your Hike In Advance

Study and research the type of terrain you will be on and possible weather conditions you can expect on the trail. Minimize your impact on the route by keeping groups small and avoiding busier times. Walking in a single file and avoiding shortcuts off-trail will limit damage to the established trail path and preserve the surrounding ecosystems. Visit our Planning Your Hiking Trip Guide for more information and what your should do to fully prepare for a upcoming hike.

Look After The Trail Path

Try to focus on hiking on on the most resilient ground on the trail. Segments that feature sand, gravel, rock, snow, or dry grass are durable and can withstand heavy use. Make sure you walk through any mud/puddles to avoid widening the established trail.

Leave No Trace: Carry In/Carry Out

If you carry it in, you can carry it out! This means not only your food wrapper but also biodegradable waste such as banana peels, etc.

You could follow the “negative trace” philosophy too. This can be done by picking up trash left by hikers. Dispose of human waste by digging a cathole 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from any water source. Pack out all used toilet paper and other hygiene products you have taken.

Campfire & Cooking

Keep your campfire as small as possible—or go without if you can, especially on a day hike. Share a campfire with fellow hikers if you are in a group or you meet new people in the camp.

Use any existing fire rings or mounds you find in your campsite and burn only small wood found on the ground. Never damage live or fallen trees; they won’t turn well anyway.

Keep up-to-date on the level of fire danger of the area. Make sure your campfire is wholly smothered before you leave. Small gas camping stoves are much more efficient for cooking and leave little impact on the site.

Leave No Trace On Wildlife

You are in their backyard. Give animals d distance and do not attract, startle or approach animals. Never feed them food intended for humans as this disrupts their natural foraging habits, and processed human foods can be harmful. The trail can be fun for pets too, please control pets in natural areas and always keep them restrained.

Consider Other Hikers On The Trail

Show respect for other trail users. Keep voices/noises from getting intrusively loud. Obey any posted trail rules, including rights of way. Orient rest spots and campsites away from the trail.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. Visit  Nation Park Services for more information on how you can do your part to protect the trails.