Trails are generally unsealed paths that can be acceptable to some people cycling in some circumstances, particularly for recreation or touring (for example the New Zealand Cycle Trail). Trails are often shared with pedestrians. Trails will rarely be a component of an urban cycle network, but there may be some cases where they are appropriate. Whenever a trail is considered, the limitations it has on both the pedestrians and cyclists who will want to use it, compared to a sealed shared path, should be taken into consideration.
The NZ Cycle Trail Design Guide [PDF, 4.3 MB] provides comprehensive information on the planning, design and construction of cycle trails that make up the New Zealand Cycle Trail (NZCT). These principles can be applied when designing other trails as part of an urban cycle network.
Trails commonly follow historic routes, so may encounter historic and cultural heritage. There may be opportunities to recognise interesting historic features along the route. The Considering historic heritage in walking and cycling projects information sheet provides guidance on heritage considerations in walking and cycling projects.
If any potential impact on historic or cultural heritage has been identified, a detailed assessment should be undertaken. Specialist advice should be sought if adapting a heritage structure.