Fixing holes on trails

Snowshoe Acres

Yearling... With promise
We have owned 132 acres for 5 years, a tractor for two years. I have finally caught up on a long list of work including a trail system around and through the entire property. Most of the property was pasture and what I have found is that the trails are very bumpy. There are a lot of rocks and the trails are just not very smooth, lots of dips and holes. Any suggestions on the best implement to fill in the holes? I own a box blade and have a place on the property to get fill, but it is very rocky and a light clay/sand mix. Would I be better off getting class 5? Would appreciate some suggestions.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
If you surface with something loose like 57s, you can use a boxblade or better yet, a landplane to smooth things out. The problem is that if you don't have a good base, 57s will work into the soil quickly. You may want to lay a larger stone first.

I'm currently working on a driveway that is over 1/4 mile. My first step was to shape it (mini-excavator) so water runs off with either crown, slope left, or slope right depending on terrain. I've got heavy clay. I find that if you skip that first step, regardless of what you surface with, I find that when water sits on the road and you dive on it before it dries, you end up with pot holes that you are continually repairing. I tried putting 57s on a small section of my driveway for a test. In 6 months it was hard to tell they were added. They sink into the soil. So, my next step will to to use larger stone for a base. I'll look for 2-3" rock. They call it by different names in different places. You can then surface with 57s and use the land plane to keep it smooth. I am exploring using millings rather than 57s for my surface. Folks I've talked to swear by them.

Thanks,

Jack
 

Maddog66

5 year old buck +
I have about 2 miles of trails on my property and 1/2 need work. But I only want them smooth enough to mow with the bush hog and not rattle out my teeth on an ATV. Nowhere near perfect. My big problems are holes and big granite rocks that need removing - then backfilled.

So I had 36 yards of “base” dumped at the nearest access point and have been using my grapple, sweat, and the loader bucket to pick rock and backfill holes. I started at one end of my worst trail and I’ll just keep plugging.

When I first bought the grapple, I figured I’d be done by now. But the reality has been that the trail work always takes a backseat and it’s also very SLOW….at least for me. Not much room to maneuver and long trips back/forth with fill are the culprits.

But it’s also pretty satisfying to look at as I make progress.

I also just opened this little gravel pit on my land….trying to cut down on travel time.
 

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rocksnstumps

5 year old buck +
Nice looking rig and having your own source of fill is pretty nice.

Have almost the same situation, lots of granite boulders and rises and dips to deal with.

To the OP, your biggest friend is probably just using your bucket in spots working on sections over time. Every situation is different but if I tried using a boxblade to take out high spots and move to low ones I'm just going to uncover more rocks which if they are really big now I just screwed myself.

I actually have an old gravel pit on part of the property but lot of travel time and have dug out a few water features nearby where fill needed and used adding to build up rough areas. But dont have clay mostly sandy loam and the fill does fine once the grass and weeds grow over the top.

These trails are mostly driven on by tractors and occasionally with atvs so things that dont generally rut much. They still are bumpy but can brush hog just fine.

Getting them smooth enough to drive a SUV or car on or something takes a bunch of time. Have only done that on a short section to at least get up my hill
 

Maddog66

5 year old buck +
I’ve already found one rock that I’m reconnoitering. Like a pink granite iceberg with 8” sticking out of the ground in the dead center of the road. It’s the one I’ve smoked with my mower thrice now😂 damnit!!!

I’m seriously considering hiring a local guy I know to blow it up. That would be highly satisfying. My only other option is to bury it, but that’s gonna take more fill than I want to mess with.

To the OP, just take your time and go through fixing all of the worst spots with your loader (or forks?) and a pry bar and some backfill material. Take this time to also fix any drainage issues so the trail stays dry. Then come back on a second pass and “fine tune” it with whatever top dressing you like.

It’s not a race.

Get a grapple if you can. It sure is nice for moving rock.
 

Telemark

5 year old buck +
I’ve already found one rock that I’m reconnoitering. Like a pink granite iceberg with 8” sticking out of the ground in the dead center of the road. It’s the one I’ve smoked with my mower thrice now😂 damnit!!!

I’m seriously considering hiring a local guy I know to blow it up. That would be highly satisfying. My only other option is to bury it, but that’s gonna take more fill than I want to mess with.

To the OP, just take your time and go through fixing all of the worst spots with your loader (or forks?) and a pry bar and some backfill material. Take this time to also fix any drainage issues so the trail stays dry. Then come back on a second pass and “fine tune” it with whatever top dressing you like.

It’s not a race.

Get a grapple if you can. It sure is nice for moving rock.

You can drill holes and fill with an expanding substance that will break it apart.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
My property was grazed for years before I got it. I had pocked up hoof ruts all over my low spots and trails, so bad that I couldn't even walk a brush hog through it. My trails were also severely rutted from log skidders cutting 18" deep and wide ruts. I have worked on it for years, and have nearly gotten it all fixed, and I've used a number of things:

*Dug borrow pits/water holes to source large amounts of fill where I needed it. I used a skid steer for this and just filled in the worst ruts with nearby soil.
*Walked a mini excavator up and down the trails and made mini borrow pits where I needed them to source fill for smaller fixes. I'd just reach off to the side and grab anything and fill holes.
*Rent a skidsteer and leveling bar for grading generally bumpy areas.

If I had access to it, I'd run a disc up and down my trails. If they're not wide enough, I'd walk a mini excavator down those trails and make it the proper width first. I'm blessed in that I don't have rocks on my property. To this day, I haven't found one. A disc is a very effective trail making implement because it'll level and pack your base in one pass. I've got an iron clad rule on my place. If the trails are wet, they are closed. I do not drive on my trails if they're wet.
 

bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
Wanna make your job even more fun......... Try keep a food plot in those trails. I maintain a mile of snowmobile trails. About 1/4 mile of it I seed every 3 years.

Alot of reoccuring probems are really drainage issues. Put down (2) 8-10 innch trees with a gap between them . Then take chunks of 2x4 to make a small bridge between them. Alot cheaper than a tone of stone and culvert.

I am in a hunting club with alot of drunken slobs....... Its the best and worst way I can get 650 acres for $350 a year..... Many of them do not maintain their ATV's well.... Tire air pressure is very important to ride quality. Over inflating the tires is a very common mistake. Also, barely nobody adjust their shock preload, or jut turn them up all the way. Also, leaving 4wd on when you dont need it make it harder on your arms. Also, people upgrade their stock tires to more harsh riding ones. Those "wimpy" tires were put on there for a reason. Stiff sidewall and heavy tread lugs make riding worse.

Lossening up soil and leveling can make things worse. You need to compact the soil and get some sort of roots in their, or it'll just wash away. Buy a bag of winter rye and red clover. Pernneial rye works best, but some folks dont want that stuff wandering in your plot.

One rutty hill, lay a log t an angle here n there to push the run off away from the trail, rather than down it.

Do some simle research. There is guides for snowmobile trail clubs on the internet how to deal with these problems with minimal work.

I make warning signs for back rocks. MY local snowmobile trail put a BFR sign up. Itake pieces of plywood and paint them orange if there's a spot you might bottom out.

Some places, just opening up the canopy in that spot makes a big difference, the soil gets to dry out. I'll limb out a tree and lay the branches in a mud pubble to prserve the soil there. The tire ride on the mesh of small branches, instead on going to the bottom of the mud and making it deeper. About thumb sized branches work good. LAy them at a 90 degree angle from the trail direction.
 
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