Glossary of Trail Building Terms

  1. Access Point: Locations where users can enter or exit a trail.
  2. Adaptive Management: Adjusting management practices based on monitoring and experience.
  3. Alignment: The layout or routing of a trail.
  4. Aqueduct: A constructed channel to carry water across a trail.
  5. Armoring: Using rock or other hard materials to protect the trail surface from erosion.
  6. Aspect: The compass direction that a slope faces.
  7. Backslope: The cut side of the trail above the tread, usually angled for drainage.
  8. Bench Cut: A type of trail construction where the trail is cut into the side of a slope.
  9. Berms: Raised banks or walls often found on the outer edge of turns.
  10. Bike-Optimized Trail: A trail specifically designed for mountain bike use.
  11. Borrow Pit: An area where soil or fill material is taken to be used elsewhere.
  12. Braiding: Multiple trails created when users create new paths around muddy or eroded sections.
  13. Bridging: Using timber, stone, or other materials to span a wet or sensitive area.
  14. Buffer Zone: An area surrounding a trail that protects natural or cultural features.
  15. Camouflaging: Making features or trail segments blend into the natural environment.
  16. Climbing Turn: A switchback designed for uphill travel.
  17. Connector Trail: A trail that links two or more primary trails.
  18. Corridor: The entire width of a trail, including the tread and the vegetated area on either side.
  19. Crib Wall: A retaining structure made of logs or rocks, filled with soil.
  20. Cross Slope: The angle of the trail surface relative to the horizon.
  21. Crown: A raised center of a trail to promote water shedding.
  22. Culvert: A pipe or channel that allows water to flow under a trail.
  23. Daylighting: Creating openings in the forest canopy to allow more sunlight onto the trail.
  24. Deberming: Removing the raised outer edge of a trail to improve drainage.
  25. Duff: The layer of decaying plant material on the forest floor.
  26. Equestrian Trail: A trail specifically designed for horseback riding.
  27. Erosion: The wearing away of the trail surface by natural forces like water and wind.
  28. Fall Line: The most direct route down a slope, often where water flows and erosion occurs.
  29. Filter: A barrier or obstacle used to prevent unauthorized access to a trail.
  30. Flow Trail: A type of mountain bike trail designed for smoothness and speed.
  31. Ford: A shallow place in a river or stream where it can be crossed by wading or riding.
  32. Full Bench: A trail construction method where the entire tread is built from cut material.
  33. Gargoyles: Rocks or logs placed to guide users and prevent them from shortcutting a switchback.
  34. Grade: The steepness of the trail, often expressed as a percentage.
  35. Grade Reversal: A dip followed by a rise in a trail's alignment to divert water.
  36. Half Bench: A trail construction where half the tread is cut and the other half is fill.
  37. Hardening: Strengthening the trail surface using gravel or other materials.
  38. Impervious Surface: A surface that does not allow water to pass through.
  39. Inslope: When the trail surface is tilted into the hillside.
  40. Kiosk: An informational sign or board at a trailhead.
  41. Kick: The rise at the end of a feature, like a jump.
  42. Knicks: Shallow drainage ditches cut into the trail to divert water.
  43. Landing: A designated area for users to land safely after a jump or drop.
  44. Lopper: A tool used to trim branches and vegetation.
  45. LNT (Leave No Trace): An ethical principle promoting conservation in outdoor settings.
  46. McLeod: A two-sided trail tool with a rake on one side and a flat blade on the other.
  47. Multi-Use Trail: A trail designed for different types of users, such as hikers, bikers, and horse riders.
  48. Outslope: When the trail surface is tilted away from the hillside.
  49. Puncheon: A raised platform used to cross boggy or wet areas.
  50. Reroute: Creating a new path to avoid sensitive or eroded areas.
  51. Retaining Wall: A structure that holds back soil or rock from the trail.
  52. Riprap: Loose stone used to form a foundation or protect against erosion.
  53. Roller: A mound of soil or rock that users can roll over.
  54. Sight Line: The visible distance ahead on a trail.
  55. Singletrack: A narrow trail typically wide enough for one user at a time.
  56. Switchback: A sharp turn in a trail that allows it to ascend or descend steep terrain.
  57. Tabletop: A type of jump with a flat top.
  58. Technical Feature: A trail obstacle challenging the user's skills, such as rocks or roots.
  59. Tread: The surface of the trail where users walk or ride.
  60. Trail Crew: A team responsible for trail construction, maintenance, and repair.
  61. Trail Ethics: The principles guiding responsible and respectful trail use and construction.
  62. Trail Fork: A point where a trail splits into two or more directions.
  63. Trail Marker: Signs or blazes used to guide users.
  64. Trail Stewardship: The responsibility of maintaining and preserving trails for future use.
  65. Trail Technical Feature (TTF): Built or natural features on a trail intended to enhance the user's experience or challenge.
  66. Trailhead: The start or entry point of a trail.
  67. Turnpike: A raised section of trail, often built with logs or rocks, used in wet areas.
  68. Water Bar: A barrier or dip that diverts water off the trail.
  69. Widowmaker: A dead tree or branch that poses a fall hazard.