How To: Submit A Trail Report From The Trailforks App

Mar 29, 2023 at 8:27
by Willie Jacobsz  
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).

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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 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 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.


  • 54 0
 I'm glad PB posted this article because I've been looking for a place to share this.
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.
  • 15 0
 It is unfortunate that no one uses the report system (myself included). I live in the Denver front range area, and some of the trails that easily get hundreds of people a day will get maybe one report a month. I personally don't see it as a reliable source since it is updated so infrequently, and therefore I don't update it myself. It's much easier/more reliable here to use local facebook groups to track trail conditions. I wonder if people in other regions see more frequent use?
  • 13 1
 Reports and trail maintenance tracking gave a really good reason for local trail organisations to promote trailforks whilst it was free. Unfortunately we have reverted to other methods (socials and an excel spreadsheet) which work fine. It was nice while it lasted.
  • 9 2
 Trailforks used to be so good when it was free! It seems to be more a fuss to operate now. I want minimum: unlimited map access at least for not paying, having to pick a small square sucks!
  • 8 2
 Now that Trailforks charges, it's only fair that builders charge TF for their uploads. I demand free membership for life for my popular Squamish trail Wink (And I'm effed if I'm uploading any more ha ha).
  • 8 0
 I agree, a point system that gives you a free subscription or a discount would be nice. I am sure a lot more people would add trails, reports etc. if they could get something for their work. Right now, in my eyes, it looks like they want people to work for them for free, so they can profit from this free work.
  • 2 1
 You can see a "reports per year" chart on this page, the amount of reports went up the year after we started Trailforks Pro and remains high
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.
  • 2 1
 There are other tools unique to Trailforks if there is not current trail reports on a trial. Like the "last ridden" trail style layer, or viewing recent public ridelogs on a trail to determine if it might be worth riding and snow free.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Where can I find more info about this point system? How many points do you need to get a free subscription?
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I feel like this point system should be advertised more effectively. 1000 reports honestly doesn’t seem that far out of reach for most people who may hit 5-6 trails in a single loop each time they ride.

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
  • 1 0
 @becausebicycle: You can view the reports tab for a region and see all the reports within that region on one page. This exists on the website and the app. Also in the app you can goto the "Trail Reports" section from the main menu, it will show all nearby reports, and you can filter this page to a specific region. On the website just recently we added the ability to add a region report, so a report not specifically tied to a trail.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: is there any way to tell what trails reside in which region? By me I have Denver, Denver area, and Denver County and it’s not clear which region I’d look in for specific trails. To me it seems like if I wanted to check in on the conditions of green mt trail system I’d need to identify what region it’s in, look up the latest reports for that region (which includes other trail systems in that region) then I need to scroll through the reports and try to recognize the name of one of the 27 trails in the system and hope that a recent report not only covers that one specific trail, but also has general info on the entire trail system. Alternatively I guess I could navigate to the trail system on the map and click on each of the 27 trails and check for reports. You can probably see why people in my area prefer to just log on a Facebook group and search the word “green mountain”
  • 2 0
 @becausebicycle: If you click a trail details it will show the region it's attached too. You can always go up to a parent region as well.

