Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Off-Highway Vehicle Trail and Road Grading Equipment

USDA Forest Service logo   Table of Contents

Back | Next
Forest Service Technology & Development logo

Other Trail Grading Equipment You Can Pull With an ATV

Our field contacts provided information about several other techniques and equipment they had tried or were using for OHV trail maintenance. Here are some grading accessories you can tow with an ATV.

Tine Harrow

The tine harrow (Figure 15) is best used for finish work, smoothing the trail surface once it has been leveled by other means. It has smoothing power but not much cutting power. It does not provide any compaction.

Photo of tine harrow.
Figure 15-This tine harrow or pasture drag can be pulled with the tines
down for scarification, or the harrow can be flipped over for final smoothing.

Tire Drags

Old truck tires (Figure 16) can be filled with concrete for added weight. Large truck tires are heavy enough without extra weight. Tires, sometimes one behind another, are inexpensive and help to smooth the trail surface. They have little cutting ability to remove whoop-de-doos, and also push tread-surfacing material to the sides of the trail-a disadvantage.

Photo of tire drag.
Figure 16-Tire drags with various configurations of one,
two, or three tires help to provide a smooth, finished surface to the trail.

Image of tires cut in halfWe also heard about using three tire halves (cut like you would slice a bagel, using a reciprocating saw), bolted together in a triangle and dragged with the cut face down.

Dixie National Forest Drags

Ralph Rawlinson sent information of good success with two inexpensive drags used on the Dixie National Forest in Utah. Both can be pulled with ATV's. The base of the rectangular drag (Figure 17) is 5 feet 8 inches (1.8 m) long, and 4 feet (1.2 m) wide. The perimeter is 3-inch (7.6-cm) angle iron, the middle bar is 3-inch (7.6-cm) channel iron.

Photo of rectangular drag.
Figure 17-This rectangular drag from the Dixie National
Forest is inexpensive and effective.

The V-Drag

The V-Drag (Figure 18) is basically fabricated out of two 67-inch (170-cm) pieces of 4-inch (10-cm) channel iron. It is 54 inches (137-cm) wide. This design sidecasts the trail material rather than pulling it into the center, an undesirable feature.

Photo of V-shaped drag.
Figure 18-The V-shaped drag moves
material to the side of the trail, a disadvantage.

Perpendicular Cutting Drag

Another grader prototype from the Deschutes National Forest features cutting blades perpendicular to the trail instead of angled (Figure 19). This particular configuration left a small berm of material on either side of the grader. When a pass with the perpendicular cutting drag was followed by a pass with the Deschutes Trail Drag, and then a pass with the tine harrow, trails were left in good shape. Dick Dufourd does not plan to build another perpendicular cutting drag. The Deschutes Trail Drag, with its angled blades and electric actuator, is far superior.

Photo of a drag with cutting blades.
Figure 19-Early prototype of a drag with cutting blades perpendicular
to the trail. It needs significant changes to make it work better.


This basic lawn roller (Figure 20) can be pulled by an ATV. It smooths the surface but provides no compaction. We do not recommend it for trail maintenance.

Photo of roller.
Figure 20-This garden variety lawn roller did not provide
enough benefit to make it worthwhile for trail grooming.
Pulling it is a waste of time.

USDA Forest Service logo Top

Back | Next

Table of Contents

Cover Page
Forest Service Technology & Development logo
Updated: 4/14/2014
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000