To unlock trails across the globe, upgrade to Trailforks Pro with Outside+. Trailforks Pro with Outside+ also gives you global popularity heat maps so you can find popular trails—or avoid them. Plus find dry trails by checking trail condition reports, and see where others have ridden most recently.
Words: Willie Jacobsz
If You See Something, Say Something!
When you spot an issue or hazard on your favorite trail, submitting a Trail Report with Trailforks helps alert other trail users, and informs your local Trails Association.
The Trailforks App makes it super easy to submit a trail report, with photos and a specified location, while you are out on the trails. Before you are back in the parking lot, the local trail crew can have your trail report and take action.
NEW! For Trail Administrators: Manage the status of trail reports (Open, Underway, Cancel, Close) on the Trailforks website, and assign tasks to specific people. Once the problem or issue is closed out, you are prompted to submit a new trail report opening up the trail and showing that the problem or issue has been resolved.
On a computer you can mark any trail report as “Private” (Checkbox at the very bottom in the Trail Report screen). Private reports are visible only to members of Groups who have permission to view Private Reports. Using this feature a trail boss can generate a series of trail reports on outstanding or planned work to be done by a specific Trail Crew, make it visible only to that crew, and track the status of issues and assigned work.
All trail reports are filed chronologically in the “Reports” tab on any trail or region page so that you can keep track of all reported issues and problems requiring attention. You can filter reports and/or issues by date ranges, status and work reports, and create spreadsheets downloadable as csv files.
Trail reporting is one of the core features of Trailforks. We have created many tools to make trail reporting faster, more flexible and more useful to you. To read more about the many features and tools built into trail reporting, follow this link
Below is an example of a great trail report submitted by a trail user.
Further down you will find a video, as well as step by step instructions, on how you can submit your own trail reports while out on the trails, or from your computer.
This article will show you how to: - Use the App to submit a trail report, with a photograph and a location map. - Submit the same report after your ride from a computer - Submit a trail work report.
What you need to know
Any trail user can report an issue or problem on a trail by submitting a geotagged trail report on the Trailforks App while out on the trails, or from your computer after your ride. This helps the trail crew to quickly identify problems and to take remedial action.
Trail reports are not only to report issues or problems. You are encouraged to submit trail reports after each ride, even when all is clear and conditions are good. Think of trail reports as a way of “paying it forward” to the riders that follow you.
You can also attach trail work reports to your trail reports. This is a useful way for the local trails association to keep track of all trail work done on the trails.
Make sure that location services are enabled in your phone’s settings (Settings | Privacy | Location Services [ON] | Trailforks | While using the App) and for your camera (Settings | Privacy | Locations Services [ON] | Camera | While Using the App). This will embed GPS coordinates in your photographs as well as in the trail reports submitted.
You can create a trail report even when your phone is off-line or if you are not logged in to the Trailforks App. The report will be uploaded once you are back in cell or wifi range / when you next log in to Trailforks.
Always attach a photograph when reporting a problem or issue. When you take a photograph of an issue for a report, it is good practice to put your bike in the photo frame to give the responding trail crew an understanding of the scale of the issue, and what equipment and people to send out to fix the issue. You can attach multiple photographs to a report.
If you prefer not to create the report in the App while out on the trails, still take the geotagged photograph. After the ride you can create and submit the trail report on a computer and attach the geotagged photograph, which will generate the location map in the report (See instructions for submitting a trail report on a computer below).
Step by Step Instructions: In the Trailforks App follow these steps
On the map, highlight the trail by touching it. This will ensure that the correct trail is selected and will auto populated the trail name field on the next screen.
Once the trail is highlighted, touch the yellow arrow in the upper center of the screen.
From the drop down menu that appears, select “Write Report”.
On the “Write Report” screen you will see that the trail name (Master Link) is auto populated, and that the last “Status” and “Condition” are shown. The “Save Current GPS Location” slider will be in the “On” position (Green).
If for some reason the trail name is not auto populated, select the arrow next to the “Trail” field. That will open a screen with all nearby trails listed. Select the correct trail name from the list. That will return you to this screen with the trail name in the correct field.
