Add Trails to Trail Finder

Why contribute to CT Trail Finder? From a trail manager perspective

  • Every trail post is vetted and approved by those who know it best - the volunteers, trail stewards and park rangers (aka trail managers).  CT Trail Finder is accurate and only includes authorized trails and trail uses. This is quite different from many other trail apps that are populated from crowd-sourced data.
  • CT Trail Finder connects trail users with trail management organizations.
  • CT Trail Finder compliments and promotes local activities. It does NOT replace them.
  • CT Trail Finder is an opportunity to contribute to a statewide resource of trails and outdoor resources.
  • Prevent overuse by spreading use to more locations.
  • Use the option for trail alerts to communicate about closures, flooding, and cautions such as hunting season and many more.
  • Connect trailside services to trails (economic benefit), coming soon!

Other benefits include:

FAQ: Who is a Trail Manager?

The trail manager is a person and an organization.

An Organization

The trail manager organization is usually the responsible party for the trails on a property. The organization is often the property owner but not always. The trail managing organization is listed on each Trail Finder post to increase awareness (it takes a lot of time and effort to protect land and provide public access!) and maybe even recruit new volunteers.

There can be more than one trail manager organization per post.

An Individual

The trail manager is part of the managing organization and is the contact for the post on Trail Finder. In some cases, the trail manager solicits approval from the full organization before a post is published on Trail Finder.

FAQ: What is a CT Trail Finder post?

A post is one “entry” on CT Trail Finder. A post

  • has one point on the overview map,
  • has one narrative (description, uses, etc.),
  • has one map often with multiple trails.

A CT Trail Finder post

FAQ: What is the difference between CT Trail Finder and AllTrails?

The primary goals of both CT Trail Finder and AllTrails are similar - promote outdoor recreation and all of its benefits. As AllTrails states on their website

"AllTrails was founded on the idea that we're all made better by spending time in nature. Today, we continue to be driven by the desire to share the outdoors with as many people in as many places as possible - and to do so responsibly and respectfully."

We are all for that! CT Trail Finder does not replace any website or tool. CT Trail Finder strives to give trail managers of all kinds (state, municipal, land trust, non-profit, and more) a place to share accurate information (including uses, warnings, restrictions, a map, and anything else) while connecting people to trails and trails to each other.


  • CT Trail Finder is designed to help people find trails. There are other great features too, but that is the bottom line.
  • AllTrails includes tools for tracking outings like time and distance statistics, segment breakdown, an elevation profile, and more.
  • CT Trail Finder information is vetted by trail managers and AllTrails information is crowd-sourced (see Data Source below).
  • AllTrails is a company while CT Trail Finder is a project of UConn Extension.


CT Trail Finder AllTrails
Data Source Information on CT Trail Finder comes from trail managers partnering with CT Trail Finder folks (UConn). AllTrails information comes from users. AllTrails has "Verified Trails" which means that they have been approved by the AllTrails Team. AllTrails "Community Content" is recorded and saved by a trail user.
Post A CT Trail Finder post is a property with trails, often multiple trails. Connecticut has many trail "networks" compared to other areas that often have predominately mountain summits or loops. An AllTrails post is an outing, sometimes on a single trail and sometimes a combination of trails. AllTrails prefers out and back or loops.
Maps CT Trail Finder maps are edited by the UConn CLEAR mapping team with trail manager edits and final approval. AllTrails maps come from users meaning that they are crowd-sourced and anyone who creates a free account can save their trail map.


If you have a difference that we should include or other thoughts on this topic, please email them to 

Start here!

These are the overall steps to a Trail Finder posting.

  1. Communication between the CT Trail Finder Team (email and you. This can be email, a meeting, a walk, you name it.
  2. Data gathering (CT Trail Finder team and trail manager)
    1. Narrative. This is the descriptive information includes items like trail name, type, uses, difficulty, accessibility and a description. The description can include links to other websites. Trail Finder wants to promote all of the work of trail organizations across the state! The descriptive information is organized in the Trail Information Fillable Form (pdf) which can be completed, or at least approved, by the trail manager. The Trail Documentation Guide (pdf) explains in detail. As always, contact with any questions.
    2. Geographic (map). Every posting has a map that includes trail lines and trail points. Parking and trailhead are required and there are many other options. See the Map Information section below for more details.
  3. Trail posting development. The CT Trail Finder teams loads the narrative and geographic information into Trail Finder.
  4. Trail manager review and approval. We send you a preview link of your posting for review. We are happy to make edits and modifications.
  5. Publish! The posting is now live on CT Trail Finder and has its own link.
  6. Ongoing follow-up, advisory notifications, updates and more.

The Trail Documentation Guide explains the steps in more detail including how to get started, the anatomy of a trail posting, and tips and guidelines for developing postings.

Map Information

Every Trail Finder post contains two types of map information. Acceptable  data formats include shapefiles, geodatabase feature classes, KML, GPX. If you have something else that may work, send us an email.

⇒ Lines. The first is the lines, or the trails themselves. Line attributes include things like trail name, blaze color, notes, elevation value and surface type. If you are collecting trail GIS or GPS information, consider collecting it to align with the Connecticut Trail Standard for GIS data. We recommend Avenza Maps for trail data collection and will be posting some resources soon. In the meantime, reach out to the Trails team if you have questions. Minimum line attributes are Trail System, Trail Name*, Blaze*, Accessible*.

⇒ Points. The second type of map information is points of interest. These include parking lots and trail heads along with restrooms, views, waterfalls, bridges, attractions and a whole lot more. Minimum point attributes are Trail System, Point Type (refer to page 4 of the Trail Documentation Guide), Point of Interest Name*, Notes* (text to further describe the point).

*If applicable. Blank or no value is acceptable. 

OPTIONAL: GIS Data Preparation Instructions

More tools and instructions for Trail Finder mapping are coming soon!

We continue to develop instructions are for those with GIS software and knowledge who wish to prepare collected trail data for the CT Trail Finder. They are optional and not required. Contact us for instructions or more information.

CT Trail Finder is administered by UConn Extension with the generous support of the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP)  and the CT Department of Transportation (CT DOT). Other partners include the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), Connecticut Forest & Park Association CFPA), Connecticut Trail Census, The National Park Service (NPS) Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program and the Connecticut Outdoor Recreation Alliance (CORA). Visit the Partners & Funders page to learn more.