Are you interested in learning more about properly monitoring, maintaining and constructing trails? Are you a steward of the Arizona Trail or are you interested in helping out with trail projects? Do you like to get your hands dirty while learning valuable skills at the same time? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then make your reservations today for the upcoming trail trainings!

Online Trail Skills Training Opportunities

Interested in learning more before you head out? Check out our ONLINE SKILLS INSTITUTE here…

In-Person Training Sessions 

Note: Locations of all sessions will be determined by project availability, season and current closures. Projected locations are subject to change.

2024 Dates

September 14-15

  • Module 1&2: Monitoring and Maintenance
  • Location: TBD

October 19-20

  • Module 4: Trail Layout and Design
  • Location: Central, AZ

November 2-3

  • Module 3: Trail Structures
  • Location: Southern AZ

December 7-8

  • Module 1&2: Monitoring and Maintenance
  • Location: TBD

This innovative training offered in partnership with Flagline Trails teaches valuable skills to volunteers, including those who have been involved in trail projects for many years. Drawing upon thousands of hours on the trail and in the classroom, including some of the most daunting trail projects you can imagine, professional trail builders will inspire, educate, and give you the skills you need to be an effective steward and trail volunteer. From learning more about arid lands hydrology and how it relates to trail sustainability, to building rock check dams and realigning portions of poorly built trail, these sessions include time-tested techniques and innovative principles. Each training will take place entirely outdoors, with a focus on experiential learning. While there will be talks and demonstrations, the instructors have found that classroom time is never as valuable as time on the trail and a PowerPoint is no replacement for a pick mattock. Each training session is designed to benefit veteran trail dogs and first timers alike. This is accomplished through various modules presented within the trainings.


Module 1: Trail Assessment (1 day*)

  • Why trails? (users, experiences)
  • Seeing the trail and the surrounding landscape
  • Erosion and deposition, which forces are at work
  • Identifying problems and causes
  • Documenting trail condition

Module 2: Trail Maintenance (1 day*)

  • Reopening the trail corridor (brushing, log outs, rock obstacles)
  • Slough, berm and tread
  • Drainage (dips, knicks, reversal, checks, waterbars)
  • Hardening the trail

*Modules 1 & 2 are offered together as a 2-day Series.

Module 3: Trail Structures 

  • Why build structures?
  • Principles of dry stone masonry
  • Moving, splitting shaping and stacking stone
  • Steps, walls, rock armoring (tread and drain pans)
  • Drainage structures
  • Technical trail features (TTFs)

Module 4: Trail Design and Layout 

  • Why, who, what of trail design
  • Design factors (use, site conditions, climate and weather)
  • Construction design criteria (Trail Management Objectives)
  • Control points (positive and negative)
  • Trail corridor identification (GIS and visual assessment)
  • Tight flagging
  • Construction prescription

Module 5: Trail Construction 

  • Corridor clearing
  • Tread and backslope
  • Climbing turns and switchbacks
  • Retaining Structures
  • Drainage
  • Rehabilitation and finishing

Module 6: Obliteration and Restoration 

  • Closing trails (why, when, how)
  • Decompacting and scarifying
  • Reestablishing hydrological flow
  • Closing sight lines
  • Seeding and organic material

Other important elements integrated into the trainings include event planning; tool maintenance; leadership, inspiration and motivation; and “The User Experience: How trail workers can add or detract from the experience.”


Registration for our two-day trainings for volunteers is $135 per person / $85 per person for ATA Stewards. For Federal and State employees who are enrolling in their training as part of their professional development and paying through their employer, registration is $300. To register a Federal or State employee, please email us at All registrations include professional instruction, four meals, and lots of fun! 

Scholarships and discounted rates may be available to volunteers for whom the cost of registration is a barrier to participation. Contact for more information.

Just select from one of the options on the form below, and don’t forget to select which date/location you wish to attend. You will be asked to check out and redirected to Paypal to pay for your training session.

If a session no longer has any spaces left, email to be put on a waiting list.