top of page

How to Hike!

Here are a bunch of tips to make it easier to share the trail with others. Please remember these and try to follow them and pass them on to new Scouts / hikers:

Hiking on Trails


  • Stay on the trail. Do not cut switchbacks or take shortcuts.

  • Walk through the mud or puddle in a trail and not around it, unless you can do so without going off-trail. Widening a trail by going around puddles, etc. is bad for trail sustainability. Avoid trampling vegetation.

  • Travel single file on most trails Let the slowest person set the pace. Start out with Size order (slowest hiker will eventually emerge- let them take the lead)

  • Agree to stop at every trail junction to prevent wrong turns or getting separated.

  • Leave space between you and person hiking in front of you approx. 4 to 5 ft. in between for safety (especially when hiking downhill-prevents falling like dominoes)

  • Stay to the right on wider paths.

  • Always Pass on the left.

  • When overtaking someone, let them know you are approaching and will be passing on their left. You may hear a biker call out, "On your Left!" as he comes up from behind. That means you should stay to your right.

  • Hikers going uphill are working hard and should be given the right of way over hikers coming downhill.  Sometimes uphill hikers will prefer to stop and let you pass coming down so they can get a short break. The uphill hiker should get to make the call.

  • When hiking in a group, yield to single or pair hikers. It's harder for a group to get off the trail so often times singles will stop and let you all pass, but it’s their call.

  • Whenever you stop for a view, a rest, hydration, or to yield, move off the trail so it is free for others. If you are selecting the spot for a rest, get off on a used area or a durable surface such as a rock, dirt, or snow. Don't just trample off the trail into a nice soft field of grass and flowers.

  • When hiking in a group hike single file or take no more than half of a wide trail. Make sure everyone in your group understands what actions to take when encountering hikers, bikers, and horses.

  • When meeting a horse:

    • Get off the trail on the downhill side. Horses will tend to bolt uphill when spooked. Also, you waiting on the uphill side looks more like a predator waiting to pounce.

    • Quietly greet the rider and ask if you are ok where you are.

    • Stand quietly while the horses pass.

  • Always watch your step to avoid injury.

  • Use Bridges to cross water, only wade through shallow, slow moving water.

  • Hike quietly. Speak in low voices and turn your cell phone down if not off. Enjoy the sounds of nature and let others do the same.

Hiking on Roadways

  • Always walk facing towards traffic in single file.

  • Walk as far to the left side of the roadway as possible.

  • Yield to bikers coming towards you. Use sidewalks when present.

  • If the roadway is narrow, step off the roadway when a vehicle approaches.

  • If hiking at dusk or dawn wear reflective material and light colored clothing

  • When you want to cross a road , have the group line up parallel alongside one another and have everyone cross at the same time.



  • A hiking stick originally part of Scout uniform can add rhythm and balance to your stride. Also used for pushing back branches and poking behind rocks, checking depth of streams, help to carry heavy loads, extend hikers reach, or used as a shelter pole.

  • Hiking stick or trekking poles that telescope can be reduced in size and strapped to pack.

  • When "going" in the outdoors, please do so 200 feet from the trail and any water sources. Follow Leave No Trace principles when doing so. 

  • Don't toss your trash — not even biodegradable items such as banana peels. It is not good for animals to eat non-native plants/foods and who wants to look at your banana peel while it ever-so-slowly decomposes? If you packed it in, pack it out.

  • Leave what you find. The only souvenirs a hiker should come home with are photographs and happy memories — and maybe an improved fitness level!

  • The minimum size for a BSA Group taking part in outdoor activities is 4. (if 1 Gets
    Hurt -1 Stays back with hurt - 2 go for help) Use the “Buddy” System.

Before Actual Start of Hiking

  • Leave your hike plan with someone back home and call them when you get off trail.

  • Do Stretches it’s also an opportunity check laces

  • Take Headcounts- count-off after all stops

  • Line up size order

  • Before stepping off Ask the Question “Anyone Not Ready?”

bottom of page