The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace provide an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Although Leave No Trace has its roots in backcountry settings, the Principles have been adapted so that they can be applied anywhere — from remote wilderness areas, to local parks and even in your own backyard. They also apply to almost every recreational activity. Each Principle covers a specific topic and provides detailed information for minimizing impacts.
Plan ahead and prepare
- Help ensure the safety of groups and individuals.
- Prepare to Leave No Trace and minimizes resource damage. Bring along reusable water bottles or hot drink tumblers to limit waste and stay hydrated in our dry climate.
- Contribute to accomplishing trip goals safely and enjoyably.
- Increase self-confidence and opportunities for learning more about nature.
- Parking spaces are limited at many Vail trailheads, help us protect the trails we all love and consider taking the free bus to the trailhead of your hiking or biking adventure.
Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Avoiding damage to the land or waterways.
- It is better to have one well-designed route than many poorly chosen paths.
- Keep nature natural and camp at least 200 feet from lakes, rivers and streams.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Or pick it up to leave a place better than you found it. Put litter, even crumbs, peels and cores in your nearest waste/recycling bin.
- Wash yourself, your dog or whatever else needs cleaning at least 200 feet from waterways, and use biodegradable soap. A bubble bath is no treat for fish.
Leave what you Find
- Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others experience the joy of discovery.
- Don’t pick the wildflowers. Snap away, but only with a camera.
- Vail is beautiful all on its own. Building structures or campsites on public land isn’t cool. Keep it pristine for everyone to enjoy.
- Treat all living things with respect. Carving or hacking plants and trees may kill or disfigure them.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Vail has low humidity and can create dry, dangerous conditions. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires.
- When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers. Never let a fire burn unattended.
- Always put cigarettes out completely and don’t leave your butts behind.
- Always check for local fire restrictions and respect them. If there is a fire ban, there is a reason.
- Do not approach wildlife.
- Do not feed wild animals. You could alter natural behaviors, exposing them to predators or even euthanasia.
- Keep your furry buddies leashed when enjoying dog-friendly trails, and pack out their waste. All the way to a trashcan.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Chances are you’re not out in nature to people watch, so try out the lesser-known paths and sites.
- Excessive noise, uncontrolled pets and damaged surroundings take away from the natural appeal of the outdoors.
- Be considerate when passing others on the trails and yield to the uphill hiker and biker – they need the momentum.
- Listen to nature. Keep your voice and music soft so all can enjoy natures music.
Learn more about Leave No Trace, Center for outdoor Ethics.