I love to hike. Where I live there are many great trails. I had never thought about how those trails were created. Then I worked on a trail crew one summer. That is when I realized trails do not just pop up overnight. People work hard to create and maintain trails. Many areas have volunteer groups that get together to help work on trails. it is a lot of work, but I think building a trail is just as fun as hiking. Where I live we own an acre that I decided to build a small trail on. But this information can be used to maintain a trail as well as building.
Step 1: Gather Tools
For this small section of trail I used a hand saw, loppers, and a pulaski. The pulaski is not my favorite but I think it is the easiest to find in stores. Plus it is a multipurpose tool, so if you have to hike long distances to where you will be working, you will be able to have both an axe and a hoe. Any hoe will work fine, but I would not recommend a shovel for trail work. The long handle gets in the way, plus shovels are not the best tool for smoothing out the ground. Gloves are also a must. They help you keep a good grip on the handle and it protects your hands from getting blisters, or thorns stuck in them.
Step 2: Choose Where You Want The Trail
First thing to do is take a step back and look as what you are working with. To get an idea of possible routes you can lay out flags. Walk around and just see what feels right. Remember, don't create extra work for yourself. Go around trees instead of cutting them down. Here I think I will run the trail straight down and then turn right, before the larger tree. This will be the section I will focus on.