Trail Features

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Trail Design

Singletrack

A narrow trail usually 18- to 24-inches wide requiring trail users to travel in single file. Singletrack trails tend to wind around obstacles such as trees, large rocks and bushes.

Doubletrack

A trail that allows for two users to travel side by side, or to pass without one user having to yield the trail.

Bridle Trails

As the name suggest this is a trail that is designed for pack animals or equestrian use. They may be part of a multi-use trail system but a Bridle trail will typically have a wider and taller corridor to accommodate animals and their riders.

Fire Road

An unimproved dirt or gravel road with a wide corridor providing access to remote locations for fire and other emergency vehicles.

Downhill

These trails can be designed in any number of ways but are easily identified by slopes that are not typical of a sustainable trail system. Due to high speed and trail obstacles such as drops, logs, etc. these are typically considered Advanced or Expert level trails.

Surface

Sand

Beachsand - Very loose and fine sand, usually very light in color. Very difficult to bike on as it is so loose.
Baseball Diamond Sand - Needs better name but this is a sand with more clay like characteristics. Can be formed and will hold it's shape, also holds moisture more than beach sand.

Dirt

Hardpack - Typical singletrack surface. Hard packed dirt which makes for smooth and stiff footing.
Clay - Absorbs and holds moisture, when wet turns greasy and with prolonged use will turn into ruts and drag the clay onto rocks making the rocks extremely slippery.
Mud
Loose Hardpack - Hardpacked soil with a layer of loose material on top. Makes for a very unpredictable surface.
Loam - Very loose dirt which tends to pile in corners but still maintains good traction.

Gravel

Microgravel - Very small pieces of rock used to make smooth and long lasting paths.
Stone - Predating modern equipment some older trails will be a bed of naturally small stones

Mixed

Usually caused by heavy erosion where the top layer of soil is washed away revealing roots and rocks. On fall line trails it's very common to find a loose dirt, stone mixed surface that creates an unstable trail surface.

Obstacles

Technical Trail Feature

From Wikipedia: A mountain/dirt biking term to describe added trail obstacles that provide an additional challenge. Often abbreviated as TTF.
In the summer of 2009 a TTF was added to the blue loop at Chimney Rock. Kirt and the gang dropped it in one evening during the week in what hopes to be the first of many. More discussion can be found on the message board Thread #12557.

Water Crossing

Can be as simple as shallow area where the trail descends a river/stream bank providing a flat, stable area to cross before ascending to the trail on the other side. More complex crossings use bridges, stepping stones, culverts or other construction to minimize the impact on the water crossing.

Drops

A drop can be anything from a wooden structure or log to a boulder or fallen tree. This element will have a drop off anywhere from 12" all the way to to a few feet or more. Full suspension bikes and protective gear are recommended for higher drops.

Trail Obstacles

Rocks, boulders, fallen trees, logs, and roots are only some of the trail obstacles that you may encounter. A trails difficulty rating will suggest the challenge and frequency of trail obstacles.

Rock Garden

A section of trail that features many large and small rocks. Length of these trail sections vary greatly and can offer a great challenge for Mountain bikers.

Special Features

Puncheons

Puncheon is a log or timber structure built on the ground for the purpose of crossing a boggy area. usually consists of sills, stringers, decking and often a soil or loose-gravel tread on top of the decking.

Turnpikes

A Turnpike is a trail building technique that uses a combination of gravel, soil or other filler material to make the tread higher than the surrounding water table. useful in low-lying areas with poor drainage

Boardwalks

A fixed planked structure, usually built on pilings in areas of wet soil or water to provide dry crossings.

Bridges

A structure, including supports, erected over a depression (stream, river, chasm, canyon or roand having a deck for carrying trail traffic.

References

Sources