I live in the western part of state of Maharashtra, India. The city of Pune is located on the Deccan Plateau.
Deccan plateau itself is huge. The western section of the plateau has a vertical drops of ranging from about 900 to 1800 ft. for about 1600 km. This section is what known to world as The Western Ghats
So, there are trails from villages located on Deccan plateau to the lower places, popularly called Kokan. In Maharashtra there are 250+ such routes that are documented, and about 100+ which aren't documented. Before the development age, some of these were used for trade and commute.
My observation: What I have observed is due to lack of development in economy almost 75% of villagers still frequent these routes down the mountain, be it for trade, or be it for travelling. The road transport is there, but these foot-trails are still the shorter (and free, of course) way of commute.
The point is, these routes are not limited to trekking/hiking only!
Question: Are there such routes in the part of the world where you live? I agree that those route may not be used for trade these days, but do people use these routes for commuting by foot? I don't want to consider such paths that are converted into motor-able highways/freeways/roads.