Trail Etiquette & Safety in Park City

With 400+ miles of non-motorized trails, Park City is a mecca for mountain bikers, hikers, runners,. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, you can help protect our natural resources by understanding these etiquette and safety recommendations before you head out and when you’re on the trail. By working together as good stewards, we can help preserve our land, reduce demand on local emergency services and ensure we all have great experiences on the trail for years to come.

Trail Etiquette

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One of the best things about getting outside is the amazing people you can meet on the trail. Remember to be friendly to those you pass on the trail and above all else, be kind. Here’s more to create a sense of community and well-being with others on the trail.

Respect the Right of Way

Most trails in Park City are multi-use. This means the trail is open to equestrians, mountain bikers, and hikers.

Most trailheads will have the yield triangle signposted highlighting which user has the right of way. Here’s a right of way primer.

Trail Courtesy Sign. Bikers yield to hikers and horses.Remember:

  • Both hikers and mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to horses.
  • Mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to hikers.
  • Downhill hikers and mountain bikers ALWAYS yield to uphill hikers.

The only time the above 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.

Share the Love More Broadly

Using social media responsibly also applies to the trail. Consider that when you tag a location on social media, you’re actually driving more visitors towards a specific environmentally sensitive site. Consider making your tags in more generic natural areas. Remember, there’s so much of the trail to love!

Stay on Trail

Prevent erosion by staying on the trail. If the ground is wet and you are leaving deep footprints in the trail, choose a dryer path on the trail. Or, simply turn around and save the trail for everyone to enjoy another day.

Pack it in. Pack it out

That means everything. Even biodegradable materials such as orange peels and food scraps can take years to break down.

Leave Nature as You Found It

It’s human nature. You see a field of blossoms and what’s the first thing you want to do? Pick them. Don’t. Resist the urge and let your fellow hikers enjoy their beauty as well. And please, never, ever carve into trees or deface rocks.

Be Responsible for Dogs

Most Park City trails require that dogs be on a leash, but there are a few areas specifically designated for off-leash adventures. These specific areas, like Round Valley and Run-A-Muck, will be indicated with signage at the trailhead. Remember, dog owners are ALWAYS responsible for picking up and packing out their dogs’ poop. Most trailheads will have poop-bag stations, but always bring your own bags just in case.

Respect Wildlife

We all share the trail with our local wildlife. Remember that moose, deer, elk, and snakes all may appear on the trail. Always observe wildlife from a distance. Review our wildlife and plant encounter guidelines to keep yourself and our wildlife safe.

Trail Safety

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Before You Head Out

There’s a lot of factors to consider before you head out on the trail. Park City is uniquely beautiful but like any place in the wilderness, it’s important to understand the terrain. Here’s some things to remember before your next adventure.

Elevation is Everything

It’s important to consider if a trail is within your abilities. Remember, Park City’s elevation ranges from 7,000 ft (Main Street) to 10,000 foot (Jupiter Peak) above sea level. If you’re visiting from a lower elevation, you’ll notice your body works harder, your respiration rate increases, and your body loses water faster at higher elevations. Take it easy the first few times out.

Watch the Weather

Check the weather before each excursion but also remember that mountain conditions change very quickly. Always bring an extra layer of clothing in your backpack.

Changing Trail Conditions

Changing weather can dramatically impact the trail. Always check trail conditions before you leave. Mountain Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation offer daily updates on trail conditions in their areas.

No Cell Service

Cell service may be intermittent throughout your hike, so don’t rely on connectivity for critical trail information. Download a map of the area prior to departing, and be sure you know and understand trail landmarks.

Hydrate and Refuel

Carry a minimum of 1 liter of water per person for a 2-hour hike. Remember, your body works harder at higher elevations, so be sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks in your backpacks so you can truly enjoy the trail energized and happy.


Keep it simple and reduce the demand on parking lots by taking the bus or shuttle directly to your favorite trailhead.