Trail Maintenance Worker

Clear hiking trails in national parks with shovels and chainsaws.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $53,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Trail Maintenance Workers do?

When someone packs a picnic basket, scoops up the family, and heads out for a hike in nature, they probably don’t give much thought to how that trail got there or who is charged with maintaining it. This makes the job of a Trail Maintenance Worker a low-profile, albeit an important, one.

Actually, it’s not something you do alone. It requires teams of Trail Maintenance Workers to clear the branches, weeds, rocks, and logs from the trails that the rest of us use for backpacking trips, hiking, or mountain biking.

It requires tools too. Depending on the condition of the trail, you may need to use chainsaws to cut up fallen trees, or handsaws to trim branches dangling in the way. You also use shovels and rakes to remove debris, haul bark, dirt, or gravel, and dig trenches for water runoff. In fact, since water can wash out the trail, you might also install drainpipes under, over, or around it.

In areas where there are rivers or other bodies of water, you build, repair, or maintain the footbridges that allow hikers to cross. You might even work with a team to create a series of steps to the top of a waterfall.

Whatever the plan or the task at hand, the job of Trail Maintenance Worker has you centered in Mother Nature’s garden. The rush of the waterfall, the tweet of the birds, the chirp of the crickets, and the throaty croak of the frogs keep you company as you create a peaceful path into nature for the rest of us to enjoy.

Should I be a Trail Maintenance Worker?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Rail Splitter, Trail Construction Worker, Trailhead Construction Worker, Trailhead Maintenance Worker

    How to become a Trail Maintenance Worker

    Trail Maintenance Workers generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Trail Maintenance Worker-related education!
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