Chester County Trail Club Hiking Guidelines

The Chester County Trail Club (CCTC) desires to conduct its hiking events in a safe manner and requests your cooperation to provide everyone an enjoyable hiking experience. When participating in CCTC events, you are requested to follow certain basic safety rules.

  • Hikers will not go ahead of the leader unless they first inform the leader, are experienced hikers, and know the trail.
  • Maintain contact with the person behind you. If you lose contact, call out ahead to stop the group until the person behind you catches up.
  • Watch your footing.
  • When hiking on roads, walk on the left side facing oncoming traffic.

You are responsible for outfitting yourself with appropriate clothing, footwear, and equipment and for taking adequate food and water.

By signing up for an event, you are indicating that you have the experience and ability to complete the event safely. You should determine the difficulty of the event as well as possible hazards and probable weather conditions before participating. If, at the start of the hike, you find conditions more difficult than you were prepared for, you should arrange with the hike leader to modify or end your participation.

CCTC hike leaders are amateurs, not paid professionals, who volunteer to lead hikes for the benefit of all. You are requested to follow the hike leader’s instructions and observe the above safety precautions to be welcome on a hike. The hike leader may ask you to discontinue your hike if your continued participation puts you or other hikers at risk.

***Dogs are not permitted on hikes unless permission is specifically granted in a hike write-up.

Categories of Hikes  

The following descriptions apply only to the terrain of the trail. 

They do not address the pace or mileage of the hike. Some Class A hikes may be very fast paced and may be as long as ten miles. The miles to be covered will be listed after the class in each individual write up. The hike description may contain any necessary clarifications of a hike's terrain such as "good footing, not rocky," "swampy conditions," "stream crossing," or" boulder fields."  


Mostly flat with good footing and very little elevation change. For example, walking along a canal, a well-worn foot path or a paved trail.


Rolling hills with moderate elevation change. May include road walking. Trail could be rocky and/or include some underbrush.


Hiking boots or sturdy shoes recommended. Steep ups and downs with potentially rough footing. Trail rocky but stable. Hiking boots required.


Very steep ups and downs over rocky area that may be unstable. Rugged terrain with possibly some hand over hand climbing. Hiking boots required. Hiking sticks are recommended.

**PLEASE NOTE: Dogs are not permitted on hikes unless the hike description specifically states that dogs are allowed. For instance, a hike description might state something like "Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome". If there is no similar statement, dogs are not allowed.

Adventure Hikes

When a Hike Leader lists their outing as an "adventure" hike, it can mean several things. 

  • They may have not entirely scouted out the trail previously or even at all. 
  • The trail may be unblazed.
  • The trail may not be maintained. There could be bramble to get through, downed trees to climb over, etc.
  • The Hike Leader may go off trail, otherwise known as "bush whacking". The forest floor is often uneven with deadfall, rocks, unseen depressions, etc. 
  • There may be stream crossings with or without stepping stones. 
  • The exact mileage of the hike may be more than what was originally posted.
  • The hike may take longer than other hikes of similar length.

Any hiker planning on attending an "adventure" hike should be prepared to encounter any of these situations and maybe some not included above. Make sure you have the proper footwear and are dressed for the weather. Pack extra snacks and water in case the hike should run longer than expected. Hiking poles may also be recommended. If you are unsure as to your ability, please contact the Hike Leader for more information. 

© 2020 Chester County Trail Club,  PO Box 2056,  West Chester PA 19380-0081

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