Talk:Trail riding

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This page violates the Neutral Point of View. It needs a considerable rewrite. -- Robert Merkel

It is also skewed towards bicycle and motorcycles. Environmentalists rarely have anything against horses. --Anders Törlind

Yes, this page was written with a strong agenda, and one with which I do not agree, having performed thousands of hours of trail planning, design, construction, and maintenance. Actually, horses are almost as negatively-impacting on trails as are motorcycles. Even mountain bikes negatively impact trails relevant to foot hiking. Ideally, all these four trail types should be kept strictly separate, certainly at least because all three of the other uses make life 'miserable' for foot-hikers. -- John Knouse

Then why don't you do something about it Mr Know-it-all -Bennyboyz3000 18:32, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

parking factoids for now[edit]

Pulled this from the main article and putting it here for now. Nothing bad about it, just my concern is that once we start naming specific trails, it will never end. (e.g. Appalachian trail, Continental Divide Trail, etc...) Open to discussion, but putting it here for now so as not to "prime the pump" for more... Montanabw(talk) 23:59, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

The Bicentennial National Trail in Australia is the longest marked multi-use trail in the world, stretching 5,330 kilometres from Cooktown, Queensland, through New South Wales to Healesville, Victoria. This trail runs the length of the rugged Great Dividing Range through national parks, private property and alongside of wilderness areas. One of the objectives was to develop a trail that linked up the brumby tracks,[1]mustering and stock routes along the Great Dividing Range, thus providing an opportunity to legally ride the routes of stockmen and drovers who once travelled these areas with pack horses. This Trail provides access to some of the wildest, most remote country in the world. The Bicentennial National Trail is suitable for self-reliant horse riders, fit walkers and mountain bike riders.[2]

Mountain biking[edit]

Am I right in thinking that trail riding for mountain bikers normally refers to relatively short trails, whereas for equestrians it can include multi-day long distance trails and extended excursion. Also how long is the average mountain bike trail? My initial impression is that is there some difference in the usage of the term trail riding? And do mountain bikers follow long distance paths, backpack/camp?Rwood128 (talk) 01:17, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

I now realize that the above is excessively naive (it's late in the evening), as I have met met mountain bikers on GRs in France, and mountain trails in Switzerland, the Highlands and Lake District, etc! But still, is the term also used for bike rides on short trails? Rwood128 (talk) 01:42, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I would say that 'trail' is the prefered term for for all lengths and, perhaps confusingly, for pretty much all types of trail too. My local trail centre has a 'Family trail' (a flat 12 mile loop) and 'downhill trails' (short specialised runs) on the same site. Obscurasky (talk) 08:58, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
That is true (the overview definition). Keep in mind that this was originally an equestrian-focused article. ;-) Montanabw(talk) 06:57, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm beginning to wonder if trail riding would not be better dealt with in the Mountain biking and Bridle path pages, and that a section on Trail centres should be started on the MB page, rather than as a new article. What do you think? Rwood128 (talk) 11:59, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Speaking only from the horse side, a "trail ride" can be anything from a couple miles in an hour (common on some guest ranches) to a half day (very common) to full day and multi-day outings. Here in the American West, while some trails are more suited to horses or mountain bikes, and in more populated areas they may be segregated to some degree (for safety, if nothing else) they technically use the same Forest Service trails in many places. A "bridle path" is a term confined mostly to short paths in the UK and to a lesser extent, eastern North America. A bridle path is like trail riding light! Montanabw(talk) 06:57, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Cycle touring[edit]

Is there some overlap between Cycle touring and trail riding? Also do you have to be on a mountain bike to trail ride?Rwood128 (talk) 21:40, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

In the USA, I'd say no; it would be a huge difference, roads are not "trails" here (occasional historic naming notwithstanding) - and while you could trail ride on something other than a mountain bike here, you'd be a complete idiot with a death wish! Montanabw(talk) 06:46, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
Expedition cycle touring Torres del Paine National Park, in Chilean Patagonia.

Many thanks.

