Trails & Hiking

Trails can provide access for exercising, wildlife viewing, hunting, harvesting timber, wildfire control as well as many other activities. Well-planned trails provide low-cost access and require minimal maintenance. The articles below provide detailed information about trail design, building and maintenance as well as ways to enjoy your trails.

Building Trails

Recreational Forest Trails: Plan for Success (N.C. State University Cooperative Extension)
Successful forest trails are planned to match the tract’s resources with the intended users’ needs.

Trail Design to Minimize Environmental Damage and Enhance User Enjoyment (Purdue University Cooperative Extension)
Poorly designed trails will require costly maintenance and a poor experience for users. Prevent problems with these tips for planning and building your trails.

Trail Development (University of Georgia Extension Forestry)
Certain basic fundamentals of planning, design, construction and management must be satisfied to produce an effective hiking trail. Learn more.

Trail Development on Small Acreages (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture)
This publication provides an introduction to trail design for those who intend to develop trails for nature walking, hiking, horseback riding or ATVs on less than 40 acres.

Things to Consider Before Building a Trail (My North Carolina Woods)
Whether you, your friends and family enjoy hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing or hunting, building trails on your property will yield outdoor enjoyment for years to come. Here are some things to consider.

Sustainable Trails (American Forest Foundation)
Sustainable trails are built to have as little impact on the environment as possible and to integrate with the surrounding landscape. They are also built to make trail use and maintenance as simple and low-cost as possible.

Trail Safety

Trail Safety (American Forest Foundation
The sun, insects, poisonous plants and even wild animals can quickly turn a hike from good to bad, especially when children are involved. So before you head for the trails, use these tips to keep yourself and your family safe.

Family Hiking Tips
(American Forest Foundation)
When hiking with children, the most important things are to stay safe and have fun. Here are some tips to make your family activities more enjoyable for everyone.