5 Tips on How to Be a More Mindful Trail User - Alpha Coffee

5 Tips on How to Be a More Mindful Trail User

“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection.” – Theodore Roosevelt


Having started our business at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, we at Alpha have a deep appreciation for the great outdoors and all it has to offer. As avid adventure seekers ourselves, we understand the importance of preserving the trails and surrounding areas to ensure both current and future adventurers can enjoy the trails for years to come. Now that Spring is officially here, we thought this would be the perfect time to share with you some essential tips on how to be a more mindful trail user. 

Whether you're a seasoned hiker, a mountain biker, or a nature lover casually exploring new paths, we hope these tips help you leave a positive impact on the next trail you visit.


1. Stay on the Trail

Always, always, always, stay on the trail! Trails are carefully crafted and planned out to minimize our impact on the ecosystem and keep all users safe. Straying off marked paths can disturb wildlife habitats, damage the surrounding vegetation, and cause erosion. Many trails pass through protected or sensitive areas, staying on the designated path helps prevent deterioration and preserve the area.

When hiking, especially in the Spring, encountering mud is almost inevitable. To avoid muddy trails, try going early in the morning when the ground is still frozen. If you do happen to encounter a bit of mud, the best thing you can do is walk right through it – that’s right, stay on the trail! When hikers step off the designated trail to avoid mud, they create new paths or widen existing ones. This can lead to trail erosion, making the area less sustainable.


2. Educate Yourself

The key to a great hiking experience is knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Educate yourself prior to the trip by familiarizing yourself with the trail, checking the weather, wearing/packing the appropriate clothing, and making sure you bring enough food and water.

Apps like AllTrails and Gaia GPS are great tools that can help you research and plan out your next adventure. 



3. Respect All Signage

Be sure to follow all posted signs and rules specific to the trail you're using. These guidelines are often in place to protect the environment and ensure everyone’s safety.

When trails don’t allow bikes, or dogs, or horses, there’s a reason for that. Pets can pollute water sources and endanger themselves and other wildlife, while bikes or horses may cause trail damage and erosion. By adhering to the rules, you’re not only helping preserve the natural beauty of the trail but you’re also contributing to the well-being of the entire ecosystem.

It’s also important to stay on public trails and respect the boundaries of private property. Always remain aware, and keep your eyes peeled for signs to avoid wandering into a restricted area.


4. Practice the Leave No Trace Principles

Above all, practicing the 7 principles of Leave No Trace is the best thing to remember when visiting any outdoor space. These principles are a set of outdoor ethics aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of outdoor activities. This includes packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of others around you.

You can learn more about the Leave No Trace Principles at lnt.org.



5. Support Trail Maintenance

Show your appreciation for the trails you love by supporting trail maintenance efforts. Many trails rely on volunteers and funding to keep them in top shape, whether it's participating in volunteer workdays, donating to trail maintenance organizations, or simply spreading awareness about the importance of trail upkeep, every little bit helps.

Alpha Coffee is a proud supporter of the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation. In 2023, through our Grounds for Good Program, we became an event sponsor for The Foundation and had the opportunity to adopt the Lake Mary Trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We also donated coffee to the CCF for a few of their events including Earth Day, National Trails Day, and their Wildflower Festival. 

At Alpha Coffee, we're committed to fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and giving back to the trails that inspire us. So, the next time you hit the trails, remember to tread lightly. Happy Hiking!

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