2.2.5 Design Study - Recreational Trails

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The study highlights some of the better practices used in the development of an accessible recreational trail in York Region — a regional municipality located just north of Toronto.


York Region developed and manages a recreation trail system at the Hollidge Tract in the York Region Forest. The trail system is a public facility which incorporates a variety of trails and related parking facilities, including a one-kilometer long accessible trail configured as a loop.

Design Features:

The configuration and characteristics of the accessible trail are identified to users through trailhead signage. The signage provides information on a variety of key trail characteristics which will allow potential users to decide if the challenge level aligns with their recreational goals. Information is provided on the length of the trail, typical grade, typical cross-slope, trail width, and trail surface. In addition to the trailhead signage, directional signs are included along the trail.

Three accessible parking spaces are provided, close to the trailhead. Other accessibility related features of the trail include: wide entry points; appropriate overhead clearances along the entire length of the trail, that are regularly maintained; generous trail width that allows people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids to pass anywhere along the trail; compacted granular surfaces to provide a firm and stable surface; and use of lumber and boulders to provide edge protection where there are drop-offs adjacent to the trail and its viewing areas.

York Region also published a brochure which illustrates the trail configuration and its characteristic, as well as the accessibility features that users can expect to encounter.

The Hollidge Tract Accessible Trail has been constructed by York Region and can be enjoyed at 16389 Highway 48, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces