Bridges, Wooden features, wallrides

  1. Definition & Purpose 

Wooden features are mainly used to bridge wet areas or pass over obstacles. They can be used as technical features as well.

Common wooden features:

  • Bridges and boardwalk
  • North shore, skinny, wallride
  • Jump take off, landing platform, slopestyle features. 

fig. 1: north shore

Important notices

  • Wood is not a long-lasting material and should be avoided when building sustainable trails
  • Wood can rot quickly and demands very regular inspections.
  • Any feature higher than 680mm above ground level needs a side railing to prevent falling according to EU health and safety standards.

To consider when building wood features:

  • Wood is a very slippery surface when wet and may require the application of a textured surface to make it safe for riders
  • Wooden construction requires precision and accuracy (measure twice, cut once). A comparable dirt feature is easier to finetune and reshape. 


  • Bridges are complex structures and should only be considered if no other suitable crossing solution is found. 
  • In most cases, it requires an engineer’s approval and a specific company to build the concrete bases and / or bridge features.
  • Crossing into the river bed (a ford) can be made with stone pavement and in many cases happens to be an easier way of building.
  • Don’t forget the stream crossing code
    • stay out of streams and wetlands (if possible)
    • if crossing is essential, build above the water with bridges and boardwalks
    • if a bridge is not feasible, armor the crossing well

Further information about bridges


Aspect Type of users
Description Wallrides should only be installed on trails exclusively for mountain bikers. Installing such a feature on a shared trail will raise the risk of accidents.
Aspect Speed of user
Description It’s important to consider how much speed the riders will carry into the wooden berm. The angle of the wall ride will depend on it. If the trail is made for riders with different sets of skills it's important to construct or keep an inner flat part of the trail. This will allow beginners to travel safely on the trail.
Aspect Difficulty level
Description Higher speed brings steeper angles of the wall ride. Both accelerate the difficulty level.
Aspect Maintenance frequency
Description Working with wood means making sure to prevent it from rotting wherever possible. If it touches the ground it needs to be put in post sleeves or something similar. Charring the wooden post will also do the job. If you put on one or two layers of tar in addition the post will last much longer. Also keep in mind to always take off all the bark.
Aspect Location
Description Take samples from other places. Measure out the wallrides that you get a feeling for the dimensions. You need a downhill run in and a downhill run out. At most times the area gives you the size and the degree of the wall ride. As soon as the space is cleared and an overview over the exact dimensions are clear the wall ride can be planned to fit exactly in the spot. It’s important to take the run-in speed into account. If available, the use of an engineering software may be helpful.
Aspect Media