Trail Etiquette for Beginners

Be sure to follow these "Rules of the off-road" when you're out riding.

Be aware of the damage you and your vehicle can do to the environment.

Don't blaze a new trail. Instead, stay on the established path. Otherwise:

•If you venture off the road into the woods, you may get lost in an area where no one will be able to find you.
•Your heavy SUV will damage the ground and embankments by leaving ruts that will deepen and erode with each passing rain.
•You will be damaging the surrounding plant and animal life.
•You may do damage to your SUV.
•You will face a serious fine and/or a serious lecture from law officials.

Don't litter - not even a cigarette butt or a candy wrapper. If you pack it in, pack it out.

Don't spin your tires and tear up the soil - it breaks the surface crust and leads to erosion when it rains.

Should you need to pile stones up to get over an obstacle, then be sure to put the stones back where you found them afterwards.

Leave your ego at home. Every vehicle (and driver, for that matter) has its limitations. Backing off early and accepting that a maneuver is impossible or choosing another approach may prevent vehicle damage and, more important, personal injury. Never try a maneuver that you are uncomfortable with.

Don't disturb the wildlife; this includes plants and animals. We're treading on their turf.

Slow down. Enjoy the scenery. Live the experience to the fullest. You don't want to spend time repairing damage you wouldn't have caused had you driven a little slower.

Just as on the street, you should stay right to avoid oncoming traffic, if you can. If common sense tells you it's safer to move left instead of right, then do so. If there is only room for one vehicle to pass, the rule is the more maneuverable vehicle, or the more experienced driver, should yield the right-of-way.

When two vehicles meet on a grade and there isn't a safe place to pull over, the vehicle traveling uphill has the right of way. It is safer for the vehicle traveling downhill to back up, and it will be much ea