Gone Outdoors

How to Build Wooden Steps Into a Trail

by Philip Foster

Hiking and backpacking allow one to enjoy the great outdoors while burning calories and toning muscles. According to the Federal Highway Administration, many hiking trails across the United States feature wooden or stone steps that have been fastened into the ground. Trail steps are ideal for steep inclines as they enable your hiking boots to remain stabilized throughout the climb. To ensure the success of the building process, make sure the angle of your wooden steps corresponds with the slope of the hiking trail.

1. Measure the length of one of the 4-by-4 pieces of lumber to find the halfway point. Cut the lumber in half with a circular saw to create two identical 4-foot long pieces. Repeat the process with the remaining lumber to build the basic structure of your wooden stairs.

2. Fasten a flat wood drill bit into the head of your electric drill. Lower the drill bit onto the top of one of the 4-by-4 pieces. Drill a vertical hole through the opposing ends of the lumber. Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of lumber to complete the wooden stairs.

3. Make sure you have permission to alter the trail before commencing with the building process. Utilize the head of the spade shovel to dig out a 4-foot long horizontal indention into the slope of the trail. Align your first wooden stair into the indention with the vertical holes facing up.

4. Insert a metallic rebar stake through the vertical holes of the wooden stair. Hammer the stakes into the ground to fasten the wooden stair in place. Repeat the building process with the remaining pieces of 4-by-4 lumber. Spread the stairs an equal distance apart along the slope of the hiking trail.

Items you will need
  • Tape measure
  • 4-by-4 lumber, 8-feet long
  • Circular saw
  • Flat wood drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Spade shovel
  • Rebar stakes, 2-feet long
  • Hammer

About the Author

Philip Foster has been writing professionally since 2010. His work has been featured in the literary-arts magazine "The PEEL" and the weekly newspaper "The Mountain Xpress." Foster is an expert in various extreme sports. He cooked in a restaurant that offered organic and vegetarian cuisine for over three years. Foster received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Appalachian State University.

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