An ideal nature trail blends the beauty of the landscape with interpretive signage to offer an inspirational and educational resource to a community.
An educational trail, or nature trail, is a wonderful resource to a community or greenway. Typically, these trails meander through a natural area, offering marked stations or stops next to points of natural, technological or cultural interest.
While much of the standard guidelines apply, there are special considerations to consider with nature trails. Nature trails should offer significant visual appeal, sampling elements of the landscape such as a pond or wildflower garden as well as offering educational signage.
The University of Arkansas released an extensive guide, Nature Trail Development on Small Acreages, which serves an excellent overview.
Also, consider studying the work of other nature trails. You can find all the nature trails we have profiled, as well as other resources specific to nature trails, by browsing the NATURE TRAIL tag, in the resource library.
Be sure to check out these related resources, including a webinar on interpretive design:
Published May 22, 2018
Defining a trail corridor in law, policy, and planning.
Don Meeker, president of Terrabilt, reflects on trails as a critical sanctuary during COVID-19, and provides guidance on signage to keep everyone on trails safe. Terrabilt will also provide the production artwork for their COVID-19 trail sign for free.
IMBA Trail Solutions visited the Moose River Plains Wild Forest for one week in October of 2013 to conduct field research, meet with stakeholders, and to begin the process of developing a conceptual design for mountain bike use in the area. All of the designs presented in this report are conceptual in nature and have not been completely field verified. Additional work will need to be done in the field to finalize the designs of reroutes and proposed trails described in this report.
Bike parks are not trails. They are managed similarly to city parks. They require a higher standard of care. They need to be professionally designed and constructed.