Nature trails provide recreational opportunities in an outdoor setting. Terrain and other factors may make it difficult to make every nature trail universally accessible, but steps can be taken to ensure people with vision loss can use and enjoy a nature trail. It’s important to consider the needs of all users, including those with vision loss.
Trail access points should connect to a local accessible pedestrian route. All trails should begin with an information sign and a tactile map that uses contrast in colour, raised characters and braille. Additional braille, raised print and audible signage can provide information about a trail’s layout and points of interest.
Signage at the beginning of a trail should describe its length, degree of difficulty and distinguishing features – especially hazards. Include a legend to explain the meaning of all symbols and cues along the trail.
There are different types of trails, some of which are located in hazardous areas. Signage at trailheads must provide information about the trail that will allow the user to understand the configuration and assess the level of risk. This will allow them to determine if the degree of challenge matches their abilities.
For some types of trails, a guidance-rope system may be appropriate. Use a bright yellow rope at a height of 920 mm from grade running the entire length of a trail. The rope may be knotted at specific points to alert people with vision loss to a tactile sign or a point of interest. The rope system should begin at the information sign at the trailhead.