Trail Etiquette

Spending time outdoors is one of the joys that come with the changing season. For many people, hiking or biking the Town’s trails is at the top of the summer list. Before heading out the door, the Town wants trail users to keep a few things in mind to help keep everyone on the trails safe.

  1. Be courteous and communicate – the Town’s trails are mixedTrailCourtesySign_RockArt use, meaning they are open to hikers, bikers, runners and walkers. Warn people when you are coming up behind them. Kindly request that slower traffic hang to the side while faster traffic passes.
  2. Yield – it’s harder to go uphill than down. Generally, downhill traffic should yield to uphill traffic.
  3. Stay on the trail – don’t trample the natural  habitat along the soft-surface trails by  straying from the path.
  4. Be aware of blind corners – slow down through the twists and turns, and please watch out for other users.
  5. Keep pets on a leash – interactions with wildlife like snakes and coyotes don’t usually end well for pets. Save yourself a vet bill and make sure our four-legged  friends stay safe.
  6. Don’t tune out – if using ear buds, make sure the volume is low enough to hear your surroundings or use the one in/one out methodology.
  7. Dirt, yes. Mud, no – stay off wet or muddy trails. Leaving tire or shoe prints on muddy trails damages the surface and could require costly repairs. Use one of the Town’s many  paved trails instead.

Following these basic rules can help ensure all trail users can enjoy the natural beauty around Castle Rock. Check out the Town’s Facebook page before making any weekend plans. Follow our Trail Thursday posts for important trail updates.

  1. Tips for hiking with your dog
  2. Tips for hiking in summer

We love being outdoors, but during the warm weather months, particularly at the height of summer, adapting your hiking routine is essential to ensuring a safe and enjoyable time. Hot weather hiking with dogs, in particular, requires a few extra steps. Here’s how to prepare for hiking to prevent heat stroke  in your furry companion and any other heat-related injuries.

♨️ Watch out for hot surfaces:  Remember they aren't wearing shoes, however, dog hiking boots can be helpful when walking on rocky paths and hot surfaces

πŸ• Match the difficulty of the trail with the age and health of your pet: You don’t want to overestimate their stamina and be stuck carrying them back to the car halfway through. Believe me, that’s no fun at all, and it’ll be a long trek back.

🌀️ Check on the day’s projected weather conditions, so you can tailor your hike with your pet accordingly: This way, if it’s stormy, you’ll know to dress appropriately, and if there’s a heat wave, you’ll be prepared to pack extra water, or even move your plans to a cooler day. If you’re brave enough to hike with your dog during hot weather, avoid hiking during the hottest times of the day. In general, it’s smart to set out early in the morning for your hike or wait until the sun is setting in the evening.

🚰 Pack lots of water: Always pack enough water for yourself and your dog. My rule is to pack what I think we’ll need, plus some extra just in case of emergency. You never know if you’ll need it.  Even wetting down your pet's fur will assist in keeping them cool.

Along with water specifically for your pet, bring a collapsible travel bowl or a special water bottle with a built-in bowl. Take frequent water breaks, especially on strenuous ones during hot weather conditions.

🐍 Bring the right leash: Evaluate what type of leash will work best for your dog and your planned hike. Opt for a sturdy leash over a longer lead when on the trail. A hands-free leash fastened around the waist gives the dogs some freedom to move around, but they can be easily reigned in when needed.  For rough, rocky, and steep terrain, we recommend a short leash for more control and to keep your dog close. In Colorado, we’re always on the lookout for snakes,  and larger creatures, like mountain lions, out on the trail. We are in their territory after all, so it pays to keep your dog close.

⚠️ Bring along emergency supplies: When you carry a pet emergency kit with the essentials, like alcohol wipes, tweezers, and bandages, you know that you can address any minor injuries that may come up on the trail. Please note that cacti are prevalent on our trails.

πŸ’© Clean up after yourself and your pal: Don’t forget to bring along enough poop bags to clean up after your pet. You may be out in nature, but as long as you are making use of public land that others have access to it’s good to follow the honor code of leaving a place nicer than you found it. If stopping for a snack during a longer hike, make sure to collect the trash and drop it in the trashcan in the parking lot before heading home.

πŸ– Bring treats and snacks: Most dogs love getting a special reward, and that doesn’t change when hiking, so don’t forget to pack a few treats to reward her for being a great hiking partner during one of your breaks. And for longer hikes, bring a snack or even a bowl of food for your pal to keep their energy up, especially when you’re both exerting yourselves on a hot weather hike.

Source:  Edited from article by Melanie Lewis as published on