Trail Construction Skills and Competencies

Specific skills used in trails and greenways work: construction of trails; construction of various trail elements; construction of trailheads and related facilities.

by American Trails Staff


California Conservation Corps crew at work on building an accessible trail overlooking Lake Tahoe

Skills for Natural Surface Trail Construction

  • Tools and safety for hand trail construction
  • Mechanized tools and safety for trail construction
  • Construction of off-highway vehicle routes and trails
  • Selecting and using trail hardening techniques
  • Selecting and building improved surfaces
  • Performing trail relocation, revegetation, and road to trail conversion

Skills for Trail-related Facility Construction

  • Constructing drainage and water control elements
  • Rigging and hoisting, mechanical advantage, and overhead zip and high-lines

Skills for Accessible Trail Construction

  • Surfaces and materials for accessible trails

Skills for Urban Trail and Bike/Ped Facility Construction

  • Materials and paving installation
  • Construction management for bicycle/pedestrian facilities
  • Road and railroad crossings

Skills for Trailhead Facility Construction

  • Restroom siting and installation

Skills for Design of Structures

  • Construction of hand-built backcountry bridges
  • Puncheon, corduroy, and turnpike construction
  • Building boardwalks
  • Building rock walls and steps
  • Selecting rocks and moving large rocks with the griphoist
  • Tools to split and dress stone, including hammer drills, hand star drills, hand chisels, and stone hammers