Trails With Two Adjacent Treads

Separate trails in the same corridor provide for different activities.

by Stuart Macdonald, Trail Consultant, American Trails

In many urban trail corridors the sheer amount of use creates some difficulties for sharing the trail. Wider trails are one solution. But how wide do you want to make the trail? And does a single surface material satisfy all trail users? In many cases, the better solution is to provide two or even three pathways or trail treads with different surfaces. Other treatments seek to make the separation of treads more clear. The two treads may be adjacent or some distance away. The secondary tread may even be an informal path made by mountain bicyclists or horse riders. Signs or pavement markings may also be provided to clarify the separation.

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.

More articles by this author

Webinars on YouTube that you might like

Communicate, Educate, and Inform Where Visitors are Planning Their Adventures

May 30, 2024

AllTrails will bring together case studies from their Public Lands Partners to have an open discussion about how they are working to mitigate these issues through their Public Lands program and contribute to improving the overall experience of visitors and staff.

Building Adaptive Trail Programming: Lessons from the Field

May 23, 2024

This webinar will introduce best practices for implementing an adaptive hiking program showcasing two successful programs.

More resources in this category

American Hiking Society National Trails Day® Event Host Guide (2023)

posted Apr 16, 2024

This guide will provide you with the following resources and knowledge you need to plan and promote a successful event for National Trails Day®.

League of American Bicyclists National Bike Month Guide (2023)

posted Apr 16, 2024

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. This step-by-step guide will help you in creating a successful Bike Month event in your community, workplace, city or state.

Making Transportation Planning Applicable in Tribal Communities Research Study: Final Report

posted Dec 20, 2023

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of Tribal Transportation (OTT) planning staff have observed two challenges in Tribal transportation planning: (1) that existing planning analysis tools do not always align with Tribal community context and needs and (2) it is not always clear what benefits planning provides to transportation project selection and delivery in Tribal communities.

Report to the Secretary of Agriculture USDA-Policy and Procedures Review and Recommendations: Indian Sacred Sites

posted Dec 20, 2023

This report and its appendices constitute a review of law, policy, and procedures, with recommendations for changes based on Tribal consultation and public comments.


2,204 views • posted 10/03/2019