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Mile Markers and Distance Signs Along Trails

How far have I gone? How far is it to the trailhead?

Mileage can be marked off on signs, posts, stones, or stencils on the pavement.

by Stuart Macdonald, Trail Consultant, American Trails

Measuring distance along trails and greenways is important in urban areas as well as in the remote backcountry. Mileage can be marked off on signs, posts, stones, or stencils on the pavement. Being able to state more accurate locations along a trail can also help with emergency response. Maintenance needs can also be more readily identified where accurate mileage is measured. Some mile posts include the direction and distance to trailheads and access points. In some places such as trailheads, larger signs are used to convey distance and destination information. Presented here are a wide variety of solutions for conveying trail distances to trail users.

Published December 2019

About the Author

Stuart Macdonald spent 19 years as Colorado's State Trails Coordinator. He is the editor of American Trails Magazine. During 1998-99, he represented State Trail Administrators on the national committee that proposed regulations for accessible trails. He chaired the National Recreational Trails Committee, which advised the Federal Highway Administration in the first years of the Recreational Trails Program. Stuart grew up in San Diego and his main outdoor interest besides trails is surfing. He has a BA in English from San Francisco State and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Utah State.

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