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.
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: I just messed around with that new reports by map tool. This is honestly a game changer. It's also really encouraging to see PB taking feedback and implementing it. Keep it up!
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: I'd love to hear more about the existing point system for content creation. From what you explained, it sounds a lot like what I had suggested in the original comment, I just had no idea it existed. I can see the total points earned in my profile, how does this translate to earning a free membership? Does it just become free once I hit a certain points tier, or is it something that has to be maintained with recent points?
Maybe it would be useful to write a follow-up to this article that explains this in detail.
  • 1 0
 @reindeln: I also asked this question and was ignored so I assume there is no such system.
  • 1 1
 Trailforks is still free to use and anyone can submit reports for free. Ya'll are making it sound like you have to have a pro membership for these features. You don't.
  • 1 0
 @reindeln: We just haven't had time to build a dedicated point -> pro explanation page. Once you have enough points, it will auto apply a coupon discount on the /pro page and show the updated price. Same if you are a region admin, you see a special link on that page. I think there is a discount at 500 points and free at 1000.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: trails reports within a map view would be a great feature to add to the app!
  • 16 2
 Regarding unsanctioned trails, please don't show heat maps where "secret" trails are.
They will no longer be "secret".
Please Trailforks, delete heatmaps that are not on sanctioned trails. Some may be private property.
  • 3 2
 What is this heat maps you speak of? *rubbing hands together*
  • 1 0
 We do try and block out secret trails on the heatmap as much as we can. But if users are posting public rides, it's hard. We already do WAY more than other heatmaps, trying to detect and flag if a ride goes on a secret trail, but we can only do that if the secret trails are in our system. More info about this here:
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I hope you are able to block out the secret trails that I sent you last week. I think it would be awesome if an admin for a club could block them out without having to contact trailforks.
  • 2 0
 @BrianColes: They can, by mapping the trails as hidden. But it takes time to filter through, no easy solution for that. Heatmap tiles take a lot of processing to generate and are not updated often, then they are cached on CDN. So changes take awhile to filter through all the steps. For users public rides in the system BEFORE a hidden trail is added, they are not flagged. So it can take 6 months or more for them to fall out of the timespam window of the heatmap. This is why it's best to map the hidden trails ASAP so it starts flagging users rides BEFORE they showup on the heatmaps.

It's really kinda a loosing battle though... most these users public rides are on Strava where there is no attempt to filter.
  • 1 0
 The root of this issue stems from the open source software all of these trail apps pull data from...
  • 1 0
 @willdabeast410: No... heatmaps have nothing to do with OSM data. Anyway Trailforks is the least reliant on OSM data compared to pretty much any other mapping app, since we built a whole system for managing map content and curating it. Where as other apps just style different basemaps based on OSM data.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I should have been more specific; I know heat maps is not pulled from OSM, but a certain filter allows everyone to see "secret trails" even though they are generally not named or clickable thanks to OSM...
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I sent you an email earlier and just saw this. Thanks for the response. I feel like we have had trails mapped as hidden for a long time but they are still on heatmap, while a few just recently have been pulled off heatmap. Might be easier to continue this in our email chain.
  • 1 0
 @BrianColes: I started mapping some of the hidden trails and responded to your email Smile
  • 16 3
 Glad to see this article, thanks Willie.

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.
  • 1 0
 I'm with you. I have no issue paying for Trailforks. If you're not paying for something, *you* are the product.
  • 1 0
 @texascrane: But in this case you are the product and you also pay to use the website. Most of the Trailforks' value are the trails, which are added for free by their users - and they get nothing in exchange for their work. Route planning features and maps are nothing revolutionary and there are free (and imo better) websites/apps for route planning. So... users build the value of this website for free and have to pay to use it... and what makes you think they will not sell your data to their advertisers or other businesses anyway? Pinkbike does it, Outside does it... why wouldn't Trailforks do it as well?

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.
  • 1 0
 @kuejku: This discounts the trail development tools and organizational tools built into TrailForks and how trails arrive on the planet in the first place. The aggregate ride data in TrailForks, volunteer reporting, mapping, and other trail management tools are EXTREMELY useful to trail-building organizations that want to be focused on building more trails instead of building technology to manage them.

