Designing for Trail Sustainability

Designing for Trail Sustainability

By: Christina Hughey


Sustainable Trail Building

Figure 1: Trail Sustainablity 


Trails provide much more than hours of fun, trails help protect our environment. A trail built for sustainability reduces damage to plants, reduces disturbance to wildlife, reduces damage to soil and much more. A trail built right will last for many years. In contrast a poorly built trail will damage the environment surrounding it. When building a trail its important to build for sustainability.

There are many design tips and requirements to build for sustainability. Here are just a couple of ways to build a more sustainable trail:

  • Find the right trail location. Although it may seem easier to build on a flat terrain, you shouldn’t build there. If the terrain is flat water will collect or erosion will occur. It will save you time and money to build on the right terrain in the first place.
  • Another way to avoid erosion is to provide a suitable side slope. Water will always take the easier route downhill. The out slope needs to be greater that the grade of the trail.

You won’t regret building a sustainable trail!


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