Hiking Tips: Leave No Trace

imagesAs a hiker/ backpacker one important principle I follow is the Leave No Trace. If you’re hiker/ backpacker or you’re looking into starting be sure to know the Leave No Trace Principles.

For more information on LNT check out lnt.org

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4 – 6.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate use of rock cairns, flagging or marking paint.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet away from lakes, streams
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.

In popular areas

  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
  • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.

In pristine areas

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past, observe but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times, mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous, yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

4 thoughts on “Hiking Tips: Leave No Trace

  • May 7, 2013 at 3:43 AM
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    It makes me so sad to see people leave so much trash in our beautiful forests and parks! We are always picking up other people’s trash! Great post! Every one know this!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2013 at 12:04 PM
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      Just yesterday while on a short hike through some state game lands I saw beer cans and snack wrappers. I carry a trash bag and gloves with me on my short hikes (less then 3 miles) so if I find something I pick it up and take it out.

      Reply
    • May 9, 2013 at 4:36 PM
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      I stayed at this gorgeous flat spot about five miles from the nearest (dirt) road, and wound up packing out plastic forks and spoons someone else had left behind. 🙁

      Reply
      • May 9, 2013 at 4:54 PM
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        Sadly I have found that inexperienced hikers are the ones who can be careless with the Leave No Trace.

        Reply

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