Hiking Trail Surface Characteristics
- Paved - firm, stable, slip-resistant, concrete, asphalt, and brick.
- Hard - firm, stable, not necessarily slip-resistant; examples include hardened soil and soil with stabilizers.
- Firm - when walked on with a shoe, no footprint is left but the surface is not stable. Examples include gravel mix and packed dirt.
- Soft - when walked on, a footprint of no more than 1/2-inch is left. Examples include soft dirt, wood chips and loose gravel.
- Very Soft - when walked on a footprint of 1/2-inch or more. Examples include mud, sand and loose pea gravel.
Through the Universal Trail Assessment Process (Beneficial Designs Link), people can learn about a trail's characteristics before hiking. This information allows users to determine which trails are accessible to them based on their knowledge of their own capabilities.