Responsible trail use in Telluride, Colorado
We hope you love Telluride’s trails and outdoor areas as much as we do! As our trails experience increased use, it’s more important than ever that we respect the trail, nature, each other and use proper trail etiquette. Thanks for helping to make our backyard an awesome recreation area!
Share the Trails
For many years, the philosophy of trail right of way stemmed from the yield triangle, but as multi-use trail users, sometimes we need to adapt. We respect the need for mountain bikers to have the right of way on a technical ascent or descent, we appreciate when equestrians move off the trail for groups of hikers and we admire when mountain bikers scoot off the trail for runners or hikers and significantly slow down their speed around other user groups.
We believe in situational awareness on the trails. We promote friendly interactions – please and thank you! We support being kind, saying hello and using voice communication. We encourage you to spread the word of socially conscious trail etiquette and practice good use when on Telluride’s trails. Put the pressure on your friends, family and trail buddies to act in accordance so we can all get along. We’re all out there for the same reason so let’s respect each other and share the trails! Here are some tips to get you started.
As a mountain biker, it’s likely you have better sight lines than hikers and are almost certainly moving faster. It’s most appropriate and courteous to nicely call out to hikers as you approach them, slow down significantly (really slow down, especially if you need to get off your bike and yield to them) and communicate with who you encounter. Letting them know how many are behind you is helpful information. And, don’t forget a friendly “hello or thank you”.
As a mountain biker, you should never expect a hiker to yield to you. You likely see the hiker long before they know you are near them. Be courteous, communicate, slow way down and thank everyone who moves off the trail for you.
Why Share the Trails?
Telluride’s trail infrastructure is more popular than ever. There are more users on every trail, and we want to mitigate user conflicts before they happen and get out of hand. Sharing the trail is also an effort to keep everyone safe. It’s a simple concept really, share with multiple users, even when they are enjoying the trail in a different way than you.
Responsible Trail Protocols
First and foremost, try not to hike or bike when you know that trails are muddy. Use during muddy times causes trail rutting, widening and maintenance headaches. If you find yourself on a muddy section of trail, make a shift from thinking “I don’t want to get muddy”, to “I want to to preserve this trail”. When you come across a muddy or icy section of a trail, please hike, run or bike right through the middle of the muddy section. Sure, we all want to take the inviting (and dry) side trail, but doing that creates serious erosion that leads to more damage and problems. Please, please stay on the trail.
Don’t cut switchbacks! There is a reason they exist, please don’t make your own trail to save time. Disregarding switchbacks will cause trail erosion and negatively impact vegetation. Stay on the trail.
Respect the Environment
Be a good steward of your environment by staying on the trail, picking up after yourself and keeping singletrack single. Practice leave no trace principles when you are out recreating.
Be A Good Trail Steward
Share the trail! Be nice, say hi. Only utilize open, legal trails. Plan ahead. And, HAVE FUN!
Unauthorized Trail Work
Unauthorized trail work is never acceptable on public or private lands. Unless you are working directly with the land manager or have proper approvals, please leave the trails and their character as you find them. The problem with unauthorized work is that it often changes the trail experience, causes damage to natural resources, creates safety hazards and is against the law. Additionally, unauthorized trail work undermines trust between trail users, land managers and trail advocates which can lead to forced trail closures and strain on future proposed trail projects. Please obtain proper approvals before modifying trails or building your own.
Telluride Trail Etiquette
Share the Trail: Slow down, communicate and be courteous to other trail users. Yield to others!
Be Prepared: Plan ahead and be self-sufficient. Bring water, food, layers, start early and have a plan B.
Leave No Trace: Pack out what you pack in. Leave what you find. Properly dispose of waste.
Stay on the Trail: Keep singletrack single and respect the environment/landscape.
Be A Good Trail Steward: Only use open/legal trails. Encourage your friends and family to be good trail stewards.
Traditional Right of Way & Yield Info
We all love using our regional trails, whether you are a hiker, trail runner or mountain biker. Here is a quick reminder of who has the right of way when out on the trails. And remember, be courteous to your fellow hikers and bikers! Say hello, wave and slow down.
Hikers – Hikers
Hikers going downhill must yield to hikers going uphill (uphill hikers have the right of way).
Bikers – Hikers
Bikers must yield (give right of way) to hikers going in EITHER direction. With this said, sometimes bikers are moving faster than those hiking and it’s easier for the hiker to move out of the way. Bottom line, a biker should never expect a hiker to yield or get out of the way.
Bikers – Bikers
Bikers going downhill must yield to bikers going uphill (bikers going uphill have the right of way).
Equestrians – Hikers/Bikers
Both hikers and bikers must yield to horses (horses have the right of way).
Yielding 101: Stop and move to one side of the trail when yielding. Slow traffic should stay on the right side of the trail so others can pass safely on their left. When in doubt, give the right of way to the hiker headed uphill. Be Nice: If the approaching hiker/biker is struggling more than you, be courteous and let them have the right of way.