What To Consider When Building Trail Bridges

Local municipalities are often the ones tasked with making parks and trails accessible to foot traffic but are often at a loss as to what’s involved.

Bridge2The country is filled with so much beautiful wilderness, whether it be in public parks, on crown land or inside natural parks, but keeping these areas accessible to people can sometimes present a challenge.

One of the most common additions to any hiking trail is a park bridge or a trail bridge.  These bridges are used to connect areas that are separated by an impassable terrain feature such as a river, creek, valley, boulder field or something else.  Trail bridges can also be used to preserve natural habitat that may be harmed by constant foot traffic.  An example of this is in parks that feature marshland.  Often you can find lengthy bridge sections that allow hikers to enjoy the beautiful scenery without disturbing the environment.

Before you plan to build a trail bridge or multiple trail bridges it is important to consider a few items to ensure that your project is a success.

Planning for usage

Doing some research is the key to knowing what uses your bridges will be tasked for.  Will there be foot traffic only, or will bicycles or powered vehicles be able to access the area as well.  This will alter the size of the bridge and the materials used in its construction.

Zoning and environmental restrictions

Depending on the bi-laws in your area, there may be certain restrictions on the size of a bridge or the location it can be placed.  Environmental concerns such as ecosystem preservation mean that a trail bridge cannot just be placed anywhere as habitat may be harmed or migration paths disturbed.  Another aspect of environmental protection is making sure you only use environmentally friendly materials, including your paints, stains and fasteners.  This means natural materials such as wood, steel or plastics that will not break down and cause a negative impact.

Durability and maintenance

Ensuring the trail bridges you choose to construct are durable enough to withstand the elements is important.  After all, the bridges will spend their lives exposed to weather and abuse without benefiting from constant maintenance.  It is not realistic to think that a work crew will be able to lug equipment out to maintain bridges often so choosing designs and materials that will hold up is necessary.


Choosing park bridges or trail bridges that blend in and don’t obstruct the environment should be the primary concern.  Aesthetics will take a back seat but are still important as the right choice can add substantial beauty to the scenery especially once the materials have weathered and become worn looking.

When it comes time to take a look at constructing new park bridges or trail bridges it is wise to talk to an expert such as Links Bridges, who can advise and provide builders for a wide range of bridges that will meet all the requirements for environmentally friendly trail bridges.  The company can be found online at: linksbridges.com and are the experts in North America when trail bridges are concerned.


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