Trail widths vary depending on the purpose and environment. A trail could follow a major roadway, weave through a neighborhood or traverse rugged terrain. Therefore, trail classifications and standards were
established to assist in providing the right trail for the right place.
Scottsdale has four types of trails: primary trails, secondary trails, neighborhood trails and minimally improved/rugged trails. Each classification has unique standards that align the trail with its environment.
For all trail classifications, motorized vehicles are only permitted for maintenance and emergency purposes and where trail widths allow.
Primary Trails provide both transportation and recreation links between residential areas, schools, businesses, parks, places of employment and other areas of significant community activity. Primary Trails are
used by hikers, equestrians and bicyclists and typically have the most use of the trail types. The trail surface may be comprised of either native soil or decomposed granite. Urban Trails have the greatest width of
all trail classifications and therefore accommodate leisurely side-by-side travel and easy passing for multiple user types. These trails are typically located within areas of relatively level topography.
Secondary Trails provide alternative transportation and recreation links through areas such as desert washes, scenic corridors, vista corridors and other desert open space areas. Secondary Trails are also used by
hikers, equestrians and bicyclists, but typically experience a lower level of use than Primary Trails. Secondary Trails are narrower than Primary Trails and occasionally users must travel single file. Secondary
Trails are typically located within areas of level to moderate topography.
Neighborhood Local Trails
Neighborhood Local Trails provide access in and around neighborhood areas and provide connections to Primary and Secondary Trails. Neighborhood Local Trails typically act as “feeder” trails to the regional trail
network and may provide close-to-home recreational opportunities. Hikers, equestrians and bicyclists also use Neighborhood Local Trails, and in more rural areas, they sometimes serve as “sidewalks.”
Minimally Improved/Rugged Trails
Minimally Improved/Rugged Trails are built as far away from traffic as possible and designed for equestrians, hikers, runners and mountain bikers. Minimally Improved/Rugged Trails are constructed in areas where
other disability-accessible trail options are available or where the construction of an accessible trail will alter substantially the character of the surrounding area, impact culturally significant areas or be
difficult to construct because of the terrain, such as in washes.
Trail standards such as slope, width and vegetation clearance are associated with each trail classification. These standards can be found in the Design Standards and Policies Manual (2018).