Good trail etiquette means being a good neighbor – ensuring that everyone feels respected, enjoys their time in the forest, and stays safe. Our mixed use trails are designed to support foot traffic, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on Forest roads or trails, except for administrative purposes. Motor vehicles can include cars, trucks, motorcycles, e-bikes, hover boards, Segways, etc. Motorized wheelchairs are permitted.
General Trail Etiquette Guidelines
- Share friendly greetings with fellow trail users
- Let people know when you are going to pass them with a friendly greeting or a bike bell
- Stick to the right of the trail and pass on the left
- If using headphones, keep the volume down or remove one so you can hear people approaching from behind
- Stay on authorized roads and trails designated for your type of use
- Follow the yield triangle; bicyclists yield to all other users and hikers yield to horseback riders
- When encountering someone on horseback, stand on the downhill side of the trail and ask the rider how to proceed
- Do not disturb wildlife or active research and teaching sites
- When safe to do so, climb over obstacles like fallen trees rather than traveling around them (and report fallen trees to Forest Staff)
- Travel at safe and reasonable speeds and slow down on blind curves; be able to stop in half the distance you can see
- Stay on the trail: do not cut switchbacks and travel single file unless the trail is wide enough so neither person walks on the trail edge
- Always carry out trash, dog waste and any belongings
Use Dirt Trails, Not Muddy Trails
Wet and muddy trails are more at risk of damage than dry trails. This is especially important for natural surface trails such as Dave's, Vineyard Mountain, and Beautiful Trails. It's too muddy when:
- There's standing water on the trail
- Your shoe, tire or hoof leaves a track in the mud
- Use roads and graveled trails until natural surface trails dry out
- If you find yourself on a wet section of trail, travel through puddles not around them to prevent trail widening
Trails are built and maintained by volunteers. Protect their efforts by traveling carefully during the wet season.
Check seasonal closures to make sure the trail is open to your type of use before heading out.
OSU Research Forests Rules and Tips for Dogs
Many dogs and their humans love playing in the Forests, and we love it too! Here are some things to keep in mind when exploring with your pup:
Please clean up and carry out dog waste using the bags and bins provided at most trailheads.
Dogs are required to be on leash or under voice control on the OSU Research Forests.
Voice control means your dog:
- Stays in sight of you at all times, regardless of distractions, and
- Stays a respectful distance away from others, and
- Comes to you right when you call, every time.
You must have your dog on a leash if they:
- Ever roam out of sight or run off, or
- Bark at, jump on, act agressively toward, or advance on others, or
- Come to you inconsistently when you call or take a while to respond.
A few other things to consider...
- Be respecful and friendly to all other users, regardless of whether you have a dog with you or not. Most owners are happy to hold onto their dogs or put them on a leash while you pass by, especially when asked with a smile.
- Many humans have valid reasons for not wanting to interact with dogs while on the forest, including allergies, poison oak, mud, personal boundaries, or even traumatic past experiences with dogs. Prevent your dog from approaching other people you meet in the forest unless invited.
- Even if your dog would never pose a threat to other dogs, wildlife or people, it is very important to keep them in sight at all times to protect them from injury in the forest or attack by another animal.
- Prevent unleashed dogs from approaching dogs on-leash, as this creates a potentially dangerous dynamic in dog psychology which can result in unpredictable behavior. People have their dogs leashed for multiple reasons, which could include grumpy behavior or to protect their dog from others. Check with the owner of the leashed dog before allowing your dog to approach.
- Be sure to check with the owner of any dog before letting a child approach.
- Agressive dogs (dogs who pose a threat to other dogs or people) are not allowed on the Forest, even if on-leash.
- To report an incident relating to a dog on the OSU Research Forests, contact Benton County Animal Control at (541)766-6858.
- Consider recall training from a local dog trainer to help your dog become an off-leash dog!