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The Blue Ridge Parkway offers over 100 hiking trails for all levels of hiking from a casual walk thru the forest to a strenuous hike up a section of the Appalachian Trail.

Annually storms bring down branches and entire trees, rain water and snow run off erode the trails, each fall covers the ground with leaves, each growing season new seedlings, weeds and roots invade the walking space. These trails require constant maintenance and repair.

For more than a decade, FRIENDS Adopt-a-Trail program has actively recruited, registered, trained, equipped, and celebrated the groups and organizations that take on the trails. These groups keep the trails enjoyable for Parkway visitors, letting them have safe and accessible paths to enjoy nature and the Blue Ridge Mountain views.
If you’ve got a group interested in adopting a trail, you need to make sure you have a basic understanding what is involved and then identify a trail that is a good fit for your group. FRIENDS will work with your group in all aspects, but we do recommend that you do some up front research yourself. We request all groups wishing to adopt a trail do so for at least a year, and preferably three to five. It takes time to get your group set up, trained and working productively and so we do ask for a minimum commitment. Of course, we are thrilled to have your group stay on with the trail for as long as you like. We have many trail groups that enjoy being outside, find the work rewarding and stay with their trails long term.

Found your trail? then there are a few details to take care of. You’ll need to complete and submit some forms, await approval from the National Park Service and FRIENDS, and if approved, take some training from other FRIENDS volunteers.

We’ve outlined the entire procedure for you below.

  1. Read our Adopt-a-Trail Manual and the U.S. Forestry Service Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook to get a basic understanding of what is involved in trail maintenance.
  2. Many interested groups already have an idea which trail they’d like to adopt. Please review our list of adopted trails to see if a trail you’re interested in is available. In deciding if a particular trail is a good fit for your group, be sure to consider the travel time, terrain, and length of the trail. There is no substitute for taking your group out to a trail you’re interested in and hiking it to familiarize yourselves.
  3. If your trail is not available and there are no other trails that are appropriate for your group, there is always the option to volunteer with the group that has adopted one near you and FRIENDS can put you in touch with that group.
  4. If your trail is available, please contact FRIENDS and talk to us. We can help you fill in any blanks, put you in touch with another trail group who can talk to you about their experiences, help you arrange to go out on a trail maintenance day, whatever you need to feel comfortable that you’re not only willing, but ready and able.
  5. Download the Adopt-a-Trail Application. This application is for your entire group and it must be completed and returned to FRIENDS to start the approval process. You may mail the completed application to us or you may scan and return the completed application by e-mail to
  6. Each member of your group must also be a registered volunteer with FRIENDS before you can start work. Please refer your members to our BECOME A VOLUNTEER page for information and forms.
  7. When your group is approved, FRIENDS will contact you to arrange for training.
  8. When your group begins your trail work, you will be asked to submit regular Adopt-a-Trail Maintenance Forms. These reports log the number of people working, the hours each worked and makes note of any special conditions that the National Park Service should be aware of on the trail. Again, you have the option to mail these to FRIENDS or scan and return them by e-mail to

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