Staying safe out on the trails is key to having a great time, whether you are hiking, biking or running. We’ve compiled a list of safety tips for any trail user to follow, so WATCH OUT and keep these tips in mind.
1. WATCH OUT – the trails have obstacles!
Trails are chock full of roots, rocks, dips and turns that make it easier for you to trip or get injured. Go slow until you know where the main culprits are, or even better, go with someone who is familiar with the trails. Stay alert – it’s easy to shuffle your feet when you are tired, but those roots won’t move for you.
2. WATCH OUT – there are other trail users besides you!
Yikes! There are Bikes! If you are a hiker or runner - yes, you will encounter bikes on most trails. You can usually hear them coming, but riders should also announce themselves when they see you or around blind turns. Trail etiquette will tell you that runners/hikers have the right-of-way, but it’s a courtesy to the bikers to allow them to pass.
Whoa! There are Runners and Walkers! Same thing here, bikers. Be mindful that there are others on the trails and check out trail etiquette guidelines. Help the runners and hikers know that you are on the move.
It is never advisable to wear earbuds on the trail so you can hear others approaching you! Plus, a big reason to be on the trail is to take in your surroundings.
3. WATCH OUT – know where you are!
Carry a trail map. It’s easy to get lost on intricate trail systems. Tell someone where you are going and let them know your planned route. If you end up injured or lost, someone knows where to look for you.
4. WATCH OUT – steer clear of wildlife!
This is helpful for you AND the wildlife. We all want to check out the local wildlife when we encounter them, but admire from a lengthy distance and NEVER harass them (including chasing them down for a photo). Be aware of the wildlife you might encounter in advance and be prepared with tips to avoid them.
5. WATCH OUT – carry plenty of water!
Make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially in the unfortunate event that you might get lost and spend more time on the trail than planned. Carrying some small food items or snacks is always advisable if you plan to be on the trails for awhile.
6. WATCH OUT – be aware of your surroundings!
We all hope to meet friendly and fun people like us on the trails, but not everyone has good intentions. It’s OK to be friendly, but be cautious of strangers on the trails. Don’t tell them your plans, and if you feel uncomfortable, say you are with a group that is coming up behind you. Have your cell phone in an easy-to-grab location. This is another reason to leave the earbuds at home!
Finally, listen to your body and rest or slow down when needed to avoid injury. We look forward to seeing you on the trails!
At HTXoutdoors, we organize multiple trail running, hiking and biking events for our members. Finding buddies for hitting the trails is easy with us! Fill out our quick survey and we’ll send you a private invitation to join an HTXoutdoors event.
Find out if trail running is for you. Read 6 Reasons to Start Trail Running.
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