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If you could change one thing when it comes to using trails, what would it be? And why?

Hello from Big Bear, CA,

Long time REI member, but first time poster here (just discovered this). Just thought I’d introduce myself with a question and learn a little bit. Hope everyone is well!


- Andrew

18 Replies

In my area, it would have to be making sure that everyone knows what "leave no trace" means. Vandalism and trash are the worst problems. Maybe stiff fines would help, but probably not. 

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Same issue in our neck of the woods.. Real shame finding beer bottles and cans in such beautiful areas. I'm not sure what the solution is but you're probably right in education or at least some sort of habit reversal training signage

That it be mandatory that everyone has to take a class on trail etiquette and LNT before ever setting foot out there.

Education is huge. I wonder what solutions there could be that are low-hanging fruit to implement?


Establishing/educating regarding which lanes Horses can use, and which lane to keep only for people, and perhaps another lane for Bikes.  Where I live outside of Boulder there is a beautiful and well used trail with 3 to 4 well worn 'lanes'....which depending on the wetness I guess, the horseriders sometimes pick the most level and even lane - the one that people (like me) like the best to walk and run on.  Hooves can tend to make deep grooves in the dirt found in this area, and over time, all of the lanes in different places have become worn much deeper and gotten 'clumpier.'  Rowerbazzle!!!!

I love camping!

Interesting, so more or less "localized" trail etiquette? Has your local association or wilderness tried anything to help with this?


Hi @sauerApple - Welcome to the community! This question is such a great way to dive in and get the discussions going! Thanks for bringing it to us. 

Leave No Trace was the first thing that came to my mind too, but since that has already been accounted for, I would say more wide-spread, clear understanding of right-of-ways.

Mountain bikers, hikers, and horses sharing trails can cause confusion and unsafe passages. Uphill and downhill skiers sharing narrow sections or chutes without being on the same page can be frustrating and dangerous. It even comes up with faster vs slower parties while climbing multi-pitches or big walls. Maybe this subject could go along with the education pieces that @SILHiker and @Former community member mentioned!


It's great to hear that you're from Big Bear. I have only been once, but really enjoyed my time out there. It's such a neat spot and so different than things that are within a close distance. What are your favorite activities to do over in that area? 

We're happy you're here! Thanks again for posting this. We look forward to seeing you in more conversations going forward!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hey @REI-CarterC , thanks!

Yeah, sounds like we're all on the same page of "trail education" regarding LNT and more or less how to navigate multi-use trails. Gets me thinking! 

Happy to hear you've made your way up here! Big Bear is great. As LA natives, we came up here a few years ago and fell into the "bear trap" as they call it and haven't left since. For activities, we're really enjoying all the hiking and trail running. And of course when it snows, snow trekking! Looking forward to skiing this year (fingers crossed we get some good snow).

If there was one thing I could change, when using trails, would be to silence my tinnitus medical condition. 

I long to hear the wind passing over the wings of a passing bird, in the silence of the wilderness. 

I long to hear the silence of a winter snowfall, when taking a break, during a cross country skiing trek in the forest.

I am thankful to still have the memories of those experiences. 

I am also thankful Corazon, my faithful and leashed German Shepherd, alerts me to any dangers, that may exceed my hearing capabilities, when hiking or backpacking.