Video Content

5 Things Every Trail Runner Should Know

Jessie & Matt - June 24, 2019

So you’re all about Leave No Trace when you hike, camp and backpack…but what about on those trail runs? Yep, there are things that every trail runner can do to protect trails, wildlife and plants while logging those miles. Do YOU know what they are? Find out in this video!


Stick to the Trail: Running through wet spots and over obstacles avoids creating new trails, and damaging sensitive plants and wildlife habitat. Plus, sticking to the trail keeps trails in better shape, so it’s an easy way to help the awesome folks who build and maintain our go-to running trails.

Have a Trash Plan: Most of us don’t litter on purpose, but it’s easy to accidently leave microtrash behind on a trail run, and both tiny trash and food trash can cause big problems for wildlife. Make sure you have a secure place for your energy bar wrappers and gel packets before you hit the trail. Repackaging trail food and energy gels in Ziplock bags or reusable flasks means there’s less chance you’ll leave trash on the trail.

And speaking of plans…

Have a Poop Plan, Too: Because running can do funny things to your digestion system. “Surface deposits” can contaminate water, spread disease (think: fly lands on poop, then moves on to your energy bar), and really detract from the scenery we’re all out there enjoying. Bury poop in a 6-to-8 inch cathole, at least 70 steps from trails and water.


Share Those Trails: Horses are unpredictable, so always yield to horse riders. Uphill hikers and runners are working hard, so give them the right of way. Let others know when you’d like to pass and wait until there’s a safe spot on the trail to do so. And while you might hit the trails to jam out to tunes, others might be trying to escape noise, so try using earbuds.


We Know You’re Hardcore, But Know Your Limits: You can cover a lot of ground on a trail run, which means you might be far away from your car, house or cell service if something goes wrong. Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. And you can fit all the of the 10 Outdoor Essentials into most trail running packs.

Happy running!

Enjoy Your World. Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace’s Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2019 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Fjällräven and Klean Kanteen.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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