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Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access

Chapter 5 - Trail Design for Access

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5.7 Conclusion

Everyone should have the opportunity to experience and enjoy the natural environment. People with and without disabilities, older people, families, and children all benefit from being able to enjoy parks and forests. To the maximum extent feasible, trails should be designed to accommodate the access needs of all designated users. Considering accessibility when designing trails and installing accessible built facilities such as wheelchair-accessible toilets, Braille displays in visitor centers, and lowered drinking fountains will permit more people to enjoy the outdoors. In addition, providing detailed information about existing path conditions and available facilities can help visitors select trails. Such trail information reduces the likelihood that a trail user will become stranded or endangered and can improve safety and visitor enjoyment. Although increased use might be accompanied by increased conflicts between different types of trail users, land managers can minimize friction between groups by using good trail-management techniques.

Table 5-4.1: Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Maximum Allowable Running Slope without Landings and Handrails

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
ADA Standards for Access. Design1 (US DOJ, 1991) AR 52     
UFAS (US DoD, et al., 1984) AR 52      

1 The ADA Standards for Accessible Design are identical in content to ADAAG Sections 1_10. However, the Design Standards are enforceable by the U.S. Department of Justice.

2 The ADA Standards for Accessible Design and UFAS both require people to use the least slope possible on accessible routes. An accessible route with a running slope greater than 5% is considered a ramp whose slope should be the least possible but may not exceed 8.33% (see Table 5-5.1).

Table 5-4.2: Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations for Maximum Allowable Running Grade

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities... (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) ORAR   5 5 8
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) RT   5 8 12

Table 5-4.3: Federal Guidelines for Maximum Allowable Running Grade

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) H   n/a n/a n/a
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1997, Draft) S 5      
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1991) B 5      
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) E   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) X   7.5 12 17
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) SM   8 n/a 15
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) ATV   15 25 35
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-4.4: State, County, and City Guidelines for Maximum Allowable Running Grade

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
Klamath District's Trail. . . (Beers, 1993, Draft) ORAR 5      
NM Plan for Accessible Fishing (Nordhaus, et al., 1984) ORAR   5 6.3 8.33
Access to Parks Guidelines (CA State Parks, 1997) RT   < 5 5 6.3
Ped. Facilities Guidebook for WA DOT (WA DOT, 1997) RT   5 8.33 12.5
Alaska Region Trails Const. (USDA FS, AK Reg. FS, 1991) H   n/a n/a n/a
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) H 10      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trials Pgm., 1980b) H 10      
FL Bicycle Facilities Planning. . . (FL DOT. . ., 1997) S 5      
Oregon Bicycle and Ped. Plan (OR DOT, 1995) S 5      
Pitkin City Trails Dgn. and Mgt. . . . (Cimarron Designs, 1994) S 5      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) B 15      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) B n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) B 5      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) B 15      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) E 15      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) E 10      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) E 15      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) E 15      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) X     8 17
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) SM 25      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) SM 25      
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) ATV 75      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) ATV n/a      
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-4.5: Additional Recommendations for Maximum Allowable Running Grade

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995)1 ORAR   5 8 10
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) ORAR   5 5 8.33
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995)1 RT   8 10 14
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) RT   5 8.33 12.5
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) H 15      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) S 5      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) B 10      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) B 8      
Mountain Bike Trails: Tech for. . . (McCoy and Stoner, 1992) MB   5 10 15
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) E 10      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) E 10      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) X 10      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) X 5      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) SM 25      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) SM n/a      
OHM and ATV Trails Guidelines for Dgn. . . . (Wemex, 1994) ATV   8 12 15

1 Maximum allowable average grade not running grade.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-5.1: Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Maximum Slope for a Specified Ramp Run with Landings and Handrails

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m
ADA Standards for Access. Design (US DOJ, 1991) AR 8.331 9.1            
UFAS (US DoD, et al., 1984) AR 8.331 9.1            

1 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and UFAS both require people to use the least slope possible on accessible routes.

Table 5-5.2: Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations for Maximum Grade for a Specified Distance (Run)

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) ORAR     8 9.1 10 15.2 10 15.2
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) RT     10 9.1 14 15.2 20 15.2

Table 5-5.3: Federal Guidelines for Maximum Grade for a Specified Distance (Run)

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) H     20 30.5 30 91.4 +30 152.4
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1997, Draft) S +11 15            
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1991) B n/a n/a            
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) E     15 61 25 91.4 +30 152.4
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) X     10 30.5 20 30.5 n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) SM     25 n/a1 n/a n/a 35 n/a1
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) ATV     20 60.0 30 91.4 50 152.4

1 The requirement was for maximum pitch, no distance was specified.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-5.4: State, County, and City Guidelines for Maximum Grade for a Specified Distance (Run)

