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  1. #1
    Registered User dan8794's Avatar
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    Default Hiking etiquette?

    Hi! I'm new to hiking, as well as whiteblaze.net.

    I actually just went on my first every hiking adventure. I did 30.7 miles of the AT from Neel's Gap down to Springer as well as the Approach Trail. Needless to say, this is by far the best hobby that I have ever picked up and feel that the money for equipment was well spent and worth it.

    One thing I was wondering while hiking the trail concerns right of way.

    When hiking, I noticed that a lot of people heading north (we were going south...obviously) would step to the edge of the trail and allow us to pass. I noticed this was usually when we were heading uphill.

    What is the common rule about this? Do I allow uphillers to pass or what? I really enjoy hiking and plan on doing much more of it in the future, but want everyone to enjoy their hike, so I want to follow all rules...clearly stated and understood.

    A little advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    As far as I can tell, there's no consensus on hiking rights of way in the east. In California, I was instructed that the uphill hiker has the right of way. More than one person told me this. It seems quite backwards--the uphill hiker being the one who would more than likely appreciate stopping for a moment.

    If a hiker is sharing a trail with equestrians, the horses have the right of way.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  3. #3
    CherryPieScout CherrypieScout's Avatar
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    If I'm plugging uphill, stopping to let a "downhiller" pass is a legitimate excuse for a break. Guess that is opposite of your experience.
    Hikers can be nice people.

  4. #4
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Yeah, it just depends. But I have noticed kind gentlemen on many occasions stepping out of the way to let a lady hiker pass.







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  5. #5

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    Yeah, thereís not consensus on this one, Iíve also heard the one about down-hillers yielding the right-of-way to up-hillers. The idea as I understand it is that the up-hiller has a momentum and itís also harder to start and stop (unless you absolutely need a stop) as an up-hiller. I think in most cases no one really needs to stop, just move a little to the right as you pass Ė damn trail is too narrow anyway.

  6. #6
    Registered User dan8794's Avatar
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    Wow! Thank you so much for the quick replies!

    The advice is helpful.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    All this right of way junk requires too much thinking. If you have room to get over then get over. A few times both people find a place to get over, both get over, and both wave the other on. Eventually someone will pass the other and you both go on your way. Reminds me of the Dr Seuss story though about the two characters who refused to go around eachother and the world went on around them as they just stood there.

  8. #8
    Registered User bigmac_in's Avatar
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    It depends who has room to step aside. Usually the downhiller has a better view of the trail ahead.
    It's a great day to be alive !

  9. #9
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    Yeah what Nest said, Although if the trail is only wide enough for one person I was taught that the up-hiller has the right of way.
    If you are using the rest/step method on an up hill hike you need to maintain your momentum, unless you need the break anyway.
    So like Nest said sometimes the decision making is best left as a fluid decision on a case by case basis keeping consideration for others paramount.
    It has been said that a journey begins with a single step. I say hogwash! It starts with a dream.

  10. #10
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    When I am walking uphill, I want to stop and rest, so I gladly stop and let the downhillers pass.
    Another idea is hike the BMT or other trails in GA, you don't have to worry about it cause there is nobody else on them.

  11. #11
    ECHO ed bell's Avatar
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    My general rule is to stop before I meet a hiker coming uphill as it is easy for me moving downhill to reach a good spot to let hikers pass one another. This is obviously a question about passing one another when there is little room for error. Very often it's not an issue to concern yourself with. I always felt downhill momentum should be slowed or halted when coming up on folks. Less chance of steamrolling them with a misstep, especially since there is often a steep slope to the left or right when two hikers meet in an uphill, downhill scenario.
    Last edited by ed bell; 10-13-2008 at 22:59.
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  12. #12
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    I always stop and pull over when I see an approaching hiker. I also try and put on my friendliest smile. 90% of the time, approaching hikers will stop and we exchange pleasantries and share information. The outside world is in such a rush and tends to be uncivil at times. The trail is a great place to break this mindset...slow down, enjoy the trail and your fellow man.

  13. #13

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    One thing that should be an absolute is that if you have someone overtaking you in the same direction, you should find the nearest possible spot to step aside and let them pass. Even if someone just slowly catches up and starts to maintain my pace, I usually step aside and give them the option.

  14. #14
    Section Hiker - 339.8 miles - I'm gettin' there! papa john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddytwosticks View Post
    I always stop and pull over when I see an approaching hiker. I also try and put on my friendliest smile. 90% of the time, approaching hikers will stop and we exchange pleasantries and share information. The outside world is in such a rush and tends to be uncivil at times. The trail is a great place to break this mindset...slow down, enjoy the trail and your fellow man.
    Well said!
    Papa John


  15. #15
    Aw come on! Who put THAT in my tent? Ziggy Trek's Avatar
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    "I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods." -- Georg Trakl

  16. #16

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    He with the most gas shall pass on an uphill

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    One thing that should be an absolute is that if you have someone overtaking you in the same direction, you should find the nearest possible spot to step aside and let them pass. Even if someone just slowly catches up and starts to maintain my pace, I usually step aside and give them the option.

    I think this is the only statement that really matters as far as etiquette in this topic. All else is more or less a non-issue.

  18. #18
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    i always heard it was because its harder to get going uphill, that whole gravity thing working against you, so those going downhill should move aside if there is somewhere to do such (as was mentioned above), but also as a big fan of taking breaks (also mentioned above), someone walking downhill is a good enough reason for me to break, and also a chance to make another hiking friend, gather info, etc... (also mentioned above)
    i kinda sound like a broken record
    Gaiter
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  19. #19
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    oh yeah, welcome to whiteblaze!!!!!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuctTape View Post
    I think this is the only statement that really matters as far as etiquette in this topic. All else is more or less a non-issue.
    exactly. i never stop for anyone coming at me uphill or downhill

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