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260 A Good Trail 2010-07-28

string Lake trail

There is nothing like a good trail. If you enjoy hiking or biking, it is especially a treat to find a good path. Through the years we have walked on some really bad trails and some really good ones. The bad trail leaves you empty; but the good trail fills you leaving you wanting even more.

A bad trail most likely was not designed. It became a path by being the shortest line between two points. The trails were not engineered. They just happened. Many years later hikers try following the trail, no matter how bad it is. The hikers are taught to Leave No Trace. They try to stay on the trail because they know that leaving the trail causes more impact, even if it is a bad trail. We usually only hike a bad trail once.

A good trail is planned. It has a design. The length and grade of the trail is considered. The trail is wide enough to walk without being brushed by the vegetation. The destination is important; but it needs to make the journey with purpose. Impact is considered in the design. The trail is built to be sustainable. Proper drainage prevents damage. Switchbacks are built so it is difficult to shortcut. A well designed trail keeps the hiker on the path, even a novice. The trail helps the user to be a good hiker.

A few suggestions on improving trails...

  • Let land managers know the importance of the well built paths.
  • Donate money to your local Park or Friends group for maintaining trails.
  • Donate your time to help with trail days.
  • Educate your friends on what a good trail is and their importance.
  • And, as always, we wish you happy trails.

Happy trails.


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