Browse Common Topics
Section 508 Navigation
Search our Website

Resources and Library:

Cool Trail Solutions

Hosted by


Railings along trails and greenways in urban areas

When is a railing needed for safety? Deciding where to put railings along trails is a very inexact science. Safety concerns impell managers and designers to specify that railings are placed where there is a drop-off along bikeways and walkways. Where there is a vertical drop of several feet, such as on a bridge, it's easy to see that a railing is a good idea. Where the trail edge slopes down more gently, there is no hard and fast rule. Moreover, the railing can be a hazard in itself. Unless the trail is very wide, people "shying away" from the rail can collide with each other. Accessibility is another point of confusion. For building access ramps, handrails are required. In the outdoor environment, there is no railing requirement in the proposed guidelines for Developed Outdoor Areas. It is typical on backcountry trails and bridges that steep dropoffs are often encountered without any protection, even along bridges.

Click on any photo to see it full size:

(Photos and commentary by Stuart Macdonald)

Print Friendly
Print Friendly and PDF




Facebook Twitter

Stay up to date on legislative issues for trails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


business directory


trail database

PDF  Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  Download Acrobat Reader


section 508 logo American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.