Trail Etiquette and Safety

Park City is truly a mecca for the outdoor enthusiast, boasting year-round adventures. During the winter skiing is king and when the snow melts it’s our trails that become top tier. Understanding the rules of road or trail, in this case, is the first step before stepping out on the trail. With 450 miles of non-motorized trails, there is no shortage here of routes to explore. Most of our trails are multi-use, which means they are open to equestrian, (horseback riders) mountain bikers, and hikers.

Know who has the right of way - Most trailheads will have the yield triangle signposted highlighting which user has the right of way, but let’s break it down.

  • Both hikers and mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to horses.
  • Mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to hikers.
  • Downhill hikers ALWAYS yield to uphill hikers.
  • Downhill hikers and mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to uphill hikers. The only time this does not apply is when using directional mountain bike trails and in this case, the trails will have signage stating that it is an uphill or downhill only mountain.

Dogs - Park City is a dog-friendly community, we even have our own Dog Parade on Main Street, where locals struct their furry friends fully adorned in crazy costumes. Most Park City trails require that dogs be on a leash, but there are a few areas (Round Valley and Run-A-Muck) specifically designated for off-leash adventures. These specific areas will be signed as such at the trailhead. Dog owners are always responsible for picking up and packing out their dogs’ poop. Most trailheads will have poop-bag stations, but it is always a great idea to bring your own bags.

Elevation – Park City’s elevation ranges from 7,000 (Main Street) to 10,000 (Jupiter Peak) feet above sea level. At higher elevations, your body works harder, your respiration rate increases, and your body loses water faster. This means you should be drinking an additional 1-1.5 liters of water per day and also increase your carbohydrate consumption; both of these will help you avoid altitude sickness. Another factor to be mindful of is knowing the elevation change for each hike. Many of our trails start off with a fairly consistent climb which may be more challenging for those visitors who live at lower elevations.

Respect wildlife – Our local wildlife includes both the large and small variety. We have moose, deer, elk as well as squirrels, marmots, chipmunks, and rabbits. It is best to observe wildlife from a distance. If you are lucky enough to be in the presence of a moose be sure to stay back and if they happen to be standing in or close to the trail turn around and respect their space. Read Wildlife and Plant Encounters Article.

Stay on the designated trail and avoid muddy trails. If the mud is sticking to your shoes and you are leaving deep footprints in the trail, please turn around. Mountain Trails Foundation is our local non-profit trail organization and a great resource for up-to-date trail conditions.

Hydration + Food Plan to carry a minimum of 1 liter of water per person for a 2-hour. As mentioned above, your body works harder at higher elevations so be sure to pack healthy snacks in your backpacks.

Check the weather before each excursion and be aware that weather in the mountains can change quickly, it’s usually a great idea to have an extra layer of clothing in your backpack.

Cell service may be intermittent throughout your hike so plan accordingly. Download a map and be sure you know all the trail specifics.