We’ve been looking to install steps and walkways on the slope in our back yard to help with traction and erosion. We really dig the unsurfaced trails and metal roof look prevalent in PNW state parks, so naturally the search for literature on the subject began; here’s what we’ve dug up so far.
NPS and USFS have been doing trail construction and maintenance for years!
The National Park Service and USDA Forest Service have loads of trail construction knowledge and experience. We’ve found a variety of documents from scanned, typewritten manuals of the 1930s to modern, digitally typeset PDFs with CAD drawings:
- USDA Forest Service Standard Trail Plans and Specifications
- North Country National Scenic Trail Handbook
- NPS Trails Construction Manual – April 1935
- New Jersey Trail Conference – Trail Maintenance Manual
How and where to construct a trail is a matter of some complexity; we’re grateful these resources are available to help us make sense of elements like drainage and materials, but also for their imperative to stay as near to the natural surroundings as possible.