Vancouver Trails

Leave No Trace on Your Next Hike

Leave No Trace

Whether you are brand new to hiking or a seasoned hiker, keeping the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) in mind when you head out on a hike is the best way to ensure that you respect the wilderness. Developed by the Leave No Trace Centre for Outdoor Ethics, the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are designed to make certain that we leave nature as unchanged by our presence as possible. That way, each time we go on a hike, it is as pristine as the first time someone trekked there.

The intent of the LNT Principles is to be guidelines, not rigid sets of rules to be enforced. So everytime you go on a hike, ask yourself: “Is my action impacting the land in a negative way? What can I do to minimize my impact and leave it unchanged?”

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

Don’t just prepare for your hike: prepare to Leave No Trace on your hike so that you can can both minimize resource impacts and ensure your safety. If you plan ahead you are less likely to violate other Leave No Trace principles due to ignorance or emergency.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Hiking is becoming more and more popular which stresses both trails and campsites. By sticking to durable surfaces, you can ensure that your favourite trail doesn’t get loved to death.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

When you are on a hike, you want to see incredible views and beautiful nature – you don’t want to see used toilet paper or the remains of someone’s lunch. Disposing of your garbage and human waste properly is an important aspect of Leave No Trace.

4. Leave What You Find

It’s tempting to pick a few wildflowers since at the height of the summer bloom, it seems like there are millions of them, but if everyone picked them, there wouldn’t be any left all.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

A fire pit left near an alpine lake. Photo credit: Taryn Eyton

Campfires are an important part of the wilderness experience for many hikers but fires can leave scars on the landscape that last for decades.

6. Respect Wildlife

Spotting a deer, an owl or even a bear while hiking is always exciting but remember that you are visiting the animals’ home and they deserve respect.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Chances are you won’t be the only person on the trail. We choose to go hiking to experience nature, not to hang out with crowds of loud strangers (that’s what Metrotown is for!)

Check out for more LNT tips and info or to find listings for Leave No Trace awareness course providers in your area. Keep LNT in mind when you go on a hike so we can keep the wilderness unchanged by our presence, so we can keep the wilderness wild.