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Etiquette for Trail Users
By Maria Nickles and Eleanor Weck

Many of the trails in Great Falls are on private property. When a trail user is disrespectful to the property owner, or fails to stay on the trail, that trail may be forever closed. Help us keep our trails open by observing the guidelines below.

For All:

  1. Stay on the trail.
  2. Tread gently when the trail is muddy so as not to damage the trail.
  3. On park trails, report downed trees or washed out bridges to a park ranger.
  4. Share the trail – cyclists yield to all other trail users, hikers yield to equestrians.


  1. Make sure your horse has the temperament and training for riding on trails. Multi-use trails are not the place for schooling green horses.
  2. Move to the right to allow faster users to pass. Announce your intention to pass other trail users, and reduce speed in order to pass safely. Pass on the left.
  3. Remove your horse from the trail if you experience behavior problems.
  4. Other trail users may not be familiar with horses or their reactions to new experiences. What you do is a reflection of the local horse community.


  1. Approach and pass other trail users with care – yield to all other trail users. When approaching from behind announce yourself so you do not startle other trail users. Reduce speed in order to pass safely. Pass horses far to the left to avoid unintentional contact.
  2. Stay on approved bicycle trails.
  3. Approach blind curves with caution – assume someone is coming in the other direction.
  4. Should your approach cause a horse to spook or become frightened, be considerate and stop. Wait for the rider to tell you it is ok to pass.
  5. Be a positive reflection of the local cycling community.


  1. Stay to the right of the trail – pass on the left.
  2. Always yield to equestrians.
  3. If you are with a child when you come upon a horse, hold the child's hand, and stay to the front (but not directly in front) of the horse. Do not approach a horse from behind.
  4. When hiking/jogging with a dog, obey posted leash regulations. Other trail users may be frightened by your dog, and be unsure how to pass safely.


photo of Potomac Heritage Trail between Great Falls and River Bend