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Trail Ethics

Discover the rewards of responsible outdoor recreation!

Do all you can to help preserve the beauty and inspiring attributes of our lands and waters for yourself and future generations.

Travel and recreate with minimum impact

Shoe print in the dirt
  • Stay on legally designated trails.
  • Don't create new routes or expand existing trails.
  • Travel only in areas that are open to your type of recreation.
  • Cross streams only on bridges or at fords where trails intersect streams.
  • Avoid marshy areas and wet meadows.
  • Don't cut switchbacks.
  • Respect the environment and the rights of others.

Respect and be considerate of other users so that all can enjoy a quality experience in Montana's great outdoors

Man hiking
  • Hikers should yield to horseback riders.
  • Bicycle riders should yield to horseback riders and hikers.
  • ATV and off-highway motorcycle riders should yield to hikers, bicyclers and horseback riders.
  • Give horseback riders the right-of-way. If possible, step off the trail on the downhill side and talk calmly to the rider.
  • Snowmobilers should yield to cross-country skiers and dog mushers.

Respect wildlife. Be sensitive to their life-sustaining needs by keeping your distance.

Cute bear cub
  • Comply with signs.
  • Always obtain permission to cross private land. Leave gates as you found them unless posted otherwise.

Educate yourself, plan and prepare before you go

Notebook and pen for planning
  • Know local laws and regulations.
  • Obtain a trail map and know trails and areas that are open for your type of recreation. Know the other types of trail recreationists you might encounter on the trail.
  • Have equipment to make your trip safe, and know how to use it.
  • Carry water and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Allow for future use of the outdoors - Leave it better than you found it!
  • Pack out what you packed in.
  • Properly dispose of waste.
  • Minimize the use of fire.