Natural Surface Trail Design for Landscape Architects


Natural surface trail design requires the knowledge of micro hydrology and an understanding of soil displacement. We will discuss necessary steps to plan a sustainable trail on a parcel of land, taking into consideration drainage and sheet flow. We will show examples of failures on natural surface and improved surface on trails an highlight what design aspects led to these failures. We will then identify how to utilize contour information to sustainably design a trail from concept to construction.


Sean Bigsby has worked in the trail field the past 3 years for S&S Trail Services. During his tenure as Trails Specialist he has led classes on sustainable trail design, coordinated trail work days involving volunteers and mechanized equipment and has been learning how to mountain bike.





Ryan Spates has been a professional trail builder since 2003 and has led over 100 projects in Texas and surrounding states. His passion for the outdoors and trail use have led him to explore trail construction as a method of enriching the health of the populace while protecting the environment they are passing through. Through the Professional Trail Builders Association, Ryan has been involved in advocating for the construction of trails by qualified professional contractors partnering with volunteer groups.

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