Trail Development  


"The right trail, in the right place, built the right way, for the right reasons" Dafydd Davis


 How can WAMBA assist Land Owners/ Managers in the Trail Development Process?

  • Provide support and advice
  • Provide mountain bike community representation on steering groups
  • Provide access to the mountain bike community by using its communication channels to send out survey and project information


Western Australian Mountain Bike Management Guidelines

A key recommendation of the Western Australian Mountain Bike Strategy 2015-2020, the primary aim of the Guidelines is to provide a well-defined framework to support the local mountain bike community and land managers develop trails that:

  • are of high quality
  • meet the requirements of riders of all abilities
  • are sustainable, providing long term enjoyment for users with minimal maintenance cost
  • are graded according to an internationally recognised system
  • able to provide for a range of MTB disciplines and skill levels
  • facilitate rapid upgrades and additions to existing networks
  • minimise impact to the natural environment in which they are located

The development of these guidelines was a community based project, facilitated by the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW). A working group was established to develop a framework that meets the needs listed above, with representation from the mountain bike community, trail builders and relevant government entities.

The guidelines combine local experience and knowledge, with world’s best practice from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and consultants such as Dafydd Davis, the renowned trail guru responsible for the development of the legendary Coed-y-Brenin mountain bike park in Wales.

This draft document is also being tested `live` for the development of the Murray Valley (Dwellingup), Manning Park Mountain Bike Project (City of Cockburn), Bramley National Park (Margaret River), Wellington National Park (Collie) and Pemberton trails. This process will ensure practical feedback is also available to further refine the guidelines, and make them as relevant as possible to those who will use them.

The guidelines are currently out for public consultation. Closing date for comments is Wednesday 30th September 2015.

DRAFT Document: Western Australian Mountain Bike Guidelines


Trail Development Process

Sustainable trails means developing the right trails, in the right places, in the right way and for the right reasons. The trail development process provides protocols and procedures which ensure that any trails are an asset to landowners and managers, trail users and the community rather than a liability. 

The trail development process involves eight stages (figure 1) and encompasses a constant evaluation, review and improvement process as trails are being extended or revised. Each stage must be completed before moving on to the next stage. If trail revitalisation/ renewal is required the process should begin again.

WA Mountain Bike Trail Development Process

Draft WA Mountain Bike Trail Development Process Summary

Figure 1: Eight Stage Trail Development Process (draft)

Figure 2: Trail Development Process Summary (draft)


Some Useful Tools from the Guidelines

User and Trail Types


General Trail Planning Principles


Trail Classification


Framework (Stage 2 of Process)

Using the Framework for Proposed Trail Development document ensures that the proposed trails meet the project objectives, target markets and are built to appropriate standards. It is also the key to consultation. The framework informs the planning, design and delivery process, and clarifies the key issues, including:

  • Steering Group
  • Background
  • Project Objectives
  • Management Model
  • Scope and Scale
  • User Types and Trail Types
  • Trail System and Model
  • Agreed Standards
  • Funding and Resources
  • Project Delivery
  • Project Evaluation


Trail Adoption



Lottery west Trails Grants

The Department of Sport and Recreation and Lotterywest partner to deliver trails grants to assist in developing trails in Western Australia.

Grants are open throughout the year, and are limited to $100,000. Applications of more than $25,000 generally require a contribution from applicants and/ or other sources.

Grant Categories:

  • Planning a trail
  • Constructing or upgrading a trail
  • Promoting a trail

Trail maintenance is not eligible under this scheme.

Other Resources

The following links offer advice on advocacy, good trail design and building practices:


IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association)

The main IMBA (North America) website has a whole heap of excellent advice on subjects including Advocacy & Organising, Bike Parks & Freeriding, Grants and Fundraising, Kids and Mountain Biking, Land Access and Protection, Liability & Insurance, Maps & Signs, Risk Management, Trail Building & Design and much, much, more.

Advice: 10 Most Common Trailbuilding Mistakes

For as long as humans have been following trails, we've been making mistakes on trails. At least our missteps—whether they left us in the digestive tracts of saber-toothed beasts or just badly banged up—usually affect only ourselves. But when trailbuilders make mistakes, they affect everybody. Trail users, land managers, vegetation and wildlife all feel the sting of the well-meaning but inexperienced trailbuilder. In our travels, we often see the same mistakes made again and again, but the good news is they can all be avoided. Here, we bring you the top 10.

Book: Trail Solutions: IMBA's Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack

Trail Solutions is IMBA's premier trailbuilding resource. This 272-page book combines cutting-edge trailbuilding techniques with proven fundamentals in a colorful, easy-to-read format. This highly recommended IMBA publication is available to purchase from the IMBA website. 

Book: Managing Mountain Biking

Managing Mountain Biking is IMBA's guide to overcoming user conflict, minimizing environmental impact, managing risk, and providing technically challenging riding for all levels. This highly recommended IMBA publication is available to purchase from the IMBA website. 

Book: Natural Surface Trails by Design

This recommended book presents eleven concepts as the foundation for a concise process that explains, relates and predicts what actually happens on all natural surface trails. The concepts cover the essential physical and human forces and relationships that govern trails - how we perceive nature, how trails make us feel, how trail use changes trails, how soil and trail materials behave, and how water, drainage and erosion act.

Build Your Own Pump Track

A online guide to building pump tracks.

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