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Glossary -- Trails, Use-trails, and Routes

Trails, Use-Trails, and Routes are paths developed to different degrees.

Trail Trail: Trails are paths laid out, developed, and maintained to greater or lesser degrees by land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, and the National Park Service. Trails usually have signs, a wide tread, switchbacks on steep hillsides, and waterbars to direct water off the tread. When necessary, trails might have safety features such as railings or chains.
Use-Trail Use-Trail. An unofficial trail pounded into the ground by the passage of hikers. Use-trails almost never have signs, the tread usually is narrow, and they tend to go steeply up and down hillsides. Obscure parts of the use-trail might be marked by cairns.
Route Route. A way to go, but not a trail or a use-trail. Cairns may mark a route, or a route might run up a wash, across slickrock, or just out across the landscape.
Game Trail Game Trail or Animal Trail. Over the millennia, animals (primarily bighorn sheep, but also mule deer, feral horses, and feral burros) have been hiking the mountains around Las Vegas. With repeated use, their paths can become visible game trails. Game trails can be faint and hard to follow because they tend to be narrow and start and end unexpectedly, but they can be life-savers in difficult, off-trail terrain. If a game trail ends, look directly uphill or downhill for another.

Happy hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 130130

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