Designing a Hiking Trail

This Designing a Hiking Trail activity & project also includes:

Put your students' map skills to the test with this engaging cross-curricular project. Given the task of developing new hiking trails for their local community, young cartographers must map out beginner and intermediate paths that meet a series of criteria including total distance, maximum gradient, and the number of different habitats it must pass through. A fun way for students to apply their understanding of topographic maps and the concept of scale.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Assign this as the culminating project for a geography lesson series on map skills
  • Modify this project to allow pairs of students to choose a national park that they would like to design new trails for
  • Create cross-curricular connections with life science by having the class create wildlife guides describing the flora and fauna native to the area
Classroom Considerations
  • Though originally designed for a specific community in New York, this project can be easily applied to your own region
  • A topographic map of your local area will need to be provided to each pair of students, which may be found on the Internet or purchased at a local book
  • The duration of this project can be adapted to meet your specific class schedule
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • Resource is available as a Word document, allowing teachers to customize the activity for their class
  • Provides students with a checklist of the different criteria their trails must satisfy
  • A section of teacher's notes offers suggestions and tips for implementing this project
  • None