Trailforks Update: Trail Condition Reporting & New Features

Jun 8, 2022 at 14:54
by Todd Neumarker  

Words: Todd Neumarker

With the Spring riding season in full swing here in North America, the Trailforks crew wanted to give users a quick update on recent developments. We've added some new features to help riders quickly see which trails are ready to ride. We know full well that trail reports are better in some locations then others, so we added new features that work in addition to trail reports along with this how-to.

This is the season where trail conditions are changing daily. Some are drying out fast as summer approaches while others are closing down with intermittent rain showers. Now is the perfect time to update trail conditions on Trailforks. A lot of our pro subscribers and local riders tend to know their area dry patterns, but this is more about saving trails for everyone by letting all trail users know where NOT to go. This allows our precious trail builders and trail associations to work on new trails instead of repairing old ones.

Start by Checking Conditions
If you are planning your trip at home or using the app there are a few ways you can check trail conditions in your area. Trailforks provides live style overlays that are powered by our user community. Trail reports and activity recordings power these live styles to provide users with up-to-date information on trails. Currently we provide these 3 tools:
• Trail Style - Conditions (Web and App)
• Trail Style - Last Ridden (Web Only)
• Trail Activity Logs (Web and App)

Trail Style - CONDITIONS
By default this will display all trails according to the latest condition report in the system. You also have the option to filter it by the latest reports. If it recently rained or you are unsure of conditions, play with the filters, and plan your ride accordingly. I know my local trails pretty well, and they are close by, so I'm most interested in how high up the mountain I can ride before I encounter mud or snow.

Trail Style - LAST RIDDEN
Another option is to view trails based on recent traffic. Another live style that Trailforks provides (currently web only), is the ability to paint the map according to when a trail was Last Ridden. This live style will color the map according to the last time someone recorded their activity on a per trail basis. So even if a report was not filed, you are able to get a sense of what is being ridden. This should not be used as a definitive guide on what is "Good to Go", but is yet another way to get a sense of trail conditions. From my example below, I'm very interested in this "Red" trail that nobody has ridden yet this year.

In the app there is a trick you can use to check a specific trail, to see if it may be ready to ride. If I'm interested to know if the flow trails on the south side of Corner Canyon are ready to ride, I can select the trail and look at all the most recent rides by selecting "Routes"

10660 Routes?
That does seem like a bit too many routes. That is because the routes list includes the following items in this order:
• Locally created favorite Routes
• Automatically Generated Popular Routes
• Most Recent Activity Logs

The tip here, is to scroll down past all the user created routes and generated popular routes, and take a look at the last time the trail was ridden. Location and trail popularity will vary here, but seeing several recent rides can give you an idea of the trail has been used recently.

This is NOT a definitive source, but will provide you with a bit more confidence before you decide to pack up the car and spend the effort to get to the trail system.

Weather History
The sun is shining, conditions look perfect for a ride, but what about the past few days? Trails take time to dry out, and your typical weather app doesn't readily tell you if it rained in the past few days. I can generally remember if it rained near my home, but what about the trail system that is an hour away, or at a slightly higher elevation? Some times the weather for me is perfect in the valley but rained a bit up north. Trailforks now records and keeps track of daily weather in over 1000 major regions so that you can "Look back in time" by location to see when it last rained:

Record your Activity in Trailforks
Updating trail condition status is easier than ever in Trailforks now, since we can detect which trails you have ridden. You can report on trail conditions right from the trail, after your ride, or bulk submit trail conditions for all trails you rode. This is made possible when you use the Trailforks App to record your ride.

Why record my ride in Trailforks?
Quickly see where you’ve already ridden. Confirming which trails you rode gives you a better sense of the local trail distances, so you can make better decisions on what to do next:

• Is there time to extend my loop?
• Fastest way back to trailhead?

Trail Condition Style
If you ride with the “Condition Trail Style” on, you can avoid trails that have been marked as muddy and avoid them. Trailforks will paint the trails according to the last report that was submitted

Last Ridden Style
By simply recording your ride and being a good steward of your local trail system (staying off of muddy/closed trails), other riders can see that the trail has been ridden recently using the “Last Ridden” web style.

Trail Statistics
Trail associations, land owners, cities and trail-centric tourism boards can review the trail usage statistics. Providing trail builders information on which trails are ridden the most and the directional flow enables better planning and better trail systems. These recordings also feed the Trailforks live style layers to help all users plan the perfect day on the trails.
The easiest way to report trail status is to start recording your activity in the Trailforks App

Hit the Trail
Once the app is recording it will track which trails you riding on. If you encounter mud or otherwise poor riding conditions you can update the condition right from the app. Trailforks will already know which trail your on, so you need only need to select the condition. It also helps other users to know when a trail is "ideal" for riding. This may be location dependent. For the ride I'm reporting on, nice tacky dirt is considered prime, but just having the grass matted down from late snow-melt also puts this trail status squarely in the "Ideal" category.

