Trail Etiquette

Practicing trail etiquette and common courtesy it so important for

EVERYONE who enjoys the trails!

It matters on EVERY TRAIL - EVERY DAY!

We encourage YOU to be part of making our trails welcoming and inclusive for everyone!

Be Nice, Say Hi

  • When encountering other trail users slow down (stop completely for equestrians), smile, say hi, and then carry on with your ride 
  • Create a good first impression! Even if you are a caring and friendly individual, other trail users may be intimidated when they see you coming with your bike and gear  
  • Put a bell on it! A bell on your bike lets other trail users know you are near. Buy a bell (we love Timber Bells) or borrow one at one of our Trail Bell Program locations
  • Slow down in place when other trail users are anticipated such as entering or exiting staging areas, popular points of interest or busy trail junctions.
  • Come across another trail user who needs help? Check-in and offer help 
  • If you meet an equestrian on a trail, stop and talk to them. Follow their direction on how to handle the encounter. Always best to move to the downhill side of the trail in a passing situation
  • No matter your mode of transport, if you offer respect, you are more likely to receive it. All trail users have responsibilities to each other and to our trails
  • THIS VIDEO was fun to make with our friends at SportRx. Check it out for great trail courtesy tips!

Leave No Trace

  • Stay on designated trails and keep the singletrack single
  • Do NOT cut trails; build new trails or CHANGE trails to suit your desires. You are not the only user, and those turns, rocks, and roots are there for a reason! Connect with SDMBA if you are interested in volunteering for trail work. 
  • Ride trails that are open to mountain biking. Riding unsanctioned trails impacts our sport and may cause doors to close for future mountain biking trail expansion.
  • Generally, ride through standing water, not around it.  Unless it is a vernal pool like on Del Mar Mesa, then go carefully around the pool. 
  • Ride (or walk) technical features, not around them. Progress your own skills and please don't dumb down any trail feature  
  • Avoid riding on muddy trails because it can cause rutting, widening, and maintenance headaches. Waiting 48 hours after the last rainfall is a good rule of thumb although many areas take longer
  • Local Wet Trail Ratings HERE 
  • When it comes to wildlife, live and let live. It is best to enjoy the creatures you run across by just observing and not picking them up or disturbing them in any way 
  • Pack out your trash! We shouldn't have to say this, but here it is anyway
  • Check out our LEAVE NO TRACE video presented with our friends at SportRx

Share and Be Aware

  • Most trails in San Diego County are multi-use, meaning they are open to cyclists, hikers and equestrians so sharing is a must
  • Always expect other trail users, especially around blind corners
  • When taking a break, always carefully move to the side of the trail so you don't block other traffic. Watch THIS VIDEO with our friends at SportRx
  • Don't tune out. If you wear earphones, keep the volume down or only wear one earpiece so other trail users don't surprise you
  • Always know leash laws of the area if you do take your dog out on the trails. Ensure your canine companion is obedient enough to not cause problems for you, other trail users or wildlife
  • Check out this video with more Share and Be Aware tips from the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department

Be Prepared

  • Know your skill and fitness level and choose your trails accordingly.  
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Maintain your bike
  • Take a map or use an app (like TrailForks) of the area and know the rules and regulations for the particular area
  • Check the weather and prepare for heat or cold appropriately
  • Bring enough water, snacks, tools and anything else you need for a safe and comfortable ride
  • Be self-sufficient so your ride is satisfying to you and not a burden to others. 
  • Consider a basic first aid/CPR course 
  • Check out our series "How to Survive Mountain Biking" HERE for more trail preparedness tips 
  • Watch this BE PREPARED video with our friends at SportRx

Art by Angel Ivan Lopez Canto of Outdoor Traditions Tattoo

SDMBA is proud to partner with these organizations which are all working to spread trail courtesy on all trails