Hiking With Dog

#TrailTip Tuesday: Lightly Trafficked

14 comments

When you research trail info, sometimes the description says the trail is lightly trafficked. If you are new to researching hiking trails, besides the obvious meaning, here is what you need to know.

Since the trail is less traveled, it’s more than likely you will find the trail less maintained than the ones you are used to in the parks. There might be fallen trees and/or branches blocking the path and you may need to find your way around it.

At times, the trail might just disappear all of a sudden and leave you to decide where to go next. You might need to bushwhack through your way to your destination. If you don’t have GPS or a map, this can be tricky and confusing.

The trail might have erosion.

More than likely, you won’t find trail signs.

What else have you noticed?

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14 comments on “#TrailTip Tuesday: Lightly Trafficked”

  1. As someone who does trail work, these are all good points. Trails are typically like this because they’re unpopular due to poor construction, damage and/or alternatives. Only you can assess whether the risks are worth it. You may also find that nature is more abundant on these trails, primary plant life, small critters, insects and birds.

  2. Sometimes even when you do have GPS or a map you shouldn’t rely on it to heavily. Trail conditions change and Google Maps, while a good tool to give an over view of the trail, isn’t always accurate. I’ve gotten into multiple situations where I find conditions impassable even though Google Maps tells me I’m on the right path. (Why haven’t I learned?)

    1. Haha!! I can ask the same question to myself, David. As for me, many times these trails don’t even show up on Google Maps because usually there is no cell reception. And I think, why didn’t I map the route and load it to my phone the night before but it’s already too late. 😂

      1. I feel like there’s always going to be an element of chance … conditions change even on established trails … but I’ve also learned that when I find a trail on Google Maps and haven’t seen any mention of it online or on social media, there’s usually a reason.

  3. I quite like the challenge of the scramble and the working out a way to get past a road block, but It`s important to keep in mind! I have gone on a handful of hikes that have had so little traffic the trail was completely overgrown and impossible to follow, which aren`t ideal conditions, especially when you are on your own.

    1. Good point. That has happened to me too. The last part of the trail was completely overgrown and it was impassible. There could be a rattlesnake underneath and I wouldn’t be able to see it at all so I had to turn us around.

  4. I actually like exploring the less popular trails sometimes, and enjoy the solitude. It’s a bit tricky when the trail disappears though ;( I make little rock or stick arrows so I can find my way back. If it seems too “iffy” I abandon the trail, however.

  5. Here in Taiwan, the lightly trafficked trails are pretty much the only ones where you’re likely to run into wild animals of any kind. Personally I feel similarly to behr rake, I generally enjoy the challenge of such walks, but if I get an iffy feeling about the trail, or if my gut/experience is telling me not to continue, then I will happily turn around.

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