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m
Klamath District's Trail. . . (Beers, 1993, Draft) ORAR 8.33 9.1            
NM Plan for Accessible Fishing (Nordhaus, et al., 1984) ORAR     8.33 9.1 8.33 9.1 8.33 9.1
Access to Parks Guidelines (CA State Parks, 1997) RT     5 15.2 6.3 12.2 8.33 9.1
Ped. Facilities Guidebook for WA DOT (WA DOT, 1997) RT     8.33 9.1 14 15.2 20 15.2
Alaska Region Trails Const. (USDA FS, AK Reg. FS, 1991) H     20 30.5 30 91.4 +30 152.4
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) H 15 n/a1            
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trials Pgm., 1980b) H 20 n/a2            
FL Bicycle Facilities Planning. . . (FL DOT. . ., 1997) S 11 15.2            
Oregon Bicycle and Ped. Plan (OR DOT, 1995) S 8.33 9.1            
Pitkin City Trails Dgn. and Mgt. . . . (Cimarron Designs, 1994) S 10 15.2            
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) B 30 152.4            
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) B 5 91.4            
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) B n/a n/a            
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) B 30 30.5            
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) E 25 30.5            
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) E 15 45.7            
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) E n/a n/a            
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) E 25 30.5            
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) X     n/a n/a 10 n/a1 20 n/a1
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) SM n/a n/a            
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) SM n/a n/a            
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) ATV n/a n/a            
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) ATV n/a              

1 For short distances.

2 In extreme circumstances, 20% is permitted. In general 15% should be observed as the maximum grade and should only be used over short distances.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-5.5: Additional Recommendations for Maximum Grade for a Specified Distance Run

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m Grade % Run m
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) ORAR     8 3.0 12 9.1 14 9.1
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) ORAR     8.33 9.1 10 15.2 10 15.2
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) RT     14 3.0 14 9.1 20 9.1
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) RT     10 15.2 14 15.2 20 15.2
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) H 40 45.7            
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) S 8.0 9.1            
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) B 15 45.7            
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) B n/a n/a            
Mountain Bike Trails: Tech for. . . (McCoy and Stoner, 1992) MB     10 30.5 30 91.4 +30 152.4
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) E 20 45.7            
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) E n/a n/a            
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) X 40 45.7            
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) X n/a n/a            
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) SM 40 45.7            
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) SM n/a n/a            
OHM and ATV Trails Guidelines for Dgn. . . . (Wemex, 1994) ATV     15 n/a 30 n/a 50 n/a
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-6.1: Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Maximum Allowable Running Cross-Slope

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
ADA Standards for Access. Design (US DOJ, 1991) AR 21      
UFAS (US DoD, et al., 1984) AR 21      

1 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and UFAS both require people to use the least slope possible on accessible routes.

Table 5-6.2: Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations for Maximum Allowable Running Cross-Slope

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) ORAR   3 3 3
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) RT   3 5 8

Table 5-6.3: Federal Guidelines for Maximum Allowable Running Cross-Slope

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) H   n/a n/a n/a
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1997, Draft) S 2      
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1991) B 2      
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) E   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) X   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) SM   15 30 40
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) ATV   20 30 40
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-6.4: State, County, and City Guidelines for Maximum Allowable Running Cross-Slope

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
Klamath District's Trail. . . (Beers, 1993, Draft) ORAR 1      
NM Plan for Accessible Fishing (Nordhaus, et al., 1984) ORAR   2 3.3 5
Access to Parks Guidelines (CA State Parks, 1997) RT   1 2 n/a
Ped. Facilities Guidebook for WA DOT (WA DOT, 1997) RT   2 3 5
Alaska Region Trails Const. (USDA FS, AK Reg. FS, 1991) H   n/a n/a n/a
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) H n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trials Pgm., 1980b) H n/a      
FL Bicycle Facilities Planning. . . (FL DOT. . ., 1997) S 2      
Oregon Bicycle and Ped. Plan (OR DOT, 1995) S 2      
Pitkin City Trails Dgn. and Mgt. . . . (Cimarron Designs, 1994) S 2      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) B n/a      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) B n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) B n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) B n/a      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) E n/a      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) E n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) E n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) E n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) X   n/a n/a n/a
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) SM n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) SM n/a      
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) ATV n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) ATV n/a      
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-6.5: Additional Recommendations for Maximum Allowable Running Cross-Slope

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
% % % %
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995)1 ORAR   3 5 8
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) ORAR   3 3 3
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995)1 RT   5 8 12
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) RT   3 5 8.3
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) H 4      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) S 2      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) B 4      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) B 4      
Mountain Bike Trails: Tech for. . . (McCoy and Stoner, 1992) MB   n/a n/a n/a
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) E 4      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) E 4      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) X 2      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) X 4      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) SM 2      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) SM n/a      
OHM and ATV Trails Guidelines for Dgn. . . . (Wemex, 1994) ATV   n/a n/a n/a

