Philmont Trail Etiquette

Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 12:55:01 -0500
From: Signe Rogers <>
Subject: [Philmont]: Trail etiquette
Beyond the caterpillar, crews need to practice trail ettiqute anytime they overtake or meet a passing crew on the trail.

The crew heading uphill should always be given the right-of-way because it is more difficult maintaining uphill momentum vs. downhill. If you are headed downhill & meet a crew face-face, your crew should step to the side of the trail, and as mentioned in the above post, face in toward the trail so your pack is out of the way. If the trail is not wide enough to keep your feet on it & allow the crew to pass, step off the trail to the uphill side so that you don't cause errosion damage to the downhill side of the trail tread. Try to step on a rock, a tree root or where your footprint will do the least damage. Sometimes a crew headed uphill is ready for a break and will opt to stop to let the downhill crew pass, but that should be their call & not the call of the downhill crew.

If you encounter a cavalcade or a crew with burrows, the right of way always goes to the animals no matter which direction you are headed. The human-footed crew also always takes the outer/downhill side of the trail to avoid spooking the animals. Don't speak in a loud voice to those with four-legged trekkers either to avoid spooking them.

Crews should maintain an awareness of a crew that might be hiking faster they they are approaching from behind & again give the right-of-way and allow the crew to pass. Give them time to get well past you before you start hiking again. Good time to take a water or relief break at that time. Not much more irritating that playing leap-frog with a crew.

When your crew does a packs-off break, be sure your packs are off the trail & that there is room for another crew to pass by at that trail location. I've seen crews spread out all over the trail & not show any consideration that others might be coming along while they take their break.

I've encounterd crews who seem to be unaware of trail ettiqute, and the scout law certainly supports using it.

Signe Rogers

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