It's as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Log in or register by clicking on "sign in | join" in the green Trails banner at the top of the page.
2. Watch this quick tutorial. (It'll open in a new window.)
3. Click on the blue "Add a Trail" button at left, or on the home page and fill in the blanks!
If you want a more detailed, step-by-step description of how to add a trail, see below!
Why should you add a trail?
-- While the body of the trail description can be edited by others, some of the information and the main photo for the trail cannot.
-- If you know a trail well, you can be the first to describe it in a way that enhances the experience for those who choose to hike or paddle it.
-- Being an active member of the community earns you respect among other members and a public shout-out from the site's administrators. It may also earn you extra admin privileges.
On the right side of the Sierra Club Trails banner at the top of the page, click on sign in (or register, if you haven't already). You must be logged in to add a trail.
Under the banner you'll see the words Trails, Groups, Forums, Gallery, Blog, Outings, and Know-How. Choose Trails, and then "add a trail." Or click on the blue "add a trail" button you see on most pages.
The Add-a-Trail form
The form consists of four short pieces:
-- Trail Basics (including Update Image)
-- At a Glance
-- Trail Description (this is the wiki section with the EasyEdit button--only this section is editable by others)
-- Land Trails/Water Trails details
1. Trail Basics -- Fill in the fields that help folks locate the trail. Click on "Update Image" and upload a photo to replace the green trails icon by navigating to one you've got in your pictures file or elsewhere. This will be the main photo for this trail, and because it's not part of the wiki section that can be edited by others, only *you* can provide this photo and change it later. Please post a photo!
2. At a Glance -- Choose "easy," "moderate," or "strenuous" in the pulldown for difficulty, then check the boxes that indicate which activities and cautionary notes apply to this trail. These will appear as icons on the page, and not editable by others, though they can suggest that you make changes to this section.
3. Trail Description Wiki -- Click on the EasyEdit button in the middle section. This is the wiki portion of the form and will be editable by others when the trail is posted. You're asked to provide a description of the trail, directions to the trailhead, and any notes that explain why you gave the trail an easy, moderate, or strenuous difficulty rating. Be sure to leave the subheads for Description, Directions, and Difficulty Notes in place--dont erase them! Fill in the information to the best of your ability. Do not copy-and-paste trail descriptions from other websites or guidebooks unless you own the material. Check out our Terms and Conditions here.) When you finish, be sure to click "save."
Tips about the description: Here are some things to think about when you describe the trail:
What is the trail itself like? Flat, hilly, single-track or dirt road? Clearly marked or hard to follow? Hot in the summer months? Good for ski touring in the winter?
Where does it go? Does it traverse a ridge? Lead through forests? Pass by lakes? Take you to the summit? Follow a creek?
What will we see along the way? Are there natural features you can tell us about? Best times of years to see wildflowers or migrating birds?
Any historical information you can share about the area, sights along the way, or the trail itself?
Give tips about things that a first-time user might miss. For instance, "At the hairpin turn, be sure to stop and observe Mt. Smith in the distance." Or, "This creek crossing is a great good place to filter water and fill your bottle."
You can use the wiki editor to make text bold or italic for emphasis. It's possible to add photos to this section--however, it's better to add them through the "add a photo" feature once your trail is posted. If you've got a video of the trail you'd like to post, you can do that here in the wiki -- video can't be posted to the photo gallery.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to click SAVE when you finish the wiki portion. The wiki keeps a history of changes to the entry, so you'll be asked if there are any notes you want to leave about your work. If you leave a note, click save, otherwise click "skip." Then scroll down to the bottom of the Add a Trail form and hit "submit this trail" to finish the entire trail post. As the trail's creator, youll be able to go back and edit all sections.
4. Land Trails/Water Trails details -- Fill in the fields to the best of your ability. To find elevation, GPS coordinates, maps, and other info about the trail, Google it and see if you can find National Park Service, Forest Service, State Park, Regional Park, USGS or other government websites that provide that information.
For tags, use single words separated by a space (no commas), and think about any words that others might use to search for your trail. Make it easy to find!
When you're finished, hit the "submit trail" button at the bottom of the form.
STEP TWO: TRAIL SETTINGS
After you submit the trail, you'll choose a few "trail settings." Best to leave them as they're set when you get to that page.nPlease keep the trail set to "public" so everyone can see it, and allow comments and photos to be added without moderation. (Folks can click on "report offensive content" if they see a comment or photo that should be removed. That sends a notification to us, and we'll take care of it.)
STEP THREE -- INVITE FRIENDS
Next you'll be asked to invite your friends to "join" or be "fans" of the trail. This accomplishes a couple of things:
--It allows them to leave comments and post photos to the trail.
--Trails with the most fans show up as "most popular" on the Trails home page.
A FEW MORE NOTES
There's a Trail Updates section at the bottom of your trail page that community members can use to update timely information about the trail. For instance, you might add, "I was up there last week and the mosquitoes were awful wear repellant!" or "The wildflowers are crazy gorgeous right now!"
Check out other fans of the trail, and "friend" them if you like. Look to see if anyone has added photos to the gallery for your trail.
Watch the wiki section to see if changes have been made. If they have, you can click on the "history" tab at the bottom of your entry to see if there's an explanation for the changes.
HOW TO EDIT THE TRAIL
Once you post your trail, you and others can edit the wiki section right there while you're looking at the trail posting.
However, if you want to change the photo icon for the trail, or any of the information in Trail Details and Trail at a Glance, you'll need to log in and click on My Dashboard in the banner across the top of any page. In My Dashboard you'll see three tabs in the top-center of the page. Click on the tab that says Trails Activities, and you'll see a list of the trails you've created. Click on a trail and then, in the left navigation on that page, click on "Edit Trail Profile." You'll see the original Add a Trail form you filled out. Make your changes, click on "submit trail," and your changes will be saved.
Sierra Club Trails is just one of three social networks that can be accessed through a single sign-on and profile. The other two are Climate Crossroads and Sierra Student Coalition. You're welcome to be active in all three if you like! If youre a Trails fan, think of My Dashboard as your personal base camp. It's where you can:
--edit your profile
--edit trails, groups, recipes, and anything else you've created in any of the networks
--find friends/invite friends
--check on your Reputation score and see how you achieved it, as well as the point system we use
--send bulletins, messages that go to some or all of your friends
When you're logged in, you can always get to My Dashboard from the banner at the top of any page. From your Dashboard, you'll always find links back to the three communities in the light blue bar at the top of the page. And while it's fun to check it out, hanging around in My Dashboard is like sitting in camp all day -- get out there and have fun!