Trail Construction

Trail Construction Skills Include:

    Construction Specifications

    Understand and apply common construction specifications/trail management objectives such as corridor height/width, tread width, cross/outslope, protrusions, obstacles, and compaction.

    Corridor Clearing

    Clear the corridor (brushing, logging out, hazard tree removal, rock/stump removal) in preparation for construction using proper pruning techniques.

    Hand-Built Trail Construction

    Using hand tools, construct a trail with a full bench, raised tread, and/or combination that meets the construction specifications.

    Mechanized Trail Construction

    Safely use and maintain mechanized trail construction equipment (i.e. mini-excavators, skid steers, trail dozers, compactors, etc) to construct trail that meets construction specifications.

    Trail Finishwork

    Utilize tools, often mechanical (i.e. excavators, harrow rakes, compact utility loaders, compactors), to meet specifications for final tread surface and backslope preparation and compaction, construction spoils management, and erosion control stabilization.

    Water Management/Drainage Features

    Construct drainage features that decrease erosion , including grade reversals, berms, ditches, and sheet drains.

    Water Crossing Structures

    Construct a water crossing structure (i.e. puncheon, turnpike, bridge) to span drainageways or wetland areas and raise the trail above the high water line while maintaining uninterrupted hydrology beneath the constructed feature.

    Retaining Walls

    Construct stone or wood retaining walls to bolster unconsolidated soils, gain elevation, or transition tread from rocks/natural barriers.

    Tread Hardening

    Install the appropriate treadway hardening technique for a trail given the slopes, soils, available material (wood, rock, gravel) and designed use, including advanced hardening techniques (i.e. turnpiking, rock culverts, boulder causeway, rock drains).

    Trailside Structures / Dispersed Recreation

    Build and maintain trail heads, parking lots, kiosks, sanitary facilities, camping facilities, traffic barriers, and directional signage.

    Decommissioning Trails

    Demonstrated ability to plan and implement the closure, reclamation, and revegetation of a trail segment.

Learn More

Resources for Trail Construction

Evaluating Erosion
Evaluating Erosion

One important factor that we examine when we assess the condition of a trail is the effect that erosion is having upon the trail surface. This video covers three of the most obvious signs of trail erosion: loose rocks, cuts and areas of deposition.…

Hand Tool Field Maintenance
Hand Tool Field Maintenance

We rely on hand tools to lop branches, dig drain dips, remove slough and berm, construct waterbars and check steps, and much more. As a result, hand tools receive a great deal of wear and tear. Learn about the most common tool problems that are…

Desert Brushing Techniques
Desert Brushing Techniques

In the second video of this series, we take a look at how to clear the trail corridor of brush, focusing on techniques specific to the desert environment. Keeping the corridor clear allows users to stay on the trail safely, protecting the…

Tread and Drainage
Tread and Drainage

Water and gravity constantly threaten our trails and thus we must learn how best to deflect them. This course begins with basics of hillside hydrology and how trails work when they shed water properly. Includes introduction of “trail eyes” and basic…

Further Education

Related Training Programs

See all training programs

Improve this skill

Upcoming Trainings for Trail Construction

Hand Built Trails - Intermediate
McDowell Tech Community College
McDowell Tech Community College
Hand Built Trails - Intermediate

February 21 - 23, 2024

Marion, North Carolina

Trails and Greenways Design, Construction, and Management
Halfmoon Education, Inc.
Halfmoon Education, Inc.
MTB Optimized Trails - Jump Line - Advanced
McDowell Tech Community College
McDowell Tech Community College
MTB Optimized Trails - Jump Line - Advanced

March 13 - 15, 2024

Old Fort, North Carolina

2024 Sustainable Trails Conference
Professional TrailBuilders Association
Professional TrailBuilders Association
Trail Skills Institute Module 5: Trail Construction
Arizona Trail Association
Arizona Trail Association
Trail Skills Institute Module 5: Trail Construction

April 27 - 28, 2024

Tucson, Arizona

Trail Skills College
Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club
Trail Skills College

May 16 - 20, 2024

Custom Trainings

There are 53 trainers on TrailSkills
with Trail Construction experience.


Jim Bedwell

Contractor Trainer

Golden, CO

Thirty-eight years of experience in the US Forest Service in landscape architecture, recreation…


Travis Taylor

Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship

Contractor Trainer Nonprofit

Santa Cruz, CA


Brooke Scatchard


Contractor Trainer

Morristown, VT

Brooke’s many years of experience in planning, building, and riding mountain bike trails provide a…


Matt Malone

Nature Trails, LLC

Contractor Trainer

Brevard, NC


Mike Riter

Trail Design Specialists (Georgia)

Contractor Trainer

Danielsville, GA

We are a full service trail company. Our services include trail design, construction and…


Jennifer Medina-Gray

Trainer Agency Corps

Albuquerque, NM

Search and sort all 53 trainers

Hire Workers

There are 207 profiles on TrailSkills
with Trail Construction experience.


Ally Davey

Contractor Nonprofit


Trail Co-ordinator for Ride Coromandel and Hauraki District Council


Darran Wells

Higher Education

Lander, WY

I have been teaching sustainable trail construction since 2010 as part of our Outdoor Education…


Blase Saucedo

NorthWoods Stewardship Center

Trainer Corps Nonprofit

Charleston, VT


Dustin London

Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA)


Littleton, CO

I have worked on trails for the last two years. The first year I was on a trails team and last…


Jerome Dumais

Eastern Trails, Inc.



Trailbuilduing company based in Mansonville, Quebec, Canada


Emily Paulson

City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks

Trainer Agency Corps Nonprofit

Boulder, CO

I'm a trail project manager with a background in leading, training & managing trail crew…

Search and sort all 207 workers

Suggest a Resource

Contact Us

Know of a good resource for this skill? Let us know! From webinars, to workshops, to PDFs, we'd like to add them to our resource library.

Let us know
Trail Skills Collaborators
Federal Highway Administration USDA Forest Service National Park Service Bureau of Land Management
American Trails Professional TrailBuilders Association Partnership for the National Trails System Northern Vermont University Northwest Arkansas Community College Eppley Institute Corps Network