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Distance markers

Summary – Knowing the total length of a trail, the distance to crucial services, and being able to determine how far one has come along a trail, are crucial information for people with disabilities to participate in outdoor recreation.

Description Providing information about where a person is on the trail is essential to some users.  Clear and legible distance markers can indicate points along the trail and on trail maps. When providing information on distance, markers are most effective every quarter mile along the trail.  Markers can be used to designate trailheads, loops and dead-end trails. 

They can be used also to indicate direction and distance to parking, restrooms, picnic areas and other amenities.  For complex trail systems, providing maps at major trail junctions is helpful.  When markers are used along the trail, their location should also be indicated on the trail map.

Importance/Purpose Distance markers provide helpful information for everyone, but especially for those who use mobility devices and those with limited physical stamina.  Well-placed distance markers can help users determine how far they can go on a trail before it is necessary to turn back to conserve energy or to preserve battery life in mobility devices.

Distance is also a factor in the battery life of power wheelchairs.  Knowing the distance between the trailhead and segments of the trail provides valuable information for power-chair users.


  1. Provide distances and distance markers both along trails and published materials such as web-based and printed maps.

  2. Provide distances and distance markers every quarter mile.

  3. Provide distances and distance markers between significant points such as parking, trailheads and features of the trail.


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These distance markers show a diversity of height and style so that they can integrate with the outdoor environment.  It is important that they are low enough to be seen by wheelchair users and that regular maintenance prevents their becoming overgrown with vegetation.

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Photos 1 through 3

Here we have attached 3 images that demonstrate trailside markers and how they might be indicated on a trail map

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