Preserving the Environment While Hiking

Preserving the Environment While Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors and truly enjoy Mother Nature. While hiking (and walking, cycling, etc.) are great low-emission forms of exercise, it’s still possible to damage the environment while hiking. Here are some top tips you can keep in mind to ensure you preserve the trail on your next hike.

1. Pack it in, Pack it Out

It should go without saying that you should never leave any trash behind while hiking, even if it’s something that’s disposable like a banana peel or an apple core. If you leave compostable trash behind you run the risk of endangering wildlife if animals eat something that’s potentially poisonous. Additionally, would you want to see a moldy apple peel on the trail while you’re hiking?

2. Leave Wildlife Alone

Speaking of critters you may see on the trail, there’s a lot of fantastic wildlife in Northern California. It’s important to observe wildlife from a distance and not approach for the safety and welfare of the animal. Above all, never feed an animal you come across on the trail! Animals are safer and healthier the less accustomed they are to humans.

3. Stay on the Trail

You’ll want to stay on the trail for a few reasons. First, it’s much harder to preserve trails when you go off course. This means that you should even walk though mud of a puddle if it means staying on the trail. When you leave the trail, you’ll create smaller, side trails that degrade the original walking path. Going off the trail means you have a higher likelihood of damaging local plant life. Finally, it’s simply easier to get lost when you’re off the trail, and nobody wants to pay for a search and rescue mission!

4. Wash Your Boots

It’s often impossible to avoid getting muddy when you’re hiking. If you’re traveling from one region to another, it’s critical to wash your shoes before you hike in a new area. Seeds from local plant life are buried in mud and dirt, and if you don’t wash your shoes you’ll run the risk of transferring an invasive species from one hiking trail to another.

5. Mind the Dogs

Dogs are some of the most eager hiking partners you could ask for. Unfortunately, even the best-behaved dog could still damage a hiking trail. You should always keep a dog on a leash to ensure it doesn’t chase after wildlife or spook any other hikers who aren’t big dog fans. Don’t let a dog dig up any dirt as it could lead to erosion when it rains. Finally, be sure to pack out your dog’s waste with you! It doesn’t belong outdoors and could pollute water sources.

This article was created by, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only. Be sure to review your local mountain ordinances to ensure you hike safe and legally.