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  1. #1
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    Build a MTB trail on your own property?..

    My wife and I are looking at buying a particular home that sits on roughly 8 acres, most of which is heavily wooded with a gradual slope downward from the back of the home. Based on the survey and based on our walking of a good chunk of the area, it seems to descend quite a bit, then flatten out (with a small creek crossing), followed by another descent and concluding with a small climb to the end of the property. Overall, I'd guess that the area in question is roughly 6.5 acres overall and pretty much rectangular in shape.

    With that being said, how hard or expensive would you estimate it would be to build a trail on this property? With the limited amount of land to work with, how long of a trail (round trip/out and back) could I possibly create? I certainly don't to be able to build a nice network or anything of the sort, but if I could squeeze out a few miles or so of single track out of this undeveloped property, I'd be beyond thrilled. Lastly, I don't know a lick about building or maintaining trails, so I'd certainly need a ton of help.

    Thanks in advance for any advice..

  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Build a MTB trail on your own property?..

    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    My wife and I are looking at buying a particular home that sits on roughly 8 acres, most of which is heavily wooded with a gradual slope downward from the back of the home. Based on the survey and based on our walking of a good chunk of the area, it seems to descend quite a bit, then flatten out (with a small creek crossing), followed by another descent and concluding with a small climb to the end of the property. Overall, I'd guess that the area in question is roughly 6.5 acres overall and pretty much rectangular in shape.

    With that being said, how hard or expensive would you estimate it would be to build a trail on this property? With the limited amount of land to work with, how long of a trail (round trip/out and back) could I possibly create? I certainly don't to be able to build a nice network or anything of the sort, but if I could squeeze out a few miles or so of single track out of this undeveloped property, I'd be beyond thrilled. Lastly, I don't know a lick about building or maintaining trails, so I'd certainly need a ton of help.

    Thanks in advance for any advice..
    We can not tell you much without walking the property.

    You could potentially cover the whole thing with trail and have many miles of tread.

    How hard to do? Also depends on the terrain and plants.
    Expensive? Can cost nothing but a few tools and a lot of time.

    Whatever you do, do your research, learn how to layout and build fun sustainable trails, and take your time. Rush it and you will not enjoy the trails and spend too much effort fixing problems.
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  3. #3
    cowbell
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    What Shiggy said. Your name is Roanoke - if you're near Roanoke Va, make friends with RIMBA. Ask one of their trail guys to look at the land. Go play with them on workdays, learn how to build trail, what tools you'll need, and help them out. Then, when you're at home, and bored, you can go build your own trail.

  4. #4
    Builder of Trails
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    A rough estimate for length of trail per a given area is one kilometer to one mile of trail for every 10 acres. One mile is pretty dense but can still be flowy and fun on a 10 acre parcel if the land allows it.

    D

  5. #5
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    I'd be willing to put in a competitive bid to build, FWIW.
    I have a pretty strong resume (including an IMBA scholarship to the summit in whistler, and about 30 miles of stuff here in Teton Valley that I have been heavily involved with. I am pretty reasonable, too! ;-)
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  6. #6
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    I have 40 acres, of which 35 is mix of light woods,dense woods,and a 15 foot fall to a ravine/creek. I have been working towards a network of trails over the past two years. The three specialized tools I would recommend to get up to speed quick are:

    1.Brush Cutter ( I bought a Sthil 430 and replaced the stock blade with a 7-1/4 circular saw blade. It works on everything up to about a 3'' tree.

    2. Hand tools, Get a Rogue Hoe- The one with the hoe on one side and the rake on the other. Extremely well made tool that works great for smoothing tread. Standard hard toothed rakes, flat and round shovels all are handy.

    3. Pole saw (powered or non if you get a sthil kombi unit you can use the same power head for the pole saw and brushcutter) This makes quick work of the face slappers and allows you to trim higher than just with manual loppers


    Even with the added tools its a slow go. Round up a couple friends interested in biking and in a sweat filled day you can knock out some serious trail. You will respect established singletrack much more the next time you ride.

    I walked my property several times before i cut anything with a gps unit and looked at the tracks in google earth to see what made the most sense.

    Just got clearance from the boss to add a Kubota to the mix..... Pump track and some in trail tabletops & banks are on the short list to add to the trails now.

  7. #7
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    A few miles? It'll look like the lines at Disneyland.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    My wife and I are looking at buying a particular home that sits on roughly 8 acres, most of which is heavily wooded with a gradual slope downward from the back of the home. Based on the survey and based on our walking of a good chunk of the area, it seems to descend quite a bit, then flatten out (with a small creek crossing), followed by another descent and concluding with a small climb to the end of the property. Overall, I'd guess that the area in question is roughly 6.5 acres overall and pretty much rectangular in shape.

