4.1 Foot Trails
  • Hiking (backcountry trails)
  • Walking (surfaced frontcountry trails)
  • Interpretive trails (See special section)
Apply Hiking Trails Standards

Use these guidelines to match park management zone objectives with the trail design, construction specifications and use. The guidelines for all other types of park trails, such as horse and bicycle trails, use a similar classification system.

Type I

  • plan high standard short walks, 5 minutes to 30 minutes duration,
  • design to accommodate a steady flow of two-way foot traffic during peak periods of use,
  • provide base course and surfaced tread, 2 metres wide,
  • set maximum 8% grades, preferred average grade no more than 5%,
  • make accessible to wheel-chairs,
  • provide interpretive signs, benches, viewing area where appropriate,
  • use in day use areas, viewpoints, campgrounds,
  • use as ski trails in winter if criteria are met.
  • Intensive Recreation Zone
  • Natural Environment Zone
  • Special Feature Zone (in some circumstances)
Type II
  • plan as walking trails, 10 minutes to 2 hour duration,
  • 1-6 km long,
  • these trails often lead to higher elevation points of interest,
  • design at 1.25m wide, may be surfaced, suitable for walking two abreast,
  • set maximum 10% grades, preferred average grade no more than 5-8%,
  • use in day use areas, viewpoints, campgrounds, interpretive areas, or as access to backcountry trails,
  • consider as ski touring trails in winter if criteria are met.
  • Intensive Recreation Zone
  • Natural Environment Zone
  • Special Feature Zone (in some circumstances)
Type III
  • plan as hiking trails, single file, 1-7 hour day use to multi-day or overnight duration, 3-20km or more long,
  • day use hiking trails often lead to higher elevation points of interest,
  • provide .75m tread maximum, 15% maximum gradient,
  • could have support facilities such as developed campsites and pit toilets,
  • consider as ski touring trail if criteria are met.
  • Natural Environment Zone
  • Special Feature Zone (in some circumstances)
  • Wilderness Zone
Type IV
  • plan as lightly used wilderness hiking trails, overnight or multi-day duration,
  • provide .50m tread maximum, gradients as required,
  • avoid tread grubbing, place signs where required,
  • would not normally have support facilities such as developed campsites, may have pit toilets as required.
  • Wilderness Zone
Type V
  • leave as wilderness hiking route, avoid trail development,
  • overnight or multi-day duration,
  • hikers may use wildlife trails, creeks or other natural features,
  • routes may be over passes or snowfields,
  • no signs, campsites or other facilities,
  • may have restrictions on camping locations.

  • Wilderness Zone
Layout and Length
  • Design Type I and 11 trails as loops or stacked loops.

  • Design Type III and IV trails to match the park topography and features, use loop routes where possible.
Grades

Design grades to match the trail type, varying from gentle uniform grades of 5% for Type I trails to 15% for Type IV trails.

Clearing and Treads

  • Design the clearing and tread width to match the trail type. Type I trails are the widest, with surfaced treads and Type IV trails the narrowest with no special tread surface treatment.

  • Modify the clearing width if the trail will be used as a ski touring route.

  • Select tread surface materials according to the class of trail and cost of construction. Use local materials where possible.
Structures
  • Design structures in accordance with the trail type. Type I trails may need engineered bridges, while Type IV trails may not use bridges at all, or use simple two-log crossings.

  • Avoid all support facilities such as developed campsites on Type V routes. Minimize facility development on Type IV trails. Build suitable campsites and waste facilities on Type III trails.

  • Consider winter use if the trail plans include cabins in remote areas. Plan for wood stove use, firewood storage, winter snowpack, winter entrances, and design and materials resistant to damage by wildlife (eg. porcupines or bears).
Trail Signs and Related Facilities
  • Provide trailhead signs and en route trail distance markers. Provide trail signs at all trail junctions, with directional arrows to show the way back to the trailhead.

  • Provide trailhead registration boxes or other registration means on Type III, IV, and V trails and routes.

  • Provide adequate parking, waste disposal, toilets, water supply and other services as appropriate for the type of trail. (See also separate sections on trail signs, services and facilities).