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GNHA is committed to the ideas and ethics of “Leave No Trace.” On many of our hikes you may see evidence of overuse, misuse or careless use of our beautiful but fragile environment. Our goal is to avoid contributing to this problem and, if possible, reverse any harmful effects.

Plan ahead and prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit by consulting the Hike Leader.

  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.

  • Know your trail or use a map, compass or GPS to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns, flags or tape.


  • Use existing trails wherever possible.

  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.

  • To minimize erosion, do not use “social” trails or shortcuts on switchbacks.

  • For day hikes, never build a campfire.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out.  Inspect your lunch/picnic spot and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. 

  • Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter whether created by you or left by others.

  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet (70 paces) from water or trails. 

  • Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.

  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products in a sealable plastic bag.

​Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.

  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance.  Do not follow or approach them.

  • Never feed animals.  Feeding wildlife damages their health and alters natural behaviors.

  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

  • Help keep wildlife wild.


Be Considerate of Other Hikers and Visitors

  • Respect others and protect the quality of their experience.

  • Be courteous.  Yield to other users on the trail.

  • Let nature’s sounds prevail.  Avoid loud voices and noises.

The “Leave No Trace” principles for day hikers were extracted from a more extensive list for hikers, campers and backpackers. This list is maintained by the Center for Outdoor Ethics.  To learn more, go to


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