Trail Running Rules


Trails can offer a runner so much more than roads: fresh air, nature, peace and quiet, and adventure. But trails can be dangerous, too. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when trail running:

  • Only run on marked trails.
  • Pre-plan your run with trail maps or guides. And bring the maps and guides with you.
  • Wear noisemakers when running in areas with a lot of wildlife (i.e. bear bells or a whistle).
  • Carry pepper spray, mace or bear spray.
  • Carry water and food—even on short trail runs. Trail running is not equivalent to road running, and your body will be hungrier faster. It’s also a good idea to have food and water in case you get lost.
  • Plan to run slower on trails. Again, trail running is not equivalent to road running—trail running could even be double the amount of time it takes you to run a certain distance on the road. Run for time instead of distance.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Wear layers. As you move to higher elevations, weather can become cold quickly.
  • Always run with a companion, or at least, a dog.
  • Run early. Avoid running trails at night.
  • Do not run trails with head phones. You need to hear wildlife—or even hunters, depending on where you are.
  • Carry your cell phone and a compass. You never know when you might need to call for help. You also never know when you won’t have cell service. A compass can help you find your way back.


Are you a Road Runner?

  Check out some tips at Road Running Etiquette