Am I right in thinking that there are different kinds of mountain bike trail riding? That is:

  • (1) On short, steep, highly technical, constructed trails;
  • 2) On longer, fairly level trails, like bridle paths, rail trails, farm and forest roads (The South Downs Way in England would be an example);
  • (3) On hiking trails that can include steep mountain trails and high passes;
  • (4) Rides that can last for days? I encountered mountain bikers on a French Grande Randonnée who had their luggage transported for them. Hence my question about cycle touring

Rwood128 (talk) 12:00, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

This image from Cycle touring is of interest here. They don't look like mountain bikes to me but aren't they also trail riding?. See also Dervla Murphy and Mixed Terrain Cycle-Touring. Rwood128 (talk) 12:19, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Nah, that's a road, in my view. I know that people in the US will do multi-day bicycle trips, mostly on roads. I really don't know much about mountain biking other than I'm too scared to do (1) and too lazy for (3)! In the USA, (2) would not be "trail" riding - roads - even gravel ones - aren't "trails" - that said, our definition of "road" is pretty generous. Montanabw(talk) 07:07, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

I agree that the trail in Patagonia looks like an unpaved road, but the surface is very similar to that of shown on other images.

Re (2), while the South Downs Way is often fairly level, there is also some serious climbing, and the path is rough and stony in places.[1] It is also of course a National Trail. The Ohio and Erie Canal tow path is obviously level, but the surface isn't suitable for regular bikes. But we need mountain bikers from different parts of the world to clarify this matter. Rwood128 (talk) 12:37, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

  • In fact riding a trail, even a flat towpath or rail trail, on a horse (or other animal), or any kind of bike (not just hybrids and mountain bikes) is surely a form of trail riding, whatever the surface of the path. This would, however, presumably exclude cycling that takes place solely on roads open to motorised vehicles. Rwood128 (talk) 13:59, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
And if you want to really complicate matters, there are places where they allow motorcycles to "trail ride" (at least out here in the west, and it's a very controversial issue). I guess for me, pavement - or at least gravel to create an all-weather surface - is one way to distinguish between a trail and a road - certainly some very high traffic trails are also paved, and some roads open to motorized cars and trucks are not, (and we won't even start to discuss what a "jeep trail" is...) OTOH, horses generally should not be ridden on pavement or heavy gravel, (with many exceptions of course, parades, working equines in cities like carriage or police horses, etc...) so maybe the way to structure this article is by mode of transport; horses, bicycles, etc., rather than type of trails? Montanabw(talk) 05:29, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

According to the lede this article can include motorised trail riding. I don't follow your comment re the structure of the article. At the moment it is basically divided into two main sections that deal with horses and bikes separately, and the 'Rail trail' section, which involves multi-use. There is some overlap, however, because of bridleways (in Britain) and towpaths. Rwood128 (talk) 14:22, 29 October 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ Heart and Stroke Foundation Challenge event[1]

Proposed deletion/ partial merger with "Trail"[edit]

This article duplicates an existing article: Trail. The existing article is much better written, more comprehensive. I propose deleting this article, or merging the content where appropriate. Fluous (talk) 20:44, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

There is some overlap, but it's overstating it to say the two pages are duplicates. It should also be noted that there are over 40 other pages linking to this page, and almost all of those links relate specifically to the practice of 'trail riding', not actual 'trails'. Obscurasky (talk) 23:22, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
There's probably is too much emphasis on describing trails rather than discussing trail riding, but that can be remedied, so that a merge -- or deletion-- isn't really appropriate. But the criticism is useful.Rwood128 (talk) 23:33, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose merge: This article is about the recreational activity, the other is about trails themselves. No reason we can't improve this article, but a merge is not suitable.Montanabw(talk) 21:56, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Article improvement[edit]

Per the comments above, I took a whack at the article and tossed quite a bit of material about the individual trails. I have no intent of "dissing" anyone's trail, but I think the specifics belong elsewhere. Anyone wanting to keep material not mentioned in any other article can just copy from the old version prior to my edit today (Montanabw(talk)) and put it in whatever article they want. I didn't do much with sourcing, this was more of a copyedit. Feel free to continue to make other improvements! Montanabw(talk) 22:30, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

This looks good -- I suspect that I may be guilty of adding off-topic material. Rwood128 (talk) 23:31, 22 December 2014 (UTC)