Slow & Say Hello is our off-road trail safety education program, created in collaboration with the Marin Horse Council and the Marin Conservation League. Mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding are fantastic ways to enjoy the beauty of Marin and stay active. As more people take to the trails it’s important for all trail users to respect each other and the environment.
Slow and Say Hello is an initiative aimed at educating trail users on responsible trail use, trail etiquette, and environmental resource protection. Whether you’re on foot, hooves or wheels, slow and say “hello” when you pass fellow travelers. In addition to safety, slowing down also shows respect for other trail users. When you slow down and say hello, you acknowledge their presence and show that you are sharing the trail with them. It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way in creating a positive trail experience for everyone involved. Read the Slow & Say Hello! brochure.
Volunteer for Slow & Say Hello
Trail Etiquette, who has the right of way?
Mountain bikers should yield to both hikers and equestrians. Bikes can move quickly, and it can be difficult for hikers and equestrians to hear them coming. When passing you should be traveling at a speed that allows you to say hello and hear the reply before passing. Bells are great when you first see someone else on the trail, but why not go the extra mile and say “Hi”, Howdy!” or “Hello”. Slow down when entering blind corners or areas with poor sightlines or visibility.
Equestrians have the right of way on a trail. Both mountain bikers and hikers should yield as horses can be easily frightened. If you’re on foot or on a bike, make sure to give equestrians plenty of space and avoid sudden movements or loud noises. If you’re unsure how to approach an equestrian, it’s best to ask. Talking to your fellow trail user is courteous and in most instances your voice will let a horse know you are not a threat. Wait until they’ve passed before continuing on the trail.
In addition to yielding to other users, there are a few other rules of trail etiquette to keep in mind. Keep your pets on a leash, unless otherwise authorized, and clean up after them. Stay on the trail and avoid shortcutting switchbacks, as this can cause erosion and damage to the trail. And always pack out what you pack in, leaving the trail as you found it.
By following these simple guidelines, we can all enjoy the outdoors and share the trails with other users. Remember to be courteous and respectful of other users, and always prioritize safety on the trail.
Slow & Say Hello Outposts
To get the word out and communicate our program initiatives with the community we host Slow and Say Hello! Outposts. Members of Trail Partners set up a tent and information center at key locations to engage with hikers, bikers, walkers, runners and equestrians about trail safety and resource protection. Visitors are asked to take a short trail quiz with questions such as…
“When a puddle spans the entire width of the trail, should you go through it or around it?”
“When you approach a horse and rider on the trial, on which side should you pass?”
“What issues do earbuds create?”
You’ll have to come out to one of the outposts to learn the answers, and if you answer correctly (or make a good effort in trying), you’ll receive a gift, including Slow and Say Hello! socks, visors, or tote bags! The questions always manage to spark a conversation and to make people think more about their impact on other trail users and the environment.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Volunteers engage with visitors, ask them a series of questions and give them freebies! The questions are designed to encourage a dialog about positive interactions among trail users and instill an appreciation for the unique plants and wildlife that make Marin such a rich bio-diverse destination.
Perks include a free Slow & Say Hello t-shirt and hat.
2023 Slow and Say Hello dates and locations, all outposts will be set up from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm unless otherwise noted. If you are volunteering please arrive by 8:30am.
Volunteer for Slow & Say Hello
Saturday, 4/29 Old Railroad Grade at H Line FR in Mill Valley (MCP)
Saturday, 5/20 Rodeo Valley Trail at PRC (GGNRA)
Saturday, 5/27 Phoenix Lake (MMWD)
Saturday, 6/17 San Andreas Gate (MCP)
Saturday, 6/24 Pantoll Station
Saturday, 7/8 Buzzard Barn at Indian Valley FR (MCP)
Saturday, 7/22 Golden Gate Dairy Stables (Dirt Fondo)
Saturday, 8/5 Phoenix Lake (MMWD)
Saturday, 8/19 Pinheiro at Rush Creek FR and Spur Trail (MCP)
Saturday, 8/26 White Hill trail at Brown Bridge (MCP)
Saturday, 9/9 China Camp State Park (FOCC)
Saturday, 9/30 Old Railroad Grade at H Line FR in Mill Valley (MCP)
Saturday, 10/7 Ponti Trail saddle (MCP)
Saturday, 10/28 Phoenix Lake (MMWD)
***All outposts will be set up from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm***
Read the Slow & Say Hello! Brochure
Click here to learn more about our Slow and Say Hello
Visit our bike-specific trail etiquette article titled Shock and Aww!!!