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Trail Maintenance & Reconstruction

Southfork Cottonwood Creek Trail in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT

Trail constructed across rocky cliff face. This "before" photo is before maintenance on the Southfork Cottonwood Creek Trail, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT.


All trails eventually need maintenance. Common maintenance needs include, but are not limited to:

  • Vegetation clearance
  • Clearance of downed trees
  • Repairing existing trail drainage
  • Adding new trail drainage
  • Hardening trail tread in wet or soft soils
  • Adding erosion-limiting devices
  • Reducing steep tread grades by adding constructed risers or steps
  • Repairing or reshaping the trail surface, including removing or covering rocks and roots
  • Repairing or rebuilding drainage crossings
  • Repairing trail structures
  • Adding new surfacing (soil, crushed stone) to replace material lost to trail wear and erosion

If you have detailed specifications for maintenance, we'll follow those. Otherwise, we can suggest a reasonable maintenance strategy along with a cost estimate. Trust our experienced crews to do a quality job.


Severely degraded trails may require reconstruction. Depending on the situation, reconstruction may include, but is not limited to:

  • Extensive regrading of the tread and trailbed
  • Importing material to fill trail ruts
  • Narrowing tread that has become excessively wide or braided
  • Hardening or elevating some or all of the tread
  • Advanced or extensive trail drainage work
  • Rebuilding or replacing bridges and trail structures

As with maintenance, we'll follow your detailed specs or we can design an effective reconstruction strategy for you.


If a trail has a fundamentally unsustainable relationship with its site or use, rerouting it is often a more sustainable, more satisfactory, and less expensive solution than continued maintenance or reconstruction. In reroutes, the former alignment is usually obliterated. Cost for reroutes is similar to new trail design/construction plus the cost of restoring the old trail to the level you prefer.

If you have a detailed plan for a reroute, we'll follow it. Otherwise, we can work with you to determine whether your most effective solution is continued maintenance, reconstruction, or a reroute, then suggest a effective strategy/design and estimate the cost.

For more information