Trail Etiquette Post-COVID-19

The past couple of months have been very challenge for many of us. The arrival of the coronavirus has made life difficult, forcing us to stay at home, socially distance from friends and family, and avoid going out to do some of our favorite activities. It has all been for the greater good of course as we’ve all struggled to contain the spread of the virus and not only protect our own health, but that of those of us around us too.

But now, things are starting to slowly but surely return to some sort of post-Covid-19 normalcy. What that will look like remains to be seen, but retail outlets, restaurants, theaters, and parks have all charted a course for reopening. That is spurring more people to start getting back to their regular routines, which includes hitting the trail. This has already created some conflicts, with some folks aggressively challenging others for not continuing to maintain a safe distance from one another, not wearing masks, or generally putting others at risk.

As we reemerge from our isolation, clearly there needs to be some guidelines established to help us interact with one another in safe and thoughtful manner. To assist with that, Men’s Journal has put together a very well done article on what our trail etiquette should be in the wake of COVID-19. So far, it is one of the best articles I’ve come across on that topic and probably should be required reading for hikers, trail runners, and others.

Much of the advice provided in the story is common sense stuff that we’ve already heard before. Things like erring on the side of caution when it comes to interacting with larger groups and choosing to stay closer to home rather than traveling across country for big outdoor adventure. But some of the other suggestions from the story are good things to keep in mind as well, such as avoid lingering around the parking lot at the trail head post hike or keeping your group size small. Better yet, look for less popular and more remote trails to hike, as chances are they won’t be as crowded. While on the trail, keep moving and don’t stop in once place for very long. It is a good idea to walk in single file as well. But above all else, avoid getting into confrontations with others and be kind to your fellow humans.

The article goes into more detail of how and why we should adhere to this etiquette while in the outdoors. Much of this advice was good prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus and its even more so now. Have a look at the full story here and consider implementing some of these guidelines as we all get back to doing the things we love.