Mist Trail Visitor Safety Railing and Widening Improvements (2020)
The Mist Trail is the second most traveled trail in the National Park Service inventory and can see over 5,000 hikers per day during peak season.
This project will improve the safety of a section of the Mist Trail which has frequent accidents (see enclosed map). This project will add railing to the two remaining areas of high exposure on the Mist Trail that do not currently have railing (a lower section of 180ft and an upper section of 520ft). This will make a continuous barrier for 1,230 ft through the most treacherous section of trail. (Additional railing was installed per PEPC 90372 however further improvements are needed.)
Additionally, the trail bed will be protected from erosion and the vegetation within the trail corridor will be protected from trampling.
Pipe railing will be installed on the north side (river side) of the trail on existing rocks steps. Railings will be constructed out of rustic pipe tubing (1 5/8") with Kee Klamps at each junction. There will be three horizontal railings with a span between vertical posts of between 7 and 10 feet (matching the existing railings). 75 to 100 holes will be drilled depending on terrain and trail conditions.
In addition to the railings, the project will widen the trail in a section that is too narrow for visitors to safely pass each other (see attached map). The area that requires widening runs for approximately 1000 linear feet; thin sections are roughly 3 feet wide, with insufficient space for hikers to pass each other safely. The park would widen thin sections to 6 feet wide using tread building and rock work.
Fatal accidents have occurred when visitors try to pass each other on this section of trail. Erosion has further narrowed the trail, which will be remedied by this project. Allowing people to pass on established trail will benefit the surrounding vegetation and slope conditions without trampling as visitors attempt to pass.
Work will be completed by NPS trail crew during the late summer to early winter of 2020. Most of the work will be done in times of low water so that work areas are less wet and dangerous. Visitors will be re-routed to the John Muir Trail while the Mist Trail is closed for this project.