I've heard of single track hiking/biking trails being "groomed" before to keep them in good condition for users. The use of shovels, rakes, and possibly chainsaws to keep the trails free of debris are likely to be used on shorter trails but may not be very efficient for trails that are miles long. These tools may also not be sufficient to fix rills caused by heavy rains. What other equipment is used to keep single track hiking and biking trails in safe condition for users and does the equipment differ for each trail type?
I just have experience in maintaining Hiking trails: You usually work in groups, and if the location cannot be reached using any motorized veicles, we distribute our tools among ourselves (nobody has to carry a full set of every tool). For the maintaining existing trails following tools are very handy:
- The most important tool in my opinion is some kind of combined hoe/axe: They come in all different forms and styles depending on where you're located. In german there is the Wiedehopfhacke, and another similar style popular in the US is the Pulaski. They are great for bringing your path back into shape and moving a lot of material as well as cutting roots, bushes or small trees.
- For cutting branches you can use pruning shears/loppers, hatches/billhooks and handsaws.
- If there is a lot of gravel in the soil, a light pick can also be advantageous.
These are usually sufficient for most of the work. Sometimes you also have to bring stakes and timber to repair or improve stairs or for securing slopes with a lot of loos material.
If you know that you're going to have to move a lot of dirt, you might also want to bring a shovel, and if you're going to have to remove a lot of fallen trees (for instance after a heavy storm) you do might want to bring a chainsaw with fuel/oil/sharpening equipment, maybe also some ropes for moving them.
It is a time consuming task and it is best done in groups, especially if you're in a remote location. It is usually also a good idea to carry a tarp for storing the tools at the location if you're working there over multiple days and do not have any motorized means of transport.