Trail Courtesy Practices That Leave No Trace

Five small square photos create a banner across the page. Subjects (from left to right) 3 backpackers, a mule, 5 hikers, 2 are youth, composting toilet building, 5 women runners
Leave No Trace Logo - tag
The South Kaibab, Bright Angel, and North Kaibab Trails (known as the Corridor Trails) meet at the bottom of the canyon near the only bridges that span the Colorado River. Together, they create the popular cross-canyon "Corridor".

The Corridor Trails provide a diversity of recreational opportunities for hikers, backpackers, mule riders, and runners. With so many of us participating in a wide range of activities, it really helps when we are considerate of each other.

Being considerate of others is central to Leave No Trace.

The following guidelines build on Leave No Trace principles, help protect Grand Canyon's plants, animals and history, and enhance everyone's experience:
a pair of hikers inset in a circle, then a group of hikers in the background photo. Caption reads: Best Not to Travel Alone - Travel with a friend.
Why? Traveling with at least one other person helps ensure your safety in the event of accident or injury.
  • When traveling in a group, stay together or partner up.
  • When traveling alone have a support plan with check-in times.
2. Restrooms are available along the trails - Colorado River background; insert on the left with 2 runners. Insert on the right shows 5 backpackers passing by a composting toilet building.
Why? Proper disposal of human waste prevents water pollution, avoids the negative implications of someone else finding it, and minimizes the possibility of spreading disease.
  • Plan ahead, locate the restrooms on the Corridor Trails Map (page 6) of "Intro to Grand Canyon Hiking" before you start down a trail.
  • Or, deposit human waste in catholes. Go 200 feet (61m) from water, trail, and campsite.
  • Dig a 6-inch (15 cm) deep hole, 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in diameter. Bury your waste.
  • Use resealable plastic bags to carry out your toilet paper and tampons.
Mules have right of way. Photo split in two halves. Left shows a string of loaded pack mules ascending a trail. Right shows three people riding mules.
Why? Yielding to mules helps keep all trail users safe. When frightened, mules may act unpredictably.
  • When you encounter mules, follow the directions of the mule wrangler.
  • Otherwise, step to the side of the trail that is away from the edge and remain quiet and still.
4. Uphill travelers have right of way. On the right an oval insert showing a backpacker wearing knee braces and climbing uphill. On the left, 7 individuals walking up a ramp faced with a rough, dry-laid wall.
Why? Uphill travelers are often fatigued and working hard to maintain their balance and pace.
  • If you're descending, slow down and yield to uphill travelers.
  • Some uphill travelers may see you and decide to stop or step off the trail — it's their call.
5. To pass someone in front of you - slow down. Let them know you want to pass. Left: looking up hill with a number of people filling the width of the trail. Right insert: two women jogging.
Why? Slowing down and asking to pass maintains a friendly atmosphere and ensures safe passage.
  • Communicate in a clear quiet tone. Do not yell.
  • Do not expect slower travelers to move out of your way.
  • Keep in mind, some hikers may not speak English and may not understand you.
Do not store or abandon gear along the trail. It attracts animals. On the left, three inserts: backpacks hanging from a tree branch, a squirrel and a raven. Background image shows hikers on trail to the right of a riparian area: cottonwood trees.
Why? Storing gear along the trail attracts wildlife seeking a handout, can look like litter, and degrades the natural environment.
  • Gear includes extra clothes, equipment, food, and trash.
  • Bring a small pack or stuff sack in which to carry your extras.

Pack out your trash banner shows hikers going down trail on left, superimposed, toilet paper can, gel tube, apple core. On the right is a backpacker carrying a large pack.
Why? Litter left in the canyon takes years to decompose. Packing out all of your trash helps to preserve the natural environment.
  • Place your trash in resealable plastic bags that you can carry in your pack.
  • Pack out everything you pack into Grand Canyon.
8. Be quiet and respect those who seek serenity. Background image of canyon formations from Tonto Platform. Inserts, left to right: woman hiker, mother and son hikers, female runner, man riding mule, 3 male backpackers.
Why? Being quiet and respecting those who seek serenity helps everyone enjoy the park.
  • Enjoy Grand Canyon's natural sounds, they are a key part of the experience.
NPS photos by Victoria Allen, Kim Besom, KJ Glover, Nicole Koehlinger and Michael Quinn. Wrangler silhouette photo courtesy of Sherry Zakrazek.
3 pages of the Introduction of the Backcountry Hiking Brochure: title page, trails profile, Corridor Trails Map
Sample pages of "Introduction to Backcountry Hiking." Click on the photo to download the PDF version of this booklet.

Introduction to Backcountry Hiking Brochure and Map

This foldable brochure is for day and overnight inner canyon hikers. It gives information about hiking the Bright Angel, South Kaibab, and North Kaibab trails, as well as permit, planning, Leave No Trace, and Hike Smart information. It is distributed at park visitor centers and backcountry information centers.

The web version of this publication is formatted to print on standard 8.5 x 11 letter-sized paper. You may download it here: Introduction to Backcountry Hiking. (4.5 MB PDF file)


Last updated: April 23, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



Contact Us