How to Hike Smart and Recreate Responsibly During the Days of Covid-19

Photo credit: @mtb_luis

Are you being a responsible hiker during your 52 Hike Challenge? And what does it mean to recreate responsibly while on-trail?

If you’re taking the 52 Hike Challenge, then you might already know how much we care about being kind, inclusive, and compassionate - on and off the trail.

What Does It Mean To Recreate Responsibly?

#RecreateResponsibly is an organization committed to keeping you accountable, safe, and smart while you're outdoors. 

Recreating responsibly comes in many forms:

  • Hiking safely and being prepared
  • Practicing sustainability and Leave No Trace (LNT)
  • Taking extra precautions during the days of Covid-19

And much much more.

Especially now, while we’re experiencing a pandemic, it’s important to protect yourself and your family and be mindful of others while you’re out hiking. 

In this blog, you’ll find tips on how to #RecreateResponsibly, like:

  • Showing compassion towards others on the trail
  • Respecting our natural spaces and keeping nature wild
  • Staying safe and being responsible during the days of Covid-19
  • Planning ahead and preparing for the worst while out in the wilderness

First let’s talk about how you can be kind, compassionate, and respectful towards others while you’re out hiking.

Respect Others During Your Hikes

Photo credit: our friends at @outdoorjournaltour

Before we dive into how you can keep yourself safe, let’s take a moment to talk about how you can be compassionate towards others while you’re on-trail.

Be Mindful

  • During Covid... Wear a face cover (like a buff) while you’re out hiking. Follow your local guidelines, have it around your neck and ready to pull up in case you pass someone on the trail. Also be sure to practice social distancing, staying 6 feet away and making space for other hikers to pass you. 
  • General Trail Etiquette…  Do you know who has the right of way on a hiking trail? If you’re on a multi-use trail, keep in mind that mountain bikers and horseback riders are sharing the same path. Typically, mountain bikes will yield to you, but if they’re going fast, allow them to pass. Always give horses the right of way. And if you’re traveling downhill, remember to yield to the ascending hiker. 

Be Kind

Why not go out of your way to make someone smile?

You’d be surprised how much a simple hello, a smile behind your mask, or saying “have a nice hike!” can make someone’s day, especially now when interaction with others is so limited. 

Remember that kindness also means packing out whatever you pack in. Please keep the trails beautiful for all of us to enjoy time and time again!

Be Inclusive 

Don’t forget: the outdoors is for everyone, so please be kind and respectful to everyone. Educate yourself about inclusivity in outdoor recreation areas and how you can do your part to diversify outdoors. 

Read about how you can connect with BIPOC-led outdoor organizations and BIPOC hikers

Keep Nature Wild

Photo credit: 52 Hike Challenge content creator @freerangemandi


“Nature is healing, and it belongs to all of us. But to continue to enjoy it, we need to share it responsibly.” - Karla Amador, founder of 52 Hike Challenge

Quarantine was an opportunity for the trails to take a breather, but there’s still a lot of work for us to do. 

Please remember to:

  • Take only pictures, leave only footprints
  • Pick up after your dog and other adventure animals
  • Participate in trail cleanups and stewardship programs
  • Familiarize yourself with the 7 Leave No Trace Principles

Do you know the 7 Leave No Trace Principles? Click here to learn about them now.

Stay Safe While You’re Outside

Photo credit: 52 Hike Challenge content creator @freerangemandi

Staying home is the best way to stay safe from Covid-19, but we all need some nature therapy from time to time. 

Here’s how you can stay safe while you’re outside:

  • Trek on less populated trails
  • Avoid single track trails
  • Opt for wider trails like fire roads
  • Don’t hike during peak times (such as midday)
  • Have your face cover ready
  • Practice social distancing

Plan Ahead

While on the trail, it's always good to know what you'll be facing and what you might see while on the trail. 

Here are some good tips on how to plan your hike outdoors:

  • Check parks pages for closures/crowds
  • Be prepared and always pack the 10 Essentials
  • Check for humidity level and UV level in the area you're going to hike in

Have a Safe & Happy Hike!

Photo credit: 52 Hike Challenge co-founder @lovekarlaamador


Thank you for taking the time to learn how to recreate responsibly while you’re out hiking!

Are you ready to commit to hiking once a week for a year?

Click here to learn more about the 52 Hike Challenge and sign up now!

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