Trail Etiquette


Take The Trail Courtesy Pledge


An important part of SDMBA’s mission is to encourage all trail users to use common courtesy when enjoying our trails. We encourage you to be part of making our trails welcoming and inclusive for everyone!

We invite you to take the Trail Courtesy Pledge and we will send you a custom sticker sheet designed by Angel Ivan Lopez Canto of Outdoor Traditions Tattoo.

Be Nice, Say Hi


  • When encountering other trail users slow down (stop completely for equestrians), smile, say hi, and then carry on with your ride 
  • Even if you are a caring and friendly individual, other trail users may be intimidated when they see you coming with your bike and gear  
  • Put a bell on it! A bell on your bike lets other trail users know you are near. Buy a bell (we love Timber Bells) or borrow one at one of our Trail Bell Program locations
  • Come across another trail user who needs help? Check-in and offer help if asked 
  • If you meet an equestrian on a trail, stop and talk to them. Follow their direction on how to handle the encounter. Always best to move to the downhill side of the trail in a passing situation
  • If you offer respect, you are more likely to receive it. All trail users have responsibilities to each other and to our trails



Leave No Trace


  • Stay on designated trails and keep the singletrack single
  • Ride through standing water, not around it.  Unless it is a vernal pool like on Del Mar Mesa then go carefully around the pool  
  • Ride (or walk) technical features, not around them. Progress your own skills and please don't dumb down any trail feature  
  • Avoid riding on muddy trails because it can cause rutting, widening, and maintenance headaches. Waiting 48 hours after the last rainfall is a good rule of thumb
  • Local Wet Trail Ratings HERE 
  • When it comes to wildlife, live and let live. It is best to enjoy the creatures you run across by just observing and not picking them up or disturbing them in any way 
  • Pack out your trash! We shouldn't have to say this, but here it is anyway



Share and Be Aware


  • Most trails in San Diego County are multi-use, meaning they are open to cyclists, hikers and equestrians so sharing is a must
  • Always expect other trail users, especially around blind corners
  • When taking a break, always carefully move to the side of the trail so you don't block other traffic
  • Don't tune out. If you wear earphones, keep the volume down or only wear one earpiece so other trail users don't surprise you
  • Always know leash laws if you do take your dog out on the trail. Ensure your canine companion is obedient enough to not cause problems for you, other trail users or wildlife
  • Check out this video with more Share and Be Aware tips from the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department



Be Prepared


  • Know your skill and fitness level and choose your trails accordingly.  
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Maintain your bike
  • Take a map or use an app (like TrailForks) of the area and know the rules and regulations for the particular area
  • Check the weather and prepare for heat or cold appropriately
  • Bring enough water, snacks, tools and anything else you need for a safe and comfortable ride
  • Be self-sufficient so your ride is satisfying to you and not a burden to others. 
  • Consider a basic first aid/CPR course 
  • Check out our series "How to Survive Mountain Biking" HERE for more trail preparedness tips. 


Be a Trail Steward


  • Become a member of SDMBA JOIN HERE
  • Engage in local trail advocacy efforts - attend meetings, understand trail opportunities and constraints, participate in calls to action to elected officials and land managers when asked
  • Volunteer -  check the SDMBA Meetup Page for opportunities
  • DONATE HERE to support advocacy efforts and local trail projects
  • SIGN UP HERE for our Trail News Email (published twice monthly)





*Sticker sheets are in production and will ship later this summer! - Updated 6/8/22*

Art by Angel Ivan Lopez Canto of Outdoor Traditions Tattoo



SDMBA is proud to partner with these organizations which are all working to spread the trail courtesy on all trails