How to Build a Crib Wall on a Trail

How to Build a Crib Wall on a Trail
Crib walls are a type of retaining wall built on trails to reduce erosion and stabilize the soil, especially at switch back turns. Crib walls also prevent hikers and mountain bikers from shortcutting the turn and causing damage to the surrounding landscape. Crib walls can be made of timber--which might be difficult to transport to a part of the trail far from access roads. Living crib walls are made of logs and fallen branches found close to the sight and planted with natural vegetation that will support the wall with its root system.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chain saw
  • Shovel
  • Logs
  • Tree limbs
  • Native plants
  • Volunteers
Step 1
Place a fallen log or timber as the base of the crib wall. Place smaller tree limbs or timbers perpendicular to the base log and pointing up the bank that's being reinforced. Push logs into the soil. It may take several volunteers to move the log and branches into place.
Step 2
Cover the branches with a layer of dirt. Plant the wall with native plants or shrubs that will grow into the wall and hold it place.
Step 3
Position another smaller log on top of the plant's roots to hold them in place while they grow.

Tips & Warnings

Trail improvements should always be done under the supervision of the property manager, such as a park ranger.

Article Written By Denise Bertacchi

Denise Bertacchi is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from Southeast Missouri State University. She is a St. Louis suburbanite who has written for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Boys' Life, Wisconsin Trails, and Missouri Life.

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