As we move into the busy summer months in DuPont Forest, it is a good time for a refresher on the Forest Rules and trail etiquette.


In 2017 the N.C. Forest Service hired two Law Enforcement Officers for DuPont Forest with full authority to write tickets for violations to the Forest Rules.

No Alcoholic Beverages – There are plenty of places a hop, skip, and a jump from the Forest where you can have a cold beer after your extra space here long hike or ride. Save yourself the trouble and don’t bring that six pack into the Forest with you.

Dogs Must be on a Leash at All Times – No exceptions, no matter how cute or friendly your dog is. Tickets have already been written for violating this Forest Rule.

Stay Off Waterfalls – One slippery rock can lead to a tragedy near a waterfall. Tragic deaths at waterfalls are reported every year in Western North Carolina. Nine people have died in fatal falls in state parks since 2005. For your safety, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Observe all posted signs leading to a waterfall area.
  • Stay on marked trails and observation areas.
  • Do not jump off waterfalls or dive into pools (not even at Hooker Falls).
  • Do not climb on rocks above waist height.
  • Do not swim or wade upstream near a waterfall.
  • Expect slick rocks around waterfalls
  • Watch your children at all times.

Visitor may swim at his or her own risk in DuPont’s Little River, except within 300 feet upstream of the top of a waterfall (and other designated non-swimming areas).


When you are out on the trails, bring a plastic bag with you to hold all of your trash. That includes banana and orange peels! It takes two to five weeks for the peels to decompose. There are dumpsters available at the High Falls and Hooker Falls Access Areas.


  • Hikers, runners, and bikers should always yield to horses.
  • Bikers should yield to hikers and runners.
  • When approaching from behind a friendly greeting can go a long way.
  • Be kind to each other.


Avoid bringing horse into the Forest who are not already desensitized to the many things encountered within a multi-use trail system It is always a good idea to have a “been there, done that” buddy horse accompany a young or inexperienced horse.

Some trail users are intimidated by the size of horses and are not sure of what to do when they encounter a horse on a trail. Give a friendly “hello” and continue to carry on a conversation so your horse can identify them as human not a mountain lion or bear.

Help protect our trails and stay on the trail. Ride single file in the middle of the path and don’t take shortcuts or cut across switchbacks, which can trample fragile plants and create erosion.

Mountain Bikers

Call out as you come down steep slopes or blind switchbacks and let people know if there are other bikers behind you. Bikers can be intimidating to other users and sometimes it is hard to tell if you are in control when you come bombing down Ridgeline  (for example). A little friendly communication can go a long way.

When yielding to horses, move to the downhill side. It reduces your size and appearance and makes the horse less likely to spook. Engage the rider in friendly conversation as this can help identify you as a human to a horse.

Protect the trails and look for a safe a durable spot to stop when yielding for hikers or equestrians. When riding on a single track come to a complete stop and then side step off the trail.  This helps us avoid erosion.

Use a controlled speed and stay single file on singletrack trails.


Stay on the trail! Hiking off trail damages fragile plants and erodes our trails.

Communicate with equestrians and try not to make any sudden movements that might spook the horse.
Keep your dog on a leash at all times. It is a Forest Rule and you can risk a ticket!

Keep your dog close to you when passing children, horses, or other dogs no matter how friendly your dog may be.

Technology on the Trail

When taking pictures be aware of your surroundings and don’t block the trail.

Hiking or riding with earbuds in place makes it difficult to communicate with other users and reduces your ability to hear what’s going on around you.

As Friends of the Forest, following the Forest Rules and practicing proper trail etiquette is one of the best way we can protect DuPont. Tell your friends! Share with visitors!  And thank you!