First Trail is "Ideal"
Mud Encountered
Muddy Condition Report

My goal was to ride this specific trail, but since the whole length was perfect, why not continue up until I reach the snow line. Once I got high enough and deep enough into the trees, I finally encountered snow and mud. I took a report photo, but did not submit it because I was pretty far away from home. I was ready to get home and eat lunch, I could add the report then.

This is where I "pad up" and send it back to the trailhead. Once I reach the car, I stop my ride recording and I have completed the "Trifecta":
• Which trail is in prime shape
• Which trail is too muddy to ride
• Trail was last ridden updated

Trail users looking for the best current options, and more importantly what trails NOT to hit.

Bulk Report

If you recorded your activity, Trailforks will do its best to detect all the trails you rode. On the website, you can review your ride details by selecting "My Ride Log", if you are mountain biking. For hiking, it will appear as "My Hike Log".

Select "My Ride Log", then select the date that you want to review. If you just completed your ride, it should be listed at the top of the list. Select the activity log by the date to see a full summary of your ride.

Below the "Trail Ridden Details" there will be a link to add bulk reports from all the trails you rode:
[add trail reports from this ride]
From here you will be provided with a list of all the trails you rode, and you can update conditions all at once.

Going the Extra Mile
At this point the conditions are all updated, and you did your part to keep singletrack single and rut-free. Any condition report photos will now be assigned to that trail with a special "Report" tag. Report photos are sorted to the bottom of any trail photo tab so that they can be used for historical reference. We also encourage you to upload any trail photos and assign them to the trail for the benefit of all Trailforks users.

Thanks for reading! Download Trailforks today to get the latest trail conditions. I'll be sticking around for a few minutes to answer some questions in the comments.


  • 15 0
 This all looks great!

Feature request: somewhat often, I get errors in how the trails are displayed on the app. I'll be able to see the trail name, but the line doesn't appear on the map and I can't click on it. Supposedly this is due to some sort of corruption in the trail database. Sometimes syncing that region will fix it, but sometimes it doesn't, in which case the only solution is to delete and re-download the app. It would be easier if I could just delete that region and then re-download it, rather than re-downloading everything.
  • 12 0
 Thanks, we're aware of this issue and working on a solution
  • 2 1
 @todd: How do we get split times?
  • 1 0
 @todd: Awesome, thanks!
  • 1 0
 @todd: Kinda suspected you guys had been making mods to the app/database. I've been using the app regularly for two years with no issues, last few weeks, lots of strange issues showing up. Trails missing, ridelog errors, no thumbnail maps etc.
  • 1 0
 @Moonie2123: Which app do you use, iOS or Android? I'd love it if you could DM me with specifics. Thanks
  • 1 0
 @todd: Thanks Todd, I actually just sent an e-mail with thumbnails to the address. Android phone. Have reloaded the app, deleted and reloaded the data a few times now trying to resolve.

  • 1 0
 I have that same problem all the time but I have never been able to fix it. It seems to occur after an update. My friends that never update can still see all the trails.
  • 1 0
 You can remove a region and re-download it, swipe it left in the list

We are planning on making downloading a region offline more optional at some point, as most users are online most the time.

But sometimes the trails have just been removed for various reasons and the labels take longer to update and their cache to expire:
  • 1 0
 @Moonie2123: totally agreed. My GF and I planned a trip to the coast to ride a couple of the easy trails around Powel River. We got to the ferry, checked the TF app to see the conditions, and the trails were no longer there. There was no notification if the trails were closed for maintenance or anything. They were just not there anymore. So we decided to stay put. A bit disappointed, but no biggie. There’s lots of trails to be ridden on the Sunshine Coast.
  • 1 0
 @Moonie2123: I've had some similar ones on android. Sometimes saying I rode a nearby trail, not the one I actually rode. Also when starting a ride log It will start at a random time, 20 hours or 3 hours or 18 minutes. Have to cancel and restart several times for it to start from zero.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Thanks for getting back to me. That was the first thing I tried when it happened and it didn't work. I know the trails are part of an established, signed network that would not have been removed intentionally.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I just looked at one of the trail networks that has had the labels but no trail lines for quite a while but now it's fixed! Thanks guys.
  • 12 1
 So still no Apple watch integration? Sigh...guess I'll keep using the competitor app.
  • 7 0
 which app would that be?
  • 2 0
 Ride logs can be auto imported from Strava.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I just use the strava integration. I record on Garmin Watch > After the ride, Garmin app auto pushes data to Strava > Trailforks pulls data from Strava.