Next, select “Status” followed by “Condition”. “Status” relates to the specific issue that you are reporting and how it impacts the trail, while “Condition” relates to the prevailing ground conditions on the trail.
Next, select “Description”. Here you have two options. You can type in your own description or you can select a description from the green “Quick Suggestions” tab at the bottom of the “Description” screen.
After you have made each of these selections, you will return to the main screen.
Optional Step: Add a trail work report
Next, if you did any trail work, select “Work Report”.
On the Work Report screen, slide the “Work Report?” slider to the “on” or green position.
Select how many hours were worked and how many volunteers participated in the work.
The trail work that you report will be saved on the Report page referred to above, so that the local Trails Association can keep track of all of the work done and volunteer hours worked. On the Report page they can filter for all trail work reports, and download it in a spreadsheet (csv) format.
If no trail work was done, you can skip this step.
Next, back on the "Write Report" screen click on the camera icon to take a photograph of the issue or work done and attach it to the report (remember to put your bike inthe photo frame for scale).
When the photograph is attached to the report you can go ahead and submit the report.
The report will be uploaded and an automatic notification will be sent to the Admin Group and everybody else “Subscribed” to receive trail reports for this region or trail.
If your phone is offline, or you are not logged in to the Trailforks App, your report will be saved until you are next online or logged in, at which time it will be automatically uploaded.
Optional Step: Post report to Facebook
After your report has been submitted, you will be presented with an option to also upload the report to a Facebook feed or group. Select the blue Share tab and select the Facebook page.
On a computer, follow these steps to submit a Trail Report or Trail Work Report
If you prefer not to add the trail report in the App, and you have taken a geotagged photograph on your phone while out on the trails, you can submit the report on the Trailforks.com website, on your computer, when you get back home.
The steps for adding a trail report from a computer are exactly the same as in the App.
Start off by downloading the photograph to your computer.
Then log into the Trailforks.com website and search for the ride area.
Select the trail and open the trail page.
On the trail page, select the YELLOW Add\Edit button near the upper right hand corner of the page.
The yellow Add\Edit button will turn GREEN and a dropdown menu will appear.
From the dropdown menu select “Add Trail Report”.
On the “Add Trail Report” page, fill in all of the fields as described in the App instructions above, upload the geotagged photograph, and submit the report.
Trailforks used to be a really reliable platform for posting and viewing up to date trail reports....until it became a paid app. I'm not sure if there's just fewer people using it now or if there's just no sense of responsibility for users to update it now that they have to pay for the service. However, I think if Trailforks incentivized writing trail reports, it could easily become the main hub for trail status information again. Maybe submitting trail reports/photos/updates could earn users points that could be used for a discounted membership, or access to Trailforks/PB/Outside swag or something. That could be neat.
122k reports added so far this year. And changes we're making to the app so reports upload faster and in the background will make posting reports more reliable. Reports also have a new issue status feature that people are starting to use.
Local admins and top content contributors already get access free subscriptions. To get enough points for a free subscription it currently requires adding a lot of trails to the map. We could look at creating a second tier for people that submit a lot of reports. You can get enough points by just submitting reports now, but would take 1000 reports.
Speaking of that, it would be really nice if you could look up reports on trail systems instead of specific trails. For example, a local trail system by me called green mountain has 27 trails on Trailforks. It’s much easier and more informative for me to go on Facebook and find a post that says “green mt is g2g except Rooney hill is muddy near the bottom”. If I wanted to find that sort of info on Trailforks I would have to look through all 27 trails and hope that someone posted a recent update on every single one, which no one is ever going to do around here
There are a bunch of recent reports for Green Mountain
Or you could goto one of the parent regions to see a broader area
Could filter the apps Trail Reports screen to either of those regions.
But you inspired me, I just made a new tool, on the website only atm. linked in the main menu under "Reports".
It shows recent reports within the map view, if you move the map the reports will change, it doesn't care about what region a trail belongs to, since its purely visual based on the context of the map. It includes reports on trails, POIs and the new region general reports.
