How to create a Trail Guide

Discussion in 'Questions, Suggestions & Support' started by Backcountry Post, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Backcountry Post

    Backcountry Post Official Information

    We've had a lot of people express interest in creating Trail Guides. This thread will help you get started. To create a Trail Guide, simply go to the Trail Guides home page and click the 'Create Trail Guide' button in the top right corner. You will be prompted for the area, if the area you wish to post to does not yet exist post here or send me a message.

    If you have any questions whatsoever about creating a trail guide, post here or send me a message.

    There are 5 sections to the main content area in a Trail Guide:

    Provide a brief overview of the area and any highlights.

    Directions to the trailhead. How detailed is up to you, but providing coordinates for the trailhead is nice, and if it's a hard to find trailhead, the more info the better. Linking to google maps for directions is also a good idea, like lostlandscapes has done in this trail guide.

    The Hike
    The core of your trail guide goes here. Describe the route and what people can expect. If there are special features that should not be missed, it is always nice to include coordinates linked to a google map.

    Permits & Regulations
    List any information you have about permits and regulations here. This is also a good place to list any information on the governing agency for the area and perhaps even link to their website.

    Relevant Books & Maps
    List any guidebooks or maps such as National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps here. If you know the USGS quad name(s), that is also useful information. It is likely that BCP Staff will add to this section with relevant books and maps that you might not list.

    On the secondary tabs, there are fields for:

    Trip Reports
    Add links to trip reports on Backcountrypost and Backcountrypost Member sites here. I am working on a way for this to auto-populate but it might be a bit before I can get to that.

    Youtube and Vimeo video URLs can be pasted into this area and they will auto embed under the Videos tab.

    Trail Profile Sidebar
    Sidebar Trail Profile Information

    Be sure to specify round trip or one way.

    Easy, Moderate, Strenuous, Difficult, etc. Think of the average hiker, not necessarily yourself.

    Light, Medium, Heavy, etc.

    Nearest Town
    List the nearest town in City, ST format: Hanksville, UT

    List coordinates in decimal format: 40.75558,-110.654297


    KML filename
    If you leave this blank, a map will be rendered with a pin on the coordinates you provided. Useful if you have not created a custom map or cannot get your file uploaded immediately. Otherwise, enter the exact filename of your KML file. You can use GPS Visualizer to convert GPX or KMZ to KML or you can send it to me and I'll take care of it.

    There are two ways at this moment to get your custom map into your Trail Guide:
    1. Email the file to and I will load it in.
    2. Enter a link to your saved Google My Places Map in the field labeled "Google Maps URL"
    I'm working on a way so that you can upload the KML directly but that may take some time.

    To create a map in Google My Places, visit and click on 'My Places'. You must be logged into your Google account.

    Then click on 'Create Map' and to start editing your new map. You can add pins and import GPS data at this point. When you are done, save your map and then click on the link icon to get the Google Maps URL we use to populate the map in Trail Guides

    The featured image for each Trail Guide is the FIRST photo that you upload, so take care to upload the best or most relevant photo first.

    The featured image will automatically be inserted into the main content area of your Trail Guide in the upper right hand corner. If you would like to insert more images, you can do that manually using the new Floating Image tool in the editor window.

    Other Tips
    Be sure to rate your own Trail Guide. Others who have done the route are encouraged to rate them as well.

    Erase Formatting Button

    Use the eraser button in the top left of the editor window to clean formatting from text copied and pasted from editors like Microsoft Word. To use it, just highlight the text, and click the eraser button in the top left corner.

    Insert Floating Image Button
    The new insert floating image button makes it so that you can easily insert small images into the main content of your Trail Guide as can be seen here. All you need to do is enter the URL of the image into the window that pops up when you click the insert floating image button. Specify the size, whether you'd like it to float left or right and add a caption. The width of the default image in trail guide content is 400px which is half the width of the content window.

    After You Submit Your Trail Guide
    We're working on improvements to the system to make it easier to work on a 'draft' before your trail guide is published. But in the meantime, when you create a new trail guide, it goes into a moderated state. The only people who can see it are BCP Staff and yourself. This is useful if you want to be able to polish up your trail guide before it goes public. The downside to this is that there are some kinks in the system. When you click submit, you will be taken to your finished trail guide. If you want to come back and work on it later, you need to save the URL or bookmark it. If you are ready to have it published, send me a message and I'll make it happen.

    All trail guides submitted are subject to editing and revisions by the BCP Staff. Before they are made live we may go through and modify the wording of your guide to enhance searchability and consistency in the trail guides system.
  2. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    Salt Lake City
    Update: Until the automated method of creating the side discussion thread is complete, you don't need to worry about creating it. It takes a little tricky formatting to make it look like the others, so BCP staff can pick it up, unless you'd prefer to do it yourself. Hoping to automate discussion thread creation soon.

  3. Aldaron

    Aldaron Member

    Ooops. I'll stop doing it!
  4. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    Salt Lake City
    We implemented a big update to the Trail Guides system this past weekend. I'm not quite done polishing it up, but for those of you looking to increase your chances of winning some gear, this should make it quite a bit easier.

    Key improvements:

    1. New 'drafts' feature. Start as many trail guides as you want and work on them as you get to it. Just tick the 'Save as Draft' box when you go create it. To go back and see your drafts, just go to the Trail Guides page and click the 'Your Trail Guides' button in the navigation bar. Your drafts will show up on the sidebar on that page.

    2. Automatic discussion thread integration and cross linking. You no longer have to create the discussion thread for Trail Guides. It will auto-create and link when you submit your guide and it passes moderation. The cool thing about the new system is that it puts the tabs from the Trail Guide into the thread so it's easy to switch between all the information.

  5. Brian

    Brian Paria 1972


    Is Save to Draft available for Trip Reports? If not now, any plan to offer in the near future?


  6. uintahiker

    uintahiker Adventure Guru

    A few suggestions for trail guides.
    You have elevation change, can you add elevation range (min-max) to the options?
    Also can you make them filterable on attributes?
    It might make it a bit more friendly for people looking for hikes that are 5-10 miles long and allow dogs, but are less than 8000 feet in elevation so they are not muddy in late spring.
  7. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    Salt Lake City
    Excellent suggestions, @uintahiker . I'll probably implement the elevation thing. As far as filterable, I'm kind of at the limits of my capabilities and resources on tweaking the software to do that. It's on the wish list though, so hopefully someday!
  8. SirDonB

    SirDonB So what's next?

    Upstate NY
    Looks like I will have to start adding content for over here on the east coast... lots of hiking and camping locations here.
    Nick likes this.
  9. Kullaberg63

    Kullaberg63 Member

    Can't see the 'create' button on any of my computers. IOS, Windows.
  10. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    Salt Lake City
    Ahh yeah, this is old info. We changed it so that only select members can add a guide. I'll send you a PM.