Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds

This guidebook provides practical guidelines for developing recreation environments that are sensitive to the needs of riders and their stock.

by Jan Hancock, Principal, Hancock Resources LLC, Federal Highway Administration, USDA Forest Service

To keep the size and scope of this guidebook manageable, the focus is limited to equestrian elements--such as corrals, tread width, horse-friendly surfaces, and so forth--and a few closely related subjects. The information presented can be adapted to a variety of settings and levels of development, as well as to different jurisdictions. In many cases, the expertise of specialists--for example, engineers, landscape architects, and scientists--is required. Planners and designers should consult other sources for basic planning and design criteria, including agency-specific guidelines, legal requirements, engineering and architectural standards, scientific expertise, and so forth. Consulting with area riders is an essential part of the planning process. Sound planning and design judgment are the keys to choosing the most appropriate elements, given local conditions. This guidebook is intended as a practical guide for trail work, not a policy manual--however, the authors believe the information is consistent with current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service policies and direction.

View the guide

Published December 2007

About the Authors

Jan Hancock, author of the FHWA and USDA Forest Service publication “Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds” and the principal of Hancock Resources LLC based in Phoenix, Arizona, will share her experience working with land managers, architects, landscape architects, planners, civil engineers and communities in planning equestrian and shared-use trails and recreational facilities. Jan plans trail systems with safety guidelines and well-designed trail experiences that are suitable for equestrians and other non-motorized trail users in urban, rural, and backcountry locations.

Jan has a Bachelor of Science degree in design education from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and a Master of Arts Degree in Design and Community Education from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. She is a founder of the Arizona Trail Association supporting the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail, a founder of the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation supporting the 315-mile Maricopa Trail, and she just became a founder of the Sun Corridor Trail Alliance supporting the development of the 1,500-mile Sun Corridor Trail from Las Vegas, NV to Douglas, AZ on the Arizona/Mexico border. Jan is the executive director of the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and she serves as an equestrian representative on the American Trails Board of Directors.

Contact: [email protected]


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.


To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

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