Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience

Mountain bike trail guidelines

In the context of mountain bike trails, excellence is realized when a trail design merges the desired outcomes and difficulty that a rider seeks with the setting in which the outcomes are realized.

by Bureau of Land Management, International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)


Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience


Quality is difficult to define but easy to recognize. For the purposes of the Bureau of Land Management’s Guidelines for a Quality Trail Experience, herein referred to as GQTE, quality is defined as excellence. In the context of mountain bike trails, excellence is realized when a trail design merges the desired outcomes and difficulty that a rider seeks with the setting in which the outcomes are realized. These variables ultimately equate to an overall level of sustainability that protects resources while simultaneously providing a rider with the outcomes they seek.

Quality implies a sincere commitment to attaining the highest practical standard. With regard to a quality mountain bike trail experience, several attributes must apply. A quality mountain bike trail on BLM-administered land is one that is:

• Appropriate to a particular place and setting

• Environmentally and socially sustainable

• Economically responsible, taking into account long-term costs associated with maintenance and administration

• Outcomes-focused, able to provide the targeted experience and benefits for the identified rider skill level

Published June 2018

About the Authors


The Bureau of Land Management in the US Dept. of the Interior sponsors many courses and workshops through a variety of training opportunities. Trails, recreation, land management, technical training, and public involvement are topics that are frequently covered. The BLM has also been a leader in establishing and developing the National Trails Training Partnership.


The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great mountain biking experiences.

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