Trail Amenities: What Will You Need?
Are you planning a bicycle-pedestrian trail?
Encourage trail use by including amenities that make your trail a comfortable, convenient, and safe place to exercise and socialize.
These multi-use trail systems attract diverse users – from pedestrians to bicyclists. Amenities will vary from trail to trail in order to accommodate your goals and the needs of your users.
A Quick Look by Common User Type
Pedestrian trail users typically include walkers, joggers, runners, and inline skaters. These users will appreciate trail amenities like trail benches, tables, and shaded rest areas – whether naturally through trees or artificially through commercial shade structures. Drinking fountains, restrooms, trash receptacles, and well-lit paths are also highly recommended.
Dog-friendly drinking fountains and waste stations with bag dispensers and a trash receptacle will attract pedestrian dog walkers and will encourage them to help keep the trail clean for other users.
While trailheads are the most common places for restrooms, drinking fountains, and other more permanent fixtures, amenities that provide rest and protection from the sun (like benches, tables, and shaded rest areas) can be strategically placed along the trail.
Bicyclists, much like pedestrian users, will enjoy benches, tables, and shaded rest areas. Bicycle racks and bicycle rack shelters will be an important amenity to include, encouraging biking along your greenway trail. Bike racks can be placed at trailheads near restrooms or within local parks that are connected by your trail.
Top 5 Must-Have Greenbelt Trail Furnishings
- Benches, Tables, and Trash Receptacles: Benches and tables provide a place to sit and rest along greenway trails or at trailheads. Choose a product that is comfortable and easy to maintain, like an expanded metal bench with a polyethylene coating. Additionally, opt for a bench or table that is offered with in-ground or surface mounting options, as this will help resist vandalism. These amenities are available in many different designs and colors that will easily blend into your trails’ aesthetics at any budget.
In addition to providing standard site furnishings like commercial outdoor benches and tables, trash receptacles dog waste stations with disposable bags are a trail must-have. They encourage users to keep your trail clean while also discouraging litter and unwanted dog waste. Opt for amenities that are specifically designed for the outdoors, such as trash receptacles made from perforated metal. A variety of designs, top styles, and colors are available for purchase. Recycling bins are another item that may be considered.
- Bicycle Racks or Shelters: To encourage cycling on your trail, bike racks should be provided and placed in critical areas such as near restrooms, trailheads, and parking areas so cyclists can securely park their bikes. Providing bike racks also discourages users from parking their bikes in unwanted areas and locking them to other amenities – like your newly purchased benches. A variety of bike rack designs are available and, depending on the design, can accommodate multiple bicycles. Bike rack shelters are another great amenity to include along your trail. These shelters, which include racks underneath, offer covered protection for users’ bikes.
- Drinking Fountains: Provide drinking fountains for both trail users and their pets. A variety of fountain designs are available – from single spigot to bi-level and pet. For the most bang for your buck, opt for a bi-level drinking fountain that incorporates a pet drinking fountain at the bottom. Installed correctly, a bi-level fountain meets ADA requirements allowing all trail-goers access.
- Informational Signage Stations: Informational signage and message centers can provide users with information about your trail, such as a trail map, mile markers, restroom locations, and more. The best long-term solution for displaying trail information is an all-steel message center or kiosk with lockable display cases to prohibit vandalism. These centers come in a variety of designs and can have 2, 3, or even 4 sides for displaying information. This solution is low-maintenance and cost-effective.
- Restroom Shelters: To maximize the length of time a trail goer can spend on your trail, include a restroom shelter at every trailhead. If utilities prohibit you from having a full-service restroom with running water, consider portable restrooms with privacy screens.
Ready to get started designing your trail’s amenities? We are experts on that! Let us help you pick the right tables, benches, and trash receptacles, design a practical informational kiosk, and help you dream up the perfect restroom shelter.
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Designing for User Type. Retrieved from https://www.railstotrails.org/build-trails/trail-building-toolbox/design...
Appendix I: Trail Design Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.piercecountywa.org/DocumentCenter/View/4979/Chp_Appx_I_Trail_...