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.
  • 1 0
 @methodracing: I never said it is not useful. I just said that despite paying, you are still a product here ;-).
  • 11 1
 How much money is PB making off trailforks?
Just wondering if people are still using trialforks since it needs to be purchased.
  • 2 0
 I just use the free local version and admittedly not that often since I haven't gone to a new trail in a while.
  • 5 0
 I use it. The price isn't too bad. I like to ride areas I have never been to, so I like how it links with my Garmin. Just click on the trail, then send it to the device. I agree that the trail reports are often dated and it would be nice if more people provided input. Some trails are pretty good like Lord of the Squirrels, I like to see when the snow is gone and people update the reports often so I know when it's ok to ride.
  • 8 1
 @ohbmxer: I might be in the minority but I find trailforks to be extremely helpful when riding new areas. Granted I pay the early adapter rate for life but I consider it worth it. I also get GaiaGPS for hiking which is miles better than AllTrails which I used to pay for to get offline maps.
  • 2 4
 @tjbiker38: thank you
  • 8 12
flag jake28 Mod (Mar 29, 2023 at 14:18) (Below Threshold)
 More people than ever before use Trailforks. Not gospel, just fact.
  • 3 0
 @jake28: Apparently those people are not identifying themselves as a part of biking community, cause otherwise you would have no problems with trail reports ... Fresh ebikers maybe? I cannot imagine not giving trail status update and using the app.
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.
  • 1 0
 I'm using it and I'm also early adaptor.
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.
  • 10 1
 PSA.... don't record/post unsanctioned trails.
  • 4 0
 I enjoy submitting Trail Reports often.
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.
  • 2 0
 Will dig into this. thank you
  • 1 0
 Message me an example. When a report is scheduled to expire a new one should be generated.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Will do - thanks.
  • 12 5
 So I can both pay for a user-sourced app AND add value to it? Sign me up!
  • 3 0
 my trail organization put on a contest to see who could leave the most trail reports. I came away with some peddles. Ive been making lots of reports since.
  • 1 0
 Two requests related to reporting trail work. 1. Don't require a trail to be selected. Sometimes we're building new trails, working on multiple trails, or working in a common area or similar. For example, sometimes after a windstorm I might clean branches of a couple dozen trails in a trail system, and so I just file one report on one trail. Building a new trail requires me to tag a trail I didn't work on. 2. Don't require a picture. Admittedly now I just post a black picture or one that's just dirt, but especially when working on trails that aren't open yet, I don't want to be posting photo evidence people may be able to use to locate and ride the trail before it's open.
  • 2 0
 A photo has never been required when posting a trail report?

On the website you can now create a "region report" adding a report attached to a region rather than a trail.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: trail work = work report. When submitting one via that app, at least, a photo is required. I see an admin had to remove my last one.
  • 1 0
 My TrailForks experience:

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 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,

But it runs on your phone if you don't want to buy a Garmin.
  • 1 0
 Can you request trails be added/removed or names changed? I cant count the number of times I have been to a trailhead only to find that none of the trails have the same name as they do on the app.
  • 1 0
 Not sure how relevant this still is, but below is a good link related to trailhead naming.
  • 2 2
 If you report the issue via trailforks, that issue is visible to local Trail Associations and Regional admins.
  • 2 0
 Anyone can submit edits to trails on the website. Your edit will have to be approved by a local admin or moderator before being published.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Ah ok. I'm always using the app, it didn't occur to me to use the website for this.
  • 4 0
 When your hobby turns into work.
  • 4 1
 Couldn’t be bothered, just go and ride the trails.
  • 1 0
 Do/are these features like trail work hours and trail updates moderated by a local admin or are they just published per each user straight to the platform?
  • 1 0
 local admins can edit any reports and be notified of new reports. A region does have an option to require reports by approved, but that feature is mostly designed for really managed places like bike parks.
  • 1 0
 I've tried a few times to write reports in paid Trailforks, and all attempts were unsuccessful. It needs to be straightforward for us to use.
  • 3 1
 Thanks for the article! As a trail steward, More Reports = More Better.
  • 5 3
 Social data, private profit.
  • 3 2
 Let's make an app from all your data you gave us, get you lot to update it and we can charge you lot for the privilege
  • 1 1
 This blog post written after Trailforks Pro was launched explains some things
  • 4 4
 Stop making Trailforks users automatically Outside+ members and I’ll report stuff
  • 2 2
 I've been paying for Trailforks pro for a long while now but considering opting out due to lack of Apple Watch compatability
  • 2 0
 He just back-filled an iOS developer, so will be making faster progress on the Apple side of things. It is on our wish list, but not quite sure what functionality is useful and possible yet.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Thanks for the update! The main feature that I would be excited for would be for when pedaling towards a trailhead that the watch vibrates when I have arrived or need to make an exit. And of course sync with apple health for stats. Cheers!
  • 1 1
 Is Trail Karma month ever coming back? Or has it gone the way of photo and comment of the year?
  • 1 0
 We sure hope so! Keep reminding marketing about it.
  • 2 4
 @jake28 any plans for an Apple Watch app?

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