Planning a healthy trail system

By Matt De Young

What makes a good trail experience for a mountain biker? Is it immersion in nature, technical challenge, a place to enjoy with friends, or simply a place to get a good workout? Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things for some, or just one or two of these components for others. These are things that must be considered when a land manager is considering building new trails. A well planned trail system should satisfy the needs of a diverse user group. It should provide options for beginners and options more fitting for intermediate and advanced riders.

A thorough trail builder starts off the process of trail design by assessing the purpose of the trail. Is this trail simply a connection between point A and point B? Or is this trail being constructed to deliver a specific experience? A trail …