People select hiking trails based on their interests, abilities and skills. Some trails have guidebooks or other types of literature, such as brochures, providing information on local flora and fauna, general direction and general length. Though helpful, this information is not usually adequate for users to make decisions on whether or not a trail is appropriate for their needs.
The trail assessment process was designed to provide objective information to help users determine the appropriateness of a trail. This process includes precise measurements of the trail, including exact distance, grade, width, obstructions, and cross-slope. Other information provided includes rest points, water fountains, water crossings, restrooms, and other hazards or points of interest.
Signage can then be produced to inform users of the various aspects of the trail. The result is that the individuals are able to decide which areas are most appropriate for their needs.