Hiking with grazing animals

Things to know about sharing the trail. Cattle are large animals and can be intimidating, but they are not aggressive by nature.

Use common sense when hiking among cattle and remember the following safety tips:

  • Watch your step! You may encounter manure along the way, and during the rainy winter months roads and trails can be muddy and pocked.
  • Don't startle the cattle.  Keep your distance and walk around groups of cows allowing plenty of space. When cattle feel pressured they may react aggressively.
  • Cattle are protective of their young, so don't get between a calf and its mother, and don't try to touch them.   If you see a stray calf, leave it alone! The mother is probably nearby and will return for her calf.
  • Keep pets on leash.  Cattle can't always distinguish between a dog and coyote and may become agitated as the dog approaches. (Dogs are not allowed at Midpen preserves where grazing occurs, but keep this in mind if hiking in other locations)
  • Not all animals with horns are bulls, leave them alone and they'll leave you alone.
  • Never climb over, under or cut a fence. Only cross fencelines at gates.
  • Keep pedestrian gates closed and leave larger vehicle gates as you find them – open or closed.  Vehicle gates will normally be left open when cattle are moving between pastures.
  • Report sick, injured or potentially aggressive animals to Midpen personnel. Do not attempt to assist the animal.

Grazing on Open Space