If your device, no matter the brand or app, can get data to Strava, you can use trail forks Smile
  • 1 0
 @krau: I prefer using my Garmin Watch -> Trailforks -> Strava.

That way my Strava activity gets injected with a few Trailforks stats, like descent and number of trails.

Strava gets the same GPS data as Trailforks just passes along the raw .FIT file data to Strava.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Ahh interesting. What do you mean by getting descent data from Trailforkst? My Strava has my descends on there from the Garmin app. Or maybe it's not getting correct data and its a better to go Garmin>Trailforks>Strava?
  • 3 0
 @krau: Strava is roadie focused, so it doesn't show descent meters as one of your overall stats, like distance or total climb.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Good to know, I do the same as @krau so I'll switch it up to see how it works.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Oh! I didn't even think it could do that. Thanks for the info!
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: Love it. Is there a short tutorial showing how to go from Garmin to TF to Strava? I currently do G>S>TF but I like the idea of getting decent numbers.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I’ve looked but haven’t found anything showing how to go from Garmin > TF > Strava.
  • 1 1
 I think I've got it. For anyone (else) looking how to set this up, do the following:

1. Login to Trailforks
2. Go to Ride log > My ride log
3. Click "add ride" on the far right
4. Click "Automatic Garmin Importing"
5. Follow Steps 1-3 on this tab.
  • 2 0
 @gnarlysipes: fat fingered the down vote button, sorry. Thanks for the info!
  • 1 0
 @krau: All good. Glad someone could use it.
  • 11 1
 What's the future of Trailforks Pro after PB got sucked up by Outside?
  • 2 1
 You can get access to Trailforks Pro as part of a larger Outside+ bundle. Both are on a spring 50% sale right now
  • 3 0
 @canadaka: For those of us who are early paying adopters of Trailforks - will that discount rate continue to be honoured?

Also - what happens to folks that did pay for Beta?

It's been challenging finding any info from Outside+ regarding the above 2 questions. Thanks!
  • 4 0
 @canadaka: That's a fair deal, I suppose. In March I signed up for Trailforks Pro because I needed the features for a week. Rather than just pay for a month, I paid $36 for a year. Now the price has been cut in half. As you might imagine, I'm less than thrilled. Can you do something to even the score?
  • 2 0
 @jaydubmah: We have been told early adopter rate will continue to be honored!
I'm not sure about Beta Brand Pass.
  • 7 0
 Trailforks continues to be the best $20 a year or whatever that I spend on biking.
  • 1 0
  • 3 0
 I'm waiting for the track my buddys feature. Enter what users you are riding with and it allows you to see their location if they get lost. Or maybe you are all doing a race together and ride at different paces. Just a thought, I'll take free trailforks use for life as a royalty if you choose to implement. Smile
  • 3 0
 It's on our list.
  • 1 0
 Awesome! @canadaka:
  • 2 0
 It would be nice if we could get an update on why suddenly Trailforks does not track the same on droid vs iphone, I have asked tech support multiple times why on average my ride log is 2 miles short of others that ride the exact same route. And how do I get my ride log corrected???????
  • 1 0
 We're improving tracking now and the iOS update is coming for that. Which phone do you think is not correct?
  • 3 0
 Have you checked on your device's GPS accuracy settings? On android there's a setting somewhere about GPS specificity, you have to explicitly allow high-accuracy GPS tracking.
  • 2 0
 @uh-no: can confirm. I had to toggle GPS to high to get accuracy in Android. Not sure if that's the case for iOS
  • 1 0
 Distances will always vary between devices on the same ride. I can ride with 5 different phones and GPS devices and the distances will all be different. This is nothing new. There is new Android native tracking code, the initial release had a larger minimum distance between points, the most recent update changed this back to 2 meters and 1 second between points. These values are now configurable in the app settings. So make sure you have the latest version.
  • 3 0
 Great writeup! As someone who works in software I think these are really useful and detailed release notes. Not afraid to just screenshot the crap out of your own phone to show every little nuance. Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Feature request:

I love looking at my Ride Log to see the total feet I’ve climbed in a given year, and my riding time.

But when I go to bike parks it messes it up because it counts the lift up as climbing feet and riding time. Doesn’t seem to catch the chairlift.

I try pausing the ride on my way up but it never seems to work well. Either the ride wipes (looks like a bug) or it still adds the elevation change despite the pause. I’m on the latest iOS version of the app.
  • 1 0
 The ridelog should detect most chair lifts, if they are in our database of chair lifts from OSM. Or if you pause at bottom and resume at top, it will assume its a chairlift or shuttle.

The distance and climb numbers remove those chairlift portions on your ridelog stats.