1 Maximum allowable average cross-slope not running cross-slope.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-7.1: Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Minimum Clearance Width

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
ADA Standards for Access. Design (US DOJ, 1991) AR 0.915      
UFAS (US DoD, et al., 1984) AR 0.915      

Table 5-7.2: Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations for Minimum Clearance Width

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) ORAR   1.220 0.915 0.915
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) RT   1.220 0.915 0.760

Table 5-7.3: Federal Guidelines for Minimum Clearance Width

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) H   n/a n/a n/a
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1997, Draft) S n/a      
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1991) B n/a      
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) E   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) X   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) SM   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) ATV   n/a n/a n/a
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-7.4: State, County, and City Guidelines for Minimum Clearance Width

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
Klamath District's Trail. . . (Beers, 1993, Draft) ORAR 1.525      
NM Plan for Accessible Fishing (Nordhaus, et al., 1984) ORAR   0.915 0.915 0.815
Access to Parks Guidelines (CA State Parks, 1997) RT   0.915 0.915 n/a
Ped. Facilities Guidebook for WA DOT (WA DOT, 1997) RT   1.2 0.9 0.7
Alaska Region Trails Const. (USDA FS, AK Reg. FS, 1991) H   n/a n/a n/a
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) H n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trials Pgm., 1980b) H n/a      
FL Bicycle Facilities Planning. . . (FL DOT. . ., 1997) S n/a      
Oregon Bicycle and Ped. Plan (OR DOT, 1995) S n/a      
Pitkin City Trails Dgn. and Mgt. . . . (Cimarron Designs, 1994) S n/a      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) B n/a      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) B n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) B n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) B n/a      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) E n/a      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) E n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) E n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) E n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) X   n/a n/a n/a
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) SM n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) SM n/a      
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) ATV n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) ATV n/a      
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-7.5: Additional Recommendations for Minimum Clearance Width

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) ORAR   0.915 0.815 0.710
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) ORAR   1.2202 0.9152 0.9152
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995)1 RT   1.220 0.915 0.710
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) RT   1.220 0.915 0.710
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) H n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) S .8151      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) B n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) B n/a      
Mountain Bike Trails: Tech for. . . (McCoy and Stoner, 1992) MB   n/a n/a n/a
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) E n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) E n/a      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) X n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) X n/a      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) SM n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) SM n/a      
OHM and ATV Trails Guidelines for Dgn. . . . (Wemex, 1994) ATV   n/a n/a n/a

1 For reasonably short distances, 0.815 m is permitted.

2 For distances less than 0.610 m, 0.815 m is permitted.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-8.1: Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Vertical Changes in Level

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
mm mm mm mm
ADA Standards for Access. Design (US DOJ, 1991) AR 61      
UFAS (US DoD, et al., 1984) AR 61      

1 Changes in level between 6 and 13 mm must be beveled with a maximum slope of 50 percent. Changes in level greater than 13 mm must be treated with a ramp, curb ramp, or elevator.

Table 5-8.2: Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations for Vertical Changes in Level

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
mm mm mm mm
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) ORAR   13 13 25
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) RT   13 13 25

Table 5-8.3: Federal Guidelines for Vertical Changes in Level

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
mm mm mm mm
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) H   n/a n/a n/a
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1997, Draft) S n/a      
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1991) B n/a      
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) E   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) X   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) SM   n/a n/a n/a
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) ATV   n/a n/a n/a
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-8.4: State, County, and City Guidelines for Vertical Changes in Level

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
mm mm mm mm
Klamath District's Trail. . . (Beers, 1993, Draft) ORAR n/a      
NM Plan for Accessible Fishing (Nordhaus, et al., 1984) ORAR   6 13 n/a
Access to Parks Guidelines (CA State Parks, 1997) RT 6      
Ped. Facilities Guidebook for WA DOT (WA DOT, 1997) RT   13 26 76
Alaska Region Trails Const. (USDA FS, AK Reg. FS, 1991) H   n/a n/a n/a
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) H n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trials Pgm., 1980b) H n/a      
FL Bicycle Facilities Planning. . . (FL DOT. . ., 1997) S n/a      
Oregon Bicycle and Ped. Plan (OR DOT, 1995) S 6      
Pitkin City Trails Dgn. and Mgt. . . . (Cimarron Designs, 1994) S n/a      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) B n/a      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) B n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) B n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) B n/a      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) E n/a      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) E n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) E n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) E n/a      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) X   n/a n/a n/a
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) SM n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) SM n/a      
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) ATV n/a      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) ATV n/a      
AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-8.5: Additional Recommendations for Vertical Changes in Level

