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  1. #1
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    Idea! Criss Cross an Out and Back?

    This will be a vague description, I just want advice on if a trail system of this type would work.... We have an out and back here that is forced to be an "out and back" because it is on a thin sliver of elevation change. We want to make it a loop, but... On one side is a 45 degree or more grade (side of a bluff) and the other side is a drop off into a river. This "sliver" of land runs for about 1.5 miles and is at most a .25 of a mile or so wide.

    So we made an attempt at a full loop running up along the side of the bluff. It's much too steep and doesn't go well with the flow of the original out and back that is basically flowing, fast singletrack. Plans for the new trail also are not very sustainable because of the steepness of running this trail on the side of a freaking bluff.

    I thought of instead of a full loop, have an optional line from the main trail that runs maybe a 1/4 mile or so and then rejoins the main trail. Repeat this down the "sliver" of space we have here and you basically have a daisy chain trail with 3 or 4 "links".

    Is this type of trail advisable? I know this is probably too vague (and rambling and possibly not making sense) without seeing the land layout, features, etc.
    Last edited by TulsaClint; 04-09-2013 at 12:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: slocaus's Avatar
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    We are going to need a diagram or photos or something to help on this one.
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  3. #3
    Builder of Trails
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    It sounds like you're describing trail braiding. From a trail management and user conflict perspective, it can be difficult to manage. I think in your case it could enhance the user experience and minimize the conflict that happens with two way trails.

    As far as trail on the side of the hill, I built trail in northern CA on a 100%+ slope in an area that supposedly receives over 37" of rain a year with most of it in one four month period. It can be done, though the soil type, tree canopy, ground cover, grade reversals, etc. will affect sustainability.

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  4. #4
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    Reputation: Walt Dizzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TulsaClint View Post
    This will be a vague description, I just want advice on if a trail system of this type would work.... We have an out and back here that is forced to be an "out and back" because it is on a thin sliver of elevation change. We want to make it a loop, but... On one side is a 45 degree or more grade (side of a bluff) and the other side is a drop off into a river. This "sliver" of land runs for about 1.5 miles and is at most a .25 of a mile or so wide.

    So we made an attempt at a full loop running up along the side of the bluff. It's much too steep and doesn't go well with the flow of the original out and back that is basically flowing, fast singletrack. Plans for the new trail also are not very sustainable because of the steepness of running this trail on the side of a freaking bluff.

    I thought of instead of a full loop, have an optional line from the main trail that runs maybe a 1/4 mile or so and then rejoins the main trail. Repeat this down the "sliver" of space we have here and you basically have a daisy chain trail with 3 or 4 "links".

    Is this type of trail advisable? I know this is probably too vague (and rambling and possibly not making sense) without seeing the land layout, features, etc.
    I don't get what the optional links buy you that just having the trail as an out-and-back doesn't. Is it just for the sake of putting in more trail?

    With regards to the sustainablility of putting trail on a steep bluff side, is the bluff eroding? Otherwise unstable? Is it situated in such a way that the proposed trail would have a grade that isn't acceptable? It's difficult to comment on the desirability of building in this spot without being able to untangle the steepness of the side of the bluff with the grade of the trail built onto it.

    It is a lot of work to dig deep enough into a steep hillside to make an adequate bench cut, but you didn't say that was an issue.

    Walt

  5. #5
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    a topo of the area would be beneficial, if the sliver is over a 1000 feet wide, and the steep slopes start there,, or are the steep slopes included in the .25 mile width estimate. can you just mirror the initial train, remaining 200 feet away from it? I know some don't enjoy being able to see another trail while they ride, but sometimes those people just have to deal with it..

    I'd refrain from "chain links" too much possibility of head on traffic, I would think... but then again, you know your trail users better than anyone.

  6. #6
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    You talking a series of figure 8's stacked? That could be more manageable than a bunch of optional bulges.
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