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How are trails designed?
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roy stalder
(roystalder) - F
How are trails designed? on 04/01/2011 09:32:44 MDT Print View

Over the years I've logged in hundreds of hours hiking on incredible trails. All of the time spent on the trails led me to a very simple question. How are trails made?

I learned that trailmakers strive to make trails sustainable and interesting. To make the trails sustainable they have guidelines such as, "The trail surface must support currently planned and future uses with minimal impact to the natural systems of the area".

To make the trails interesting they use variety; the best trails give hikers multiple experiences.

Edited by roystalder on 04/01/2011 09:36:54 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: How are trails designed? on 04/01/2011 10:44:40 MDT Print View

I tried looking this up a little while ago. An attempt to keep the grade gentle is made, like 3% and no more than 15% at any point. Runoff down long stretches of the trail are prevented by several means, like switchbacks, waterbars and sloping the tread of the trail slightly down the slope. Keep the turf on the upper side of the tread stabilized. I was actually trying to find information on making rock crush, but didn't find any. There are a couple groups related to the Appalachian Trail that have lots of guides on trail building and maintenance.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How are trails designed in Nepal? on 04/01/2011 16:08:55 MDT Print View

I saw how trail design changed in Nepal. I did my first trek there in 1983, and there were lots of vertical trails. I would guess that the average slope was 30 degrees in some areas. These trails covered traditional routes, so the local people were on them every day. To minimize erosion, they were lined with big flat rocks. So, we found ourselves stepping up and down these stone stairways. That got tedious, and it was hard on the knees.

By the time I returned to the Khumbu Region in 1997, the national park influence was heavier. They had some new trails specifically for foreign hikers, so they were rather longer and not so steep due to zigzags. The local people stayed more to the traditional trails, but there seemed to be room for everybody. The other thing gained with wider and more gradual trails was the room for yaks and dzos (beasts of burden), and that helped the tourism industry as well. The national parks there collect some healthy user fees, so that money is spent on trail maintenance and sustainable forestry.


Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
How are trails designed? on 04/01/2011 17:56:18 MDT Print View

Quite a few of the trails are very old Indian trails, mining trails ,logging trails,animal trails, horse trial from early settlers looking for easier passage up and over the mountains or through the desert or to take advantage of the local resources. Then the forestry dept. adapted the trails for recreational use.