There's nothing better than a day spent on the trails. Whether hiking, biking, or riding a horse, Greater Lansing offers multiple trail systems throughout the region. The opportunities are endless.
No matter what method of travel you choose, it is important to practice proper trail etiquette in order to protect our trail systems and create an enjoyable experience for all.
Many of Greater Lansing's trails are multi-use. Shared trails accommodate a variety of user groups but can lead to some challenging encounters on narrow paths. Here are some key points to help sort out these situations.
Hikers going uphill have the right away. If descending the trail, step aside and wait for the hiker going up to pass.
Bikers yield to hikers. Bikers should come to a full stop until a hiker passes.
All traffic yields to horses. Practice safety when hiking or biking on a trail shared with horses. Slowly and calmly step off to the side and allow the horse to pass. When approaching from behind, calmly announce your presence and intentions to the rider. Sudden movements and loud noises can spook horses.
Photo at Sleepy Hollow State Park
Rainy days and early spring melt can cause dirt trails to become soft and muddy. On these days, it is best to stay off the trail entirely. Using trails when conditions are unfavorable can cause damage and require additional maintenance.
If you do approach a muddy spot on an otherwise solid trail, go directly through the mud rather than stepping off the trail to go around.
Photo at Woldumar Nature Center
When approaching someone from behind, calmly announce your presence and your intention to pass.
When someone coming up behind you announces their intention, it is good practice to somehow signal them that you have heard. A thumb's up or stepping side are some options.
Say hello to fellow trail users you encounter. This not only helps create a friendly atmosphere but can also be used as a safety measure.
Photo at Lansing River Trail
Wildlife needs its space. Keep your distance when encountering any type of wildlife on the trail. Sometimes this may require patience to wait for an animal to move back into the woods.
Never leave the trail to get a closer look at the animal. This can damage the habitat and put you and the animal in danger.
Photo at Fenner Nature Center
When exploring the trails of Greater Lansing, let nature do the talking.
Keep the noise from electronic devices quiet by using open headphones or avoiding using them altogether. Be respectful of both wildlife and other trail users. Help create a better experience for everyone.
Photo at William M. Burchfield Park/Riverbend Nature Area
Trails are built in specific locations that are best suited for the ecosystem that surrounds them. By going off trail, there is a risk of damaging or killing those ecosystems.
Always practice the Leave No Trace Principles - leave rocks, plants, and artifacts where you find them for others to enjoy.
Photo at Fenner Nature Center