Leave No Trace & Mountain Biking
Mountain bikers have access to some of the most beautiful, remote, and scenic trails in the country. But as you may know, with outdoor adventure comes responsibility. Whether you are heading out for a cross-country ride, or visiting one of the top 10 downhill mountain bike parks, “Outdoor Ethics” or Leave No Trace Principles are critical to ensure that these remarkable biking destinations can continue to be enjoyed by many future generations to come.
Our tips below will help ensure that you know how to protect and preserve these incredible places.
Leave No Trace Principles
Even mountain bikers with the best intentions can sometimes unknowingly harm the ecosystems they explore and enjoy. Leave no trace principles help people to minimize their recreational impact on the natural world.
Our biking specific leave no trace principles below encourage preservation and prevent negative impacts on the trails and ecosystems we all love.
- Check trail conditions and weather forecasts. com provides information on recent trail conditions, or you can stop in a local shop to ask about conditions and any trail closures. Make sure you don’t ride if you see bad weather in the forecast.
- Riding trails after a recent rain is not a good idea and can cause extensive damage to the trails. If you do encounter muddy sections on a trail, ride through it rather than walking around it to avoid enlarging the trail.
- Tuning your bike regularly will keep you safe and help preserve the trails. Check components before each ride – leaking oil or broken bike parts can damage trails and harm wildlife, and cause falls and injuries.
- Always carry a tool kit with you that includes a first aid kit, bike pump, spare tubes, tire changing tools and a multi-tool for on-trail repairs as needed.
- Keep singletrack single! Stay on the trail and don’t venture off-trail. Riding off the trail damages fragile ecosystems and confuses wildlife.
- If you are camping, make sure you camp in established campsites and don’t start fires outside of an established fire ring. Check your local Forest Service office for any fire restrictions.
Share the Trail
- Trails are used widely not only bikers, but horseback riders, hikers, and wildlife.
- Be considerate of other trail users. This includes slowing down, especially on downhills. Going too fast can startle or injure other trail users and yourself. Many times speed leads to collisions with wildlife that can’t get out of the way in time.
- Horses always have the right of way – always dismount when approaching them. Because horses are prey animals, they are frightened easily and bikes are no exception.
- Ride in small groups to respect wildlife and other trail users and reduce dust and noise.
- Respect wildlife and observe them from a distance. Do not ever approach, feed or disturb animals. Respect that you are in their home.
Pack it out!
- Leave the trails the way you found them (or better). Take all waste with you and dispose of it properly after your ride.
- Clean up after others before you who may not have followed leave no trace principles.
- Use the bathroom before you start your ride. Carry a small shovel or trowel with you for if you are camping or have “to go”. Make sure you bury human waste at least 6 to 8 inches below the surface and at least 200 feet from the trail and any water source.
- Leave cultural, geologic or historical artifacts for others to enjoy – do not touch or disturb them.
By following these simple leave no trace principles, you’re doing your part to ensure that your recreational impact on the natural world is minimized.