Look at one of my recent rides, can see the chair lifts and my distance is adjusted
  • 2 0
 We keep all chair lifts in the database and detect it, with that exact idea in mind. If it is not working for you, would you mind sending me a DM with a link to one of your rides that did not work. Thanks in advance!
  • 1 0
 @todd: just DM'd!
  • 3 0
 Would love to see an ability to note trail conditions when you dont ride the whole trail (i.e. because there is snow so you had to turn around).
  • 1 0
 You can do that. Just click on the trail, click on reports, click on add.
  • 1 0
 I feel like the trail flow feature could be a gold mine for those of us that live in more rolling terrain riding new trails...could we get more color gradients to show most common directionality? It sort of seems like that feature could use some tweaks to be more intuitive.

Obviously I could just ride the trail and decide for myself, but that would also be ridiculous.
  • 4 0
 That feature was originally built to show trail builders and designers how the trail system flows. As we push more features into the app, this is high on our list to improve for riders. To see the most common direction of a trail, especially in large flat intersections and trail heads would be super useful. Look for it in a future release.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone happen to know if trailforks works if you are not using cellular service? I'm headed to Canadia in a few weeks, and it looks like a giant pain/huge amount of $$$ to use my phone while I'm there, but it would be nice to know where the trails are in relation to wherever I am currently lost at.
  • 2 0
 Yes, all the trail data is downloaded to the phone when you sync with the province you're going to ride in. If you want background layers, then you can use the offline maps feature to download layers you're interested in. So you will be able to see the trails without cell service, just download everything you need before you go, or with local wifi.
  • 1 0
 Yes it does, I'm down in Utah from BC Canada and using my old phone with no SIM card in (ie - no cellular service) and can use Trailforks while I'm out riding here. I just make sure to sync the data/download the maps/create ride routes on WIFI before heading out.

Hope this helps!
  • 1 0
 @todd: do I need to do it on a computer first? It won’t let me select the trails I want to ride on my phone.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: I did a bunch of trails I want to ride in Utah (Richfield, Cedar City) via phone; I did that via the browser via and not via the app fwiw. Also can confirm what @todd said that the trails ridden in OR, UT etc did not need cell service.
  • 1 0
 Trail data is stored offline when you download the Province. But there is a new feature in the app where you can also save the background map and layers offline for areas of the map. Look for the "Offline Maps" link in the map options.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: perfect! Thank you!

Does gps work? Can I see where I am on the trail?
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: Yes GPS works still, you'll be able to track your progress and position on trails without a cell network.
  • 1 0
 @todd (while we have your attention) is there an ETA for the "subscribe to work reports" option reaching the region level? It's still trails-only but it'd really be useful for trail associations to be able to bulk-subscribe to TF work reports without getting the flood of notifications for all reports.
  • 2 0
 I'll make sure that's in the roadmap of new features. Probably should revisit all the subscriber groups so that we keep email lists tuned and to a minimum
  • 1 0
 Great improvements. However, the absolute best way to gauge trail conditions is to use this data: You can literally click on the tiniest zoom in point on the map and get 10th of an inch accuracy precipitation. Relying on riders posting conditions just doesn't cut it.
  • 1 0
 I'd say that data is interpolated/ a guess from the nearest observations. And do you keep tabs on how much rain each trail can abosorb? Each low point in each trail? And the cumulative effect of rain over more than 72 hrs? An actual observed report would beat a weather model. Granted it has to be up to date, but still better.
  • 1 0
 @Mitchvg: Sure, I’d just assume have a buddy scout it for me. But the reliability of randos posting reports has proven very low in my experience. IMO, that site is the current best way to get the most pertinent data.
  • 1 0
 The app is very slow for me. It acts like it has 10-15 fps instead of a higher refresh rate. It's difficult to use. I don't know what happened. Me and my buddies app did the same thing. It didn't always do this. I've cleared cache and data and reinstalled countless times. No dice.
  • 3 1
 There should be a beyond your skills feature. If you ride blue machine built trails and show up at a double black you should be advised to go elsewhere.
  • 6 1
 Blue trailhead signs and double black trailhead signs are your beyond your skills feature and all riding areas have integrated this feature.
  • 2 0
 @warmerdamj: It's not working, Joey's are in over their heads all over Cypress.
  • 1 0
 I think there was a filter where i could filter trails of an area due to rating but i can't find it anymore. Only popularity. Has this been removed?
  • 2 0
 Any future plans for wahoo integration? Absolute ballache having to download the gpx then reload... Thanks!
  • 2 0
 I won’t pay. I follow crows kooks and locals now
  • 2 1
 How do I get split times?
  • 1 0
 Author's surname checks out

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