The weather is finally starting to get nice in Colorado, which means more people are spending their days outside. 

We're so lucky to have such amazing parks nearby, full of endless miles of trails for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities – but it's also up to us to help keep these places as great as they are by following both the actual, and unspoken rules, of the trails.

By following these 10 Commandments of Colorado Trails, you'll not only play a part in helping to maintain the naturalness that makes these areas so special, but it also ensures that others can enjoy the same experience.

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    Thou Shalt Not Take Anything from the Trail

    Pretty wildflowers and rocks can be tempting to pick up from the side of the trail, but if everyone took something, there would be nothing left. Plus, taking things away disrupts nature and the organisms that live there.

  • Kelsey Nistel/TSM

    Thou Shalt Be a Responsible Dog Owner

    Even if your dog is well-behaved, trail users should always follow leash laws. A loose canine could scare other dogs, or wild animals, and you also never know what someone else’s dog has been through or how it will react to yours. Part of being a responsible dog owner also means cleaning up after them on the trail.

  • Kelsey Nistel/TSM

    Thou Shalt Stick to the Trail

    Veering off the main trail risks destroying habitats, erosion and ruining the naturalness of the area in general. In addition, you could get lost or put yourself in danger.

  • Maryviolet

    Thou Shalt Not Litter

    This one pretty much goes without saying...just don't do it. Most places have a trash can conveniently located right at the trailhead, so no excuses, keep it clean.

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    Thou Shalt Communicate with Others on the Trail

    Be friendly to fellow hikers when you cross paths and say hello!

  • Kelsey Nistel/TSM

    Thou Shalt Not Touch or Interact with Wildlife

    One of the coolest things about spending time in nature is the possibility of coming across wildlife. Seeing deer, elk, moose and other animals on the trail is thrilling, but it's always best to keep your distance and never try to touch them.

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    Thou Shalt Always Come Prepared

    When setting out on an adventure, make sure to come prepared for any possible condition. The weather can change quickly so having proper clothing is key. It's also a good idea to always bring water, a weapon or form of protection, and a charged cell phone in case of emergency.

  • Kelsey Nistel/TSM

    Thou Shalt Not Trample the Riverbanks

    Lots of trails in Colorado feature some sort of water, like a river, reservoir or lake. These are beautiful places, but will only stay that way if humans help to protect them. This means staying on the riverside and not trampling the banks. The photo shows what can happen when this type of destruction occurs.

  • Kelsey Nistel/TSM

    Thou Shalt Share the Trail

    Part of trail etiquette is sharing the space, knowing who has the right of way, and passing others safely. On trails that allow horses, it's expected that both hikers and bikers yield to them, as they have a harder time maneuvering the trail and can be unpredictable at times. It's usually easier for hikers to yield to bikers since they aren't moving as fast, but a biker should never expect this - both parties should be aware of their surroundings and make it known when passing. When it comes to hikers vs. hikers, those going uphill have the right of way.

  • Kelsey Nistel/TSM

    Thou Shalt Have Fun

    You're out on the trail to have fun and enjoy nature, so do exactly that! Take in the epicness of what's around you, and soak in everything the trail has to offer.