Basic Trail Etiquette for Mountain Biking

Updated: Sep 22, 2020


girls ladies women womxn having fun on mountain biking trail
photo credit: Samantha Bissell


As with anything in life, there is inevitably a learning curve. Trail etiquette is no different. In order to keep things simple for everyone reading this, I made a short list of non-negotiables for riding on mountain bike trails.


Goals: to minimize wear and tear on trails, be a positive ambassador for mountain biking, and prolong mountain bike trail use privileges.


1- Mountain bikers must yield to all other trail users.


We are the “lowest on the totem pole” when it comes to trail usage. We have to yield to others. What this means is that when you approach another trail user, either stop and let them pass, or slow down, and communicate if you need to pass them. Be as friendly as possible. Ask them if it is “OK” to pass them on their left when they feel able to move to the side.

2- If another trail user decides to yield to you before you yield to them, be sure to thank them in a sincere manner.


Just say “thank-you”, in a sincere and friendly way, when you pass another trail user.


3- Stay on the trail at all times.

If taking a quick break or letting someone pass, you may move to the side of the trail briefly. Try to get right back on the trail at that exact spot. In narrow trail situations where it’s necessary, you may “lean” your bike to the side and place one foot on the side of the trail. On trails that are very narrow, it’s definitely a skill!


4- Uphill bike riders have the right of way.