    With that being said, how hard or expensive would you estimate it would be to build a trail on this property? With the limited amount of land to work with, how long of a trail (round trip/out and back) could I possibly create? I certainly don't to be able to build a nice network or anything of the sort, but if I could squeeze out a few miles or so of single track out of this undeveloped property, I'd be beyond thrilled. Lastly, I don't know a lick about building or maintaining trails, so I'd certainly need a ton of help.

    Thanks in advance for any advice..
    where do you live? hook up with your local trail organization, volunteer and learn how to build. you could probably squeeze in a mile long trail, spice it up by adding trail features...log rides, some skinnies, maybe a few jumps.
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  9. #9
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    ^
    6 acres is pretty small for MTN bike trails. I think one option is to slow down the action. Check It. And according to the description this was done on 4.5 achors.

  10. #10
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    Here's a vid of what I did on 5 acres. I think I put in about 3 full days of work on the weekends, and probably around 4 days after work where I put in around 2 hours each. The time consuming part was clearing all the saplings. I didn't want any stumps left, so I got most up roots and all. My GPS shows 0.62 miles on 5 acres. That doesn't sound like much, but I made it as difficult as possible and can only average around 3mph.


    This is the first trail I've built but here's the method I used:
    1 - Walk 20-30 yards and try to find a natural path that would require minimal work.
    2 - Also look for any interesting features I might want to hit with the trail.
    3 - Go through that area clearing all saplings and other things that could eat my trimmer line
    4 - Use the trimmer and strip everything away down to the dirt

    Tools used:
    Stihl FS 130R with .105 line. Had to use line because of all the rocks.
    Mattock
    Hatchet
    Axe
    Pole Saw


  11. #11
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Build a MTB trail on your own property?..

    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Here's a vid of what I did on 5 acres. I think I put in about 3 full days of work on the weekends, and probably around 4 days after work where I put in around 2 hours each. The time consuming part was clearing all the saplings. I didn't want any stumps left, so I got most up roots and all. My GPS shows 0.62 miles on 5 acres. That doesn't sound like much, but I made it as difficult as possible and can only average around 3mph.


    This is the first trail I've built but here's the method I used:
    1 - Walk 20-30 yards and try to find a natural path that would require minimal work.
    2 - Also look for any interesting features I might want to hit with the trail.
    3 - Go through that area clearing all saplings and other things that could eat my trimmer line
    4 - Use the trimmer and strip everything away down to the dirt

    Tools used:
    Stihl FS 130R with .105 line. Had to use line because of all the rocks.
    Mattock
    Hatchet
    Axe
    Pole Saw

    Step 1 may not get you the best or most interesting trail.

    The "easy" way usually does not have the best flow nor be very sustainable. Better to find the interesting features, find the best route to connect them, and spend the time and effort to built it right. The future payback is worth it. If I have not moved my flagging 6-8 times I probably have not found the best options.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Step 1 may not get you the best or most interesting trail.

    The "easy" way usually does not have the best flow nor be very sustainable. Better to find the interesting features, find the best route to connect them, and spend the time and effort to built it right. The future payback is worth it. If I have not moved my flagging 6-8 times I probably have not found the best options.
    Yeah, I forgot to mention that I spent a lot of time looking over my property with google maps, walked it several times, and used a GPS to help map things out.

    My main goal was to get something established before it got warm enough for snakes and ticks to be a problem. Next fall or winter I'll probably modify the trail and use what I've learned from this first build.

    Thanks for the tips!

  13. #13
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    Here's what 0.6 miles looks like on 5 acres.

    Build a MTB trail on your own property?..-bike-trail.jpg

  14. #14
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    I'll bet you could build a nice 6-8 minute loop, 4 laps and you did a workout.
    A long time ago my dad had 15 acres, I built about a 20-25 minute trail on that. It was pretty well wooded and brushy (salal and huckleberry mostly), but crisscrossed a bit with logging roads. It turned out really good, that was a fun place to ride and workout.
    Walk all over it a whole bunch of times, draw out possible trail flow on a plat map, walk it a bunch more times with other riders, get some input from the local trailbuilders. Walk it a bunch more times, then start cutting/digging.
    90% of what I used was hand clippers, IMO at some point you end up clipping stuff off close to the ground. Once I pushed a rotary lawnmower around the entire loop, what a workout!, that did a great job of cleaning the small stuff off.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Here's what 0.6 miles looks like on 5 acres.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    How undulating is this piece of land?? It looks pretty flat but I know how decieveing google earth is? I have 5 acres of land as well but it has a huge slope off the back, probably 2 acres of it are sloped with 1 acre of flat on the bottom of the hill and 2 acres of flat up top.

  16. #16
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    The entire piece of land has a slope to it, so the trail consists of very little flat ground. The slopes aren't extreme though except for a few sections of trail which have very challenging but short climbs.

  17. #17
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    Build a MTB trail on your own property?..

    Awesome. Thanks for the response. My property had a pretty big slope, I would say 15 degree, for part of it. Should make for some nice downhill sections as well as a technical switch backed climb back up.

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