Responsible Trail User Tips
Responsible trail use is something we all need to Glacial Hills Pathway is dedicated to offering all trail users a fun, safe, and natural recreation experience. We rely on more than just a world-class trail crew to create a unique place to enjoy the outdoors. It takes the commitment of all mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, and families to make this trail work each and every day. Take a second to learn more about being a responsible trail user.
We’ve written about trail etiquette before and we really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read up on the basics. With more trail users in the woods than ever before, it’s time to tack on a few more tips to the list.
Respect Trail Users
PRs Don’t Matter. People Do. If you use Strava or a similar app, don’t let chasing a segment distract or endanger other trail users. Even if you’re not chasing a PR on an app, remember that going fast raises the consequences of an accident exponentially. Go only as fast as you can stay in control and be aware that visibility changes with the terrain and with the season as summer foliage creep into the line of sight on some turns.
Glacial Hills is a completely two-way trail system. Every loop offers trail users two directions to explore. It’s not enough just to know that there may be oncoming traffic. Assume there is on-coming traffic and treat every corner as if there is a family, runner, or biker just around the turn.
There are no rules preventing trail users from using earbuds or listening to music on the trails. If you do choose to listen to music, please opt for headphones instead of Bluetooth speakers; not everyone wants to listen to your playlist. If listening to headphones, keep one ear free to hear other trail users and keep the volume low; you should be able to hear everything clearly. If you can’t hear people signaling from behind, it can lead to dangerous interactions on the trail.
Even if you’re not listening to music, it’s your responsibility to listen for other trail users coming up from behind. It’s wonderful to have a conversation with a friend, but always assume there is another walker, runner, or rider about to pass you. Listen for verbal cues, pay attention at all times, and know that, odds are, you aren’t the only person in the woods.
Alerting other trail users that you’re coming up from behind is the best way to avoid on-trail collisions. Using a bell is often a less jarring way to alert others from a distance, but as you draw closer, use verbal cues like “On your left!” to inform walkers, runners, or riders where you’ll be passing.
We hope you’ll consider supporting Glacial Hills by donating either annually or seasonally to help us offer the best trail system in northern Michigan. We also hope you’ll take these tips with you into the woods and contribute to the trail experience by being a responsible trail user every time you head out!