Map2Happy Trails designs trails according to the best modern standards of sustainability. These principles include:

  • Identifying boundaries, land managers, and users
  • Determining control points- places where the trail should and should not go.
  • Alignment with the contour of the land to minimize the intersection of flowing water and the trail line
  • Controlled grade suitable for the terrain and the intended user.
  • Integrated water control, utilizing sideslope on the trail bench and grade reversals to ensure all water exits the trail as soon as possible.
  • Durable tread created by “full bench” construction, where the entire width of the trail tread is based on original soil.
  • Designing to minimize costly structures and amendments such as bridges or Geogrid (used in low or permafrost sections).

Alaska presents unique challenges to trail design, such as permafrost, frost heaving, and overflow ice.  Close familiarity is required to determine the likelihood of certain soil conditions based on topography and vegetation. Happy Trails brings an extensive background in skiing, hiking, running, mountain biking, snowshoeing, ski-joring, mushing, and ATV use to the design table providing a deep understanding trail needs and desires of each user group.



In the layout process, the elements of good design must be matched to realities on the ground, requiring a careful balance of art and science. The trail must abide by principles of hydrology, soil science, and geometry while achieving the equally important objectives of connecting people with the natural environment, fitting into the landscape, and “flow”. Layout requires miles of bushwhacking, careful measurement, evaluation, and may be logistically challenging. It is crucial to have a good layout before you commit enormous resources to construction.


Digital imageHappy Trails, Inc. performs trail construction using a full range of mechanized equipment. The combination of our four foot wide trail dozer and mini-excavator is very cost-effective and fast. We can also bring in a crew to hand-finish the machine-built trail. We can tailor the job to suit your needs, from complete design/build/finish trails to cooperative efforts utilizing community resources.


STP61816Where can we build this trail? How much money must we obtain to ensure completion? What is the best way to go about this project? Are there regulations we must comply with, permits that must be obtained? When you have questions, we will supply the answers. We can make an assessment of your proposed project or maintenance, retrofit trail networks that have developed haphazardly, and recommend options.


When you need to re-shape the tread, install rolling grade dips, remove berms, re-set the grade of the backslope, or completely re-route the trail, Happy Trails can help. We can help determine needed actions if you desire, or just take your punch list out on the trail.