Trail Building Guidelines

The Friends believe backcountry trails in Strathcona Park should:

  1. have minimal impact on the environment, and
  2. provide safe passage for hikers.

The following guidelines for trail building and maintenance try to achieve these two goals. As our experience grows, these guidelines may be added to or altered, but the guiding principles will remain the same.

  • The trail tread should not be wider than 18 inches (45 cm).
  • No damage to or cutting of tree root structures.
  • Branches and bushes clipped only when they interfere with safe passage.
  • Windfalls cut only when they interfere with safe passage.
  • Elimination of tripping hazards (potholes or slight protrusions) by leveling of surface where practical.
  • Where existing contours are flat and stable, leave it alone!.
  • No blazing or permanent marking of trees.
  • Place stepping stones to not interfere with natural water flows.
  • Trails should not “fight the country” – use natural contours whenever possible.
  • Avoid low, wet places whenever possible.
  • If trail ascends steeply, place natural water bars to prevent erosion.
  • Use natural materials in trail construction whenever possible.
  • Integrate natural features into the trail whenever possible (dead trees, stone outcrops, flat stretches, shallowest water crossings etc.).
  • Route choice should include aesthetics as a consideration, as long as that choice is consistent with all parameters above.


  1. excellent guidelines

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