Maybe it would be useful to write a follow-up to this article that explains this in detail.
They will no longer be "secret".
Please Trailforks, delete heatmaps that are not on sanctioned trails. Some may be private property.
It's really kinda a loosing battle though... most these users public rides are on Strava where there is no attempt to filter.
My 2 cents for those concerned with apps that aren't 100% free:
* Trail data is free for your local area. If you have the money to travel and ride your bike away from home, spending a few bucks on a tool to improve your experience and pay for the costs below seems pretty simple and not meaningfully impactful to your budget.
* It costs money to develop apps.
* It costs money to host and maintain data and serve user requests.
* Much of the data is user sourced, but TF also has people adding data, improving data quality, and improving trail maps.
I like TF and would prefer to pay a few bucks and build a bike and trail focused community rather than use a "free" app like FB that harvests every bit of my personal data possible to resell for profit and bombards me with ads I don't want while I navigate the cesspool of political and other posts not relevant to the trail statuses and maps I want to see.
If I am traveling; first finding a local trail group on Facebook, and then finding trail statuses (or maps, or any other trail data) in large Facebook groups is time consuming and can be difficult. If you are a local trail leader, it's hard and time-consuming to answer the same trail status questions in a group repeatedly.
I really appreciate having a singular tool to turn to, appreciate the problems TF is working to simplify for trail builders and communities, and I hope to see continued improvements in the app and participation.
Just to be clear, I have nothing against paying to use Trailforks or any other website, I just think it is not fair to use somebody else's work and give nothing in exchange. I am also quite sure they will sell their users data to advertisers in the same way Facebook does.
Using TrailForks to demonstrate the value of trails to land managers, documenting volunteer hours tied to specific parts trails, focusing volunteer and paid trail work hours on trails based on their popularity, and tasking trail repairs and other maintenance are all built into TrailForks.
Most riders (and rightfully so) don't leverage most of the power of TrailForks because they are out enjoying the trails that volunteers and organizations have built for us all to enjoy. For those volunteers and organizations building and maintaining trails, TrailForks and the user data that is compiled, are awesome tools to make more rad spots to ride bikes, bike, run, etc...
Yes, TrailForks and Outside probably have some "crazy" plan to create sustainable (at least enough money coming in to cover expenses) products that the community finds useful. TrailForks is a very useful tool.
Just wondering if people are still using trialforks since it needs to be purchased.
Anyway, in my area 90% trails one day simply disappeared from TF and by no means you can use TF to discover anything other than logging roads, so there is no reason to use it at all not to mention paying for it.
And I also use Gaia GPS for the same price. The Gaia topo map is good, especially the satellite image is a good tool for looking at new trails and I can also see Trailfork trails on it.
The biggest benefit is when I ride in the Alps in new places where I have not been before.
Fortunately, I grabbed the early adapter offer. 10€ per year is not much and what else could I get with it?
Maybe one pizza or 1.5 beers, a moment's pleasure.
There's a Trail Report feature that needs help: 'Scheduling'.
If a report is supposed to expire then the report should go away or otherwise become invisible.
It's confusing to look at a trail and believe that it's closed and then realize later that you needed to follow the report to see that it was closed two weeks ago for an event that was a day long and the report was scheduled to expire after the event, but it persists in view.
On the website you can now create a "region report" adding a report attached to a region rather than a trail.
I used TrailForks a few times. I gave up after it insisted I was off course (hello Tumalo Ridge) and kept pinging at me for every segment: shut it up, then the next segment starts, and it begins pinging again. Since the trail was user-added (I think???) the GPS track differed enough from my unit to give me an off course reading.
Creating routes is hard, no idea how well "give me choices for how to get back from here" works, editing problem trails is hard (look at this junction www.trailforks.com/trails/map? nearby=1&activitytype=1&z=18.0&lat=45.73503&lon=-122.31336). And why is the bridge not on the trail and the point of interest also not on the trail, www.trailforks.com/poi/74830
But it runs on your phone if you don't want to buy a Garmin.
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