All Persons Trail:
Trail Navigation

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It is important to provide clear and accessible navigation tools for all users. This can be achieved through a combination of signage and navigational technology. By providing these accessible elements for trail navigation, we can ensure that all users, regardless of their abilities, can navigate the trail confidently and easily.

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  1. Signage
  2. Navigational Technology


Trans Canada Trail signage guidelines are to be used as good guidance only. Signage and accessibility by-laws change regularly and are difficult to manage. Please check with local, provincial and federal building by-laws before proceeding with your project.

Trail signage provides essential information about location, distances and amenities. For a trail to be safe and enjoyable for all users, predictable signage is essential. In addition, having knowledge about the availability and type of signage before arriving at the trail will provide visitors with an increased comfort level before and during their trail outing.

General Guidelines for all Signage


  • Include both text and simple graphic images.
  • Use high colour contrast and large sans serif font.
  • Keep text clear, consistent, visible and easy to understand by using plain language.
  • Make signage content available to users before they visit the trail, for example on your website and in paper format at a visitor center.
  • Tip: Consider braille only if users know beforehand where it can be found, and only if users can remain comfortable in all weather conditions.

Placement of Signs

  • Ensure that signs are placed off the main path of travel to avoid accidents.
  • Consider height, viewing distance, and overhead clearance.
  • Ensure slant and text height is readable for all visitors at intended distances.
  • Ensure that all signs are placed at a height that is cane detectable.
Two adults, one holding a leash with a dog standing in front of a sign with braille on the trail.

This trail features braille on signs along the trail. It is promoted on the trail website, and it is accompanied by an audio tour. Photo credit: Mass Audubon’s All Persons Trails.

Trailhead Signage

  • Include a map with the following information:
    • Distances between access points, amenities, points of interest and other important locations
    • Washrooms, change rooms, rest stops and other facilities
    • Information resources available (e.g., audio tours, printed maps, etc.)
    • Emergency information
    • Amenities and points of interest
    • Grade of trail sections
    • Trail surface changes (e.g., paved, natural, boardwalk)


  • Use map illustrations with high colour contrast that are easy to read and navigate.
  • Consider printing maps in braille and/or raised lettering for visitor centres.
  • Ensure all access points and distances are noted on all maps.
  • Tip: Know before you go! Ensure maps are available on your website for trip planning purposes.
An illustrated trail map, with colour contrast, that can help visitors navigate the trail.

An illustrated trail map, with colour contrast, can help visitors navigate this trail. Photos credit: Mass Audubon’s All Persons Trail.

Colour Contrast

  • Lettering on all signs should contrast with the background.
  • The colour should ensure visibility in its surroundings.
  • Use non-reflective surfaces and ensure lighting does not create glare.
  • Use a simple, logical and consistent layout on all signs along the trail.
  • Avoid complicated imagery.

QR Codes

  • QR codes can allow visitors to quickly scan and access trail information using a cell phone.
  • Ensure QR codes are large and visible and can be scanned from a distance.
  • Keep in mind QR codes are not accessible to all trail users.


Audio Tours

Audio tours can bring a trail to life for all visitors, especially those who are blind or have low vision. Nature sounds and interpretation, verbal descriptions, historical background, cultural education, and navigation instructions are some ways to use an audio tour.

When creating audio tours for your trail, consider:

  • Creating a tour between 30 minutes and 1 hour in length.
  • Try to restrict the content to 3 minutes at each tour stop.
  • Consider offering tours in different languages to ensure that as many visitors as possible can enjoy it.
  • Consider offering audio tours for various age groups (children vs adults).
  • Offer seasonal versions of the audio tour to offer diverse types of experiences throughout the year.
A bead along a guide rope in front of a wooden pole with an audio stop sign on the pole.

Bring your trail to life with audio tours positioned along the trail. This trail uses beads along a guide rope to signal each audio stop. Photo credit: Mass Audubon’s All Persons Trail.


  • Consider implementing a navigational tool such as Blindsquare, an app that uses voice to share information about points of interest along the trail.
  • Consider collecting accessibility information about your trail using AccessNow, an app that collects and shares accessibility information collected by mappers with lived experience.
  • Tip: Ensure that a description of navigational or accessibility tools is included on your website and on all signage.
A person holding a smartphone. The smartphone shows the AccessNow application and various technology tools available

Consider implementing various technology tools to help visitors navigate your trails, such as AccessNow.

On-trail Features

  • Railings may be required along boardwalks, bridges, lookouts, and other similar infrastructure. Ensure that the railing height allows for viewing from a seated position.
  • Consider installing a guide rope as a navigational system.
  • Use colour, edge protection, and/or distinct surface materials along the edges of the trail to help visitors follow the path.
  • Be creative. Try using wooden or plastic beads to identify seating, audio stops or interpretive features. Visit the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s guiding system here).
  • Tip: Remember that features should be useable in all weather conditions.
A trail in Massachusetts with a guide rope along the trail.

Trail visitors can follow a guide rope along this trail in Massachusetts. Photo credit: Mass Audubon’s All Persons Trails.

A sign along a trail the reads "Choices We Make." The sign is a part of a guided rope.

Differently shaped beads placed along a guide rope can help identify specific points of interest along the trail, such as seating, audio tour stop, or native habitat. Photo credit: Mass Audubon’s All Persons Trails.

A female adult guiding another female adult in a wheelchair along a trail on a gravel area.

Tactile edges surrounding a trail can be used to keep trail users on the trail when passing areas of high activity.

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