Trail Building

Step by Step

How to Build Trails

How to Build Trails

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    • Metal Rake
    • Hedge Clippers
    • Hatchet
    • Eye Protection
    • Gloves
    • Plastic Bin

Pick Your Path

If you don’t have a path you need to take, consider taking one that avoids the largest and hardest to move objects.  I choose to avoid the tree to the left of the picture as it’s a vital part of the forest, too large too move easily and can easily be avoided.  The smaller shrubs can be moved with a little brute force so those are not as worrisome.

Clear the Path.

This is where you get to show off your muscles, and as a distance runner I have some, just not in my arms.  So I like to get a little dead-lifting in by grabbing the shrubs and just pulling them up by the roots.  The shrubs have very little root base and come up surprisingly easily.  The slightly larger shrubs can be bent at the base by the ground and then finished off with a hatchet (don’t forget your eye protection).  Once you’ve moved the larger objects, take your hedge clippers and prune any of the branches outside of your path that are growing towards it.  This way you won’t have to deal and leaves or branches in your face when walking on the new path any time soon.  I like to take any bigger logs and limbs I find and lay them down as outlines to the path.  Giving the path a more defined route is pleasing to the eye.

Rake the Path

While the path is clear of most obstructions, it still doesn’t “look” like a path.  Using the metal rake this is the point where your path will start to materialize.  Remove all detritus from your path so it’s just dirt and things stuck in the ground remaining.  I like to rake the outline of my path first so I know exactly where I need to go and then finish the middle.  This can take a surprising amount of effort, compounded when you have a dog who likes to attack the rake, to rake though the smaller vines growing from the ground.

Weed the Path

Yup, that’s right, gotta finish off the path by tearing up all of the small vines and roots you find in the path.  If you have any stumps left in the path from taking down shrubs or junk trees this is also the time to hack at them until you can pull them out of bury them in dirt.  They’ll blend into the path and become a tripping hazard if you let them remain.  Once you’ve pulled up everything give the path a light rake with the flat portion of the rake to do a little bit of leveling and poof! You’ve got yourself a new segment of trail!


Christo Landry

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