Trail Etiquette and Safety

Hiking, biking or horseback riding on Tahoe Donner’s trails is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors. With the increasing popularity of these outdoor activities, the amount of encounters with other trail enthusiasts is also increasing, so we all need to do our best to be respectful, patient and courteous with others. By following the guidelines below, we can all have a more safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Advice for All Trail Users

RESPECT: It’s a simple concept: if you offer respect, you are more likely to receive it. We’re all out there to have a good time. Friendly respect will diminish negative encounters on the trail for all users.

COMMUNICATION: Let folks know you’re there — before you’re there. Do your best to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming – a friendly greeting is a good method.

YIELD APPROPRIATELY:  Anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to hikers and equestrians. Step downhill and off trail to let them pass. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.

BE INFORMED: It’s YOUR responsibility to be “in the know.” Questions about where to ride, trail conditions, outdoor ethics and Tahoe Donner Association regulations are important to know before you head out on the trails. If you have further questions, please contact the trails manager at 530-582-9672 or trails@tahoedonner.com or Member Services at 530-587-9400 or info@tahoedonner.com.

Advice for Hikers and Bikers

When hikers or mountain bikers encounter horses on the trail, they should step off the trail on the downhill side, talk to the rider and the animal (this lets the stock know you are a person). Keep talking in a calm voice as the horse passes.

If you approach stock from behind it’s critical that you announce yourself loudly but calmly so you do not scare the animals. Let the rider know you’d like to pass at the next safe location. Do NOT ride up quickly on stock. It’s dangerous for you and the rider(s).

Advice for Horse Riders

Though most hikers and bikers will yield the right of way to stock, remember that some folks do not have experience with stock and may not do things your way. These encounters are great opportunities to inform and educate other users with a friendly approach.

As a horse rider, you have a responsibility to manage your animals on the trail; it is not advised to bring “green” stock to high-traffic or multi-use trails until they are familiar. Also, remember to keep an eye out for other users in front of you, behind you and joining you at trail junctions.

Help Protect Our Trails & Open Spaces:

Don’t Play in the Mud: When trails are muddy or otherwise saturated with water, please refrain from using them until they have had a chance to dry out. This will allow the trail tread to remain narrow and stable while reducing erosion.

Do Not Cut Switchbacks or Take Shortcuts: Enjoy where our trails take you; you won’t be disappointed. Cutting switchbacks and creating shortcuts damages plants and disturbs soil encouraging erosion.

Pick Up After Your Pet: Dog waste along our trails is not only unsightly but can also hurt water quality and spread disease. Please grab a few of the dog litter bags found at most Tahoe Donner trailheads before hitting the trails. Please dispose of used litter bags in trailhead garbage containers. Dogs need to be on a leash when on Tahoe Donner trails per Association policy.

Give Wildlife a Break: When encountering the abundance of wildlife throughout Tahoe Donner, please give them plenty of room to do their thing. Control pets; do not allow dogs to chase or otherwise harass wildlife.

Respect Our Neighbors: Please respect our neighbors by staying on Tahoe Donner property. Most property boundary lines are posted; please do not wander onto our neighbors’ land.

Cattle in Euer Valley: Through 2014, the Euer family cattle can be found in parts of their namesake Valley. Please respect our neighbor’s animals by giving them a wide berth.

Tips for Safety

  • Before you leave for the trail, make sure you know where you are going. It is also a good idea to tell a responsible person about your plans of where you will be and when you expect to return.
  • Check the weather forecast so that you know what to expect on your adventure.
  • Make sure you bring drinking water and stay hydrated.
  • Before you leave your vehicle, make sure all valuables are out of sight and make sure you lock your doors.

April 11, 2014

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