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
mm mm mm mm
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) ORAR   13 25 50
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) ORAR   13 13 25
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) RT   25 50 100
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec. (PLAE, Inc., 1993) RT   131 251 751
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) H n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) S n/a      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) B n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) B n/a      
Mountain Bike Trails: Tech for. . . (McCoy and Stoner, 1992) MB n/a      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) E n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) E n/a      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) X n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) X n/a      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) SM n/a      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) SM n/a      
OHM and ATV Trails Guidelines for Dgn. . . . (Wemex, 1994) ATV   n/a n/a n/a

1 Changes in level greater than 6 mm must be beveled with a 1:2 slope.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-9.1: Federal Accessibility Guidelines for Vertical Clearance (Head Room)

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
ADA Standards for Access. Design (US DOJ, 1991) AR 2.030      
UFAS (US DoD, et al., 1984) AR 2.030      

Table 5-9.2: Federal Advisory Committee Recommendations for Vertical Clearance

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) ORAR   2.030 2.030 2.030
Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines: Recreational Facilities. . . (Rec. Access. Adv. Comm., 1994) RT   2.030 2.030 2.030

Table 5-9.3: Federal Guidelines for Vertical Clearance

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) H   2.440 2.440 2.440
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1997, Draft) S 2.5    
Guide for the Dev. of Bicycle Facilities (AASHTO, 1991) B 2.440      
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) E   3.050 2.440 2.440
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) X   1.830 1.830 1.830
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) SM   2.1351 2.1351 2.1351
USDA FS Trails Mgt. Handbook (USDA FS, 1985) ATV   1.830 1.830 1.525

1 Above-average snow level.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-9.4: State, County, and City Guidelines for Vertical Clearance

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
Klamath District's Trail. . .(Beers, 1993, Draft) ORAR 2.440      
NM Plan for Accessible Fishing (Nordhaus, et al., 1984) ORAR   2.030 2.030 2.030
Access to Parks Guidelines (CA State Parks, 1997) RT   2.135 2.135 2.135
Ped. Facilities Guidebook for WA DOT (WA DOT, 1997) RT   n/a n/a n/a
Alaska Region Trails Const.(USDA FS, AK Reg. FS, 1991) H   2.440 2.440 2.440
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) H 2.135      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trials Pgm., 1980b) H 2.440      
FL Bicycle Facilities Planning. . . (FL DOT. . ., 1997) S 2.4      
Oregon Bicycle and Ped. Plan (OR DOT, 1995) S 2.4      
Pitkin City Trails Dgn. and Mgt. . . . (Cimarron Designs, 1994) S 3.050      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) B 3.050      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) B 2.440      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) B 2.440      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) B 3.050      
KY Dept. of Parks Trail Construction. . . (KY Dept. of Parks, 1989) E 3.050      
MO St. Parks Trail Const. Guidelines (MO DNR, 1975) E 2.440      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) E 3.050      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) E 3.660      
PA Plan for Nonmotorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980b) X     2.4401 2.4401
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) SM 2.4401      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) SM 3.6601      
PA Plan for Motorized Trails (PA Trails Pgm., 1980a) ATV 2.4402      
Wisconsin DNR Design Standards (WI DNR, 1994) ATV 3.6602      

1 Above-average snow level.

2 Above trail surface.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    

Table 5-9.5: Additional Recommendations for Vertical Clearance

Source Path Type Single Level Multiple Levels
Easier Moderate Difficult
m m m m
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) ORAR   n/a n/a n/a
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec.(PLAE, Inc., 1993) ORAR   2.030 2.030 2.030
ORAR and RT Design Specification (Axelson et al., 1995) RT   n/a n/a n/a
Universal Access. to Outdoor Rec.(PLAE, Inc., 1993) RT   2.030 2.030 2.030
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) H 2.440      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) S 3.050      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) B 2.440      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) B 2.135      
Mountain Bike Trails: Tech for. . . (McCoy and Stoner, 1992) MB   2.440 2.440 2.440
Recreational Trail Design and Const.(Rathke and Baughman, 1994) E 3.050      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) E 3.050      
Recreational Trail Design and Const. (Rathke and Baughman, 1994) X 2.440      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) X 2.1351      
Recreational Trail Design and Const.(Rathke and Baughman, 1994) SM 2.440      
Trails for the 21st Century (Ryan, 1993) SM 3.050      
OHM and ATV Trails Guidelines Dgn. . . . (Wemex, 1994) ATV   2.740 2.440 2.440

1 Above-average snowfall.

AR = Accessible Route ORAR = Outdoor Recreation Access Route RT = Recreational Trail
H = Hiking Trail S = Shared-Use Path B = Bicycle Path
MB = Mountain Biking Trail E = Equestrian Trail X = Cross-Country Ski Trail
SM = Snow Machine Trail ATV = All-Terrain Vehicle Trail    
OHV = Off-Highway Vehicle Trail M = Motorcycle Trail    
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