The Kid Should See This

What are the secrets to designing great hiking trails?

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What do designers like trail ecologist Dr. Jeffery Marion need to think about when they create a new path through nature? This By Design Vox video lists some of the factors that make a safe, enjoyable, and durable hiking trail.

“Designing a hiking trail seems simple enough: It has to take a person from A to B, pass through scenic nature, and last through years of wear and tear. And for most of human history, trails did that without much intentional design at all.

“But as trails shifted from essential transportation to a recreational destination, the way we make them did, too. Now, hidden in every trail is a carefully made design language of angles, alignment, and materials that keep them enjoyable for generations.”

water damage
Considerations include finding “anchors” that frame the path, guiding hikers to scenic spots while protecting sensitive areas, and keeping the path “hydrologically invisible,” all while crafting an experience that makes hikers feel like they’re navigating through untouched wilderness.

design considerations

Watch these handpicked videos next on TKSST:
β€’Β One year on a forest trail in Northern Minnesota
β€’Β The power of creative constraints
β€’ What counts as a mountain?
β€’Β Hoh Rainforest, Washington State’s temperate rainforest
β€’Β Riding a β€œBeyond Expert” mountain bike trail in British Columbia

Plus: How a kingfisher, an owl, and a penguin helped redesign Japan’s Shinkansen.

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