Unpaved Non-Motorized Trail Guidelines

We all know a good trail when we’re on one. We’re not disoriented due to lack of signage or markers. We’re not climbing over downed trees or ducking under branches, and we’re not slogging through water or mud unless we’ve been forewarned beforehand. A good trail is one where we can fully enjoy our surroundings while challenging ourselves if that is our intent. Trails should provide for a variety of trail distances, loops, ecosystems, scenery and degrees of difficulty. As trail professionals, we should strive to make the best possible experience for users and learn from the past.

by Florida Office of Greenways and Trails

This manual is intended to inform organizations on the development or reconstruction of trails in the state of Florida, specifically providing design guidelines for unpaved hiking, cycling, equestrian and multiple-use trails in Florida. Trails are a gateway to nature and provide users with a means of learning about Florida’s diverse ecology and natural settings. A successful trail design requires an ability to recognize existing uses and user groups, while planning for future recreational needs.

While design criteria vary from organizations at the state and federal level, these guidelines are intended to be a broad base of information to begin the thought process of creating a trail. This document should be ideally used in addition to a collaborative trail design process with a professional design and engineering firm.

About the Author


The Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT), within the Division of Recreation & Parks, provides statewide leadership and coordination to establish, expand and promote non-motorized trails that make up the Florida Greenways and Trails System.

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