Pathways to Trail Building

by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

The intent of this 4th edition of a Tennessee Recreation Trails Manual is to help understand the dynamics of designing and building non-motorized trails.


Pathways to Trail Building


The intent of this 4th edition of a Tennessee Recreation Trails Manual is to help understand the dynamics of designing and building non-motorized trails. Trail builders will learn the joy of discovering new places and the feelings of accomplishment from walking back over a newly constructed section of trail. This manual is just one of many resources that government agencies and non-government organizations have developed to promote the art and science of trail building. An index of resources can be found at the back of this document.

The goal of trail building is to create a long-term relationship between humans and nature. This is only possible through a clear understanding of the needs of each trail related agency laced with a healthy dose of day-to-day reality. Planning and responsibility are the keys to success. Learning how to build a trail is an ongoing, never ending process with each section of trail to be constructed a new challenge.

The trail designer/constructor learns over time the nuances of the forest, rocks and streams and how important it is to build a sustainable trail that is easy to maintain and becomes a natural part of the landscape. Sustainable trails minimize environmental impacts, are easy to travel and reduce future trail operation and maintenance costs.

Published March 2007