Trail Work

When Friends of Tahoe Donner Trails began, all our volunteer projects focused on trail building and trail repair. Since then we’ve branched out considerably, but trail work remains an important component of the club’s activities. We’re proud of the role we’ve had in advancing the tradition of volunteer trail work here in Tahoe Donner, and we hope to continue to build and strengthen that tradition for the future.

For information about the Trail Crew Leader Program, please see click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What kind of work will we be doing?

A. The type of work depends on the project. Often in the past we’ve undertaken repairs and maintenance on existing trails. More recently, however, we have tended to build new stretches of trail. When publicizing specific projects, we always to specify the exact nature of the work we’ll be doing.

Q. Will I be expected to do heavy labor?

A. Only if you choose to do so. When organizing volunteer trail building events, we try to choose projects that are open to a wide range of ages and physical abilities. Everyone will be able to choose their own level. If you have specific questions or concerns about the physical demands of particular projects, we encourage you to email the Trails Club for more information.

There is always plenty of light work to be done. For new trails, forest duff must be raked from the path, and overgrown brush and trees must be pruned back from the corridor. That said, if you enjoy trail work because you enjoy using big, heavy tools and moving big, heavy rocks, rest assured we usually have plenty of that as well.

Q. What sort of tools will we be using?

A. We use a variety of hand tools. Some, like shovels, adzes, and pruning sheers, are quite commonly familiar. Others like Pulaskis and rock bars are more specialized. One of the most frequent tools we use is a heavy-duty firefighting rake called a McLeod.

Q. What should I wear and bring?

A. You should wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. You will want to wear a pair of sturdy shoes or boots, and you will definitely want to bring thick work gloves. Some people prefer to wear shorts during warm weather, but many of us, especially those of us who are up for the more strenuous aspects of trail work, prefer to wear long pants because we spend a lot of time kneeling on the ground.

We also recommend the use of sun or safety glasses for eye protection, plus a hat and sunscreen for sun protection. Finally, everyone should bring plenty of water.

Q. Can I bring my kids?

A. Due to the nature of our current project, we are restricting volunteers to ages 10 and above.

Q. Can I bring my dog?

A. For the safety of the animal, we do not recommend bringing your dog to our trail work events.

Trail Crew Leader Program

We have heard a consistent demand in recent years to organize more trail work events for our most active volunteers.

By establishing a trail crew leader program we hope to satisfy that demand, first by connecting volunteers with any training they require, and second by providing them with skill appropriate projects that they can undertake independently on their own schedule.

In addition, we hope a portion of these most dedicated volunteers will serve as crew leaders for novice trail builders at our big volunteer trail work days on the third Saturday of every month.

If this project interests you, and you would like additional information, please email the club at