This free, corporate-sponsored Web site concentrates on Canada, with descriptions of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing and a host of other outdoor activities.
The two main sections -- Find a Trail and Register Your Trail -- are self-explanatory. Clicking on the former guides visitors to a map of Canada, where trails can be browsed based on criteria such as province, region, length, surface type and use (all-terrain vehicle, canoe or hiking, for example). Searches can also be conducted by keyword. The site then lists trails that match the specified criteria. Each listing is made up of five categories: general information, such as length and park name; trail details, such as hazards and emergency contacts; site services, including trail amenities and fees; trail contacts; and trail location, which displays a map of the listing.
Before registering a trail, visitors must obtain a user name and password by registering for the site. Once logged in, this section lets visitors contribute their own trail entries through a four-step process that spans basic information from trail name and directions to details about trail amenities and signage. After a trail is submitted, a member of Trailpaq.ca's team e-mails the contributor in an effort to fill in any blanks. The remaining sections include Trail Builders, a collection of resources for trail managers; Trail T@lk, a discussion forum; and Merchandise, an on-line store.
The home page's friendly menu and straightforward browsing tools make finding trails and contributing content a walk in the park.
The site's sponsor -- Compaq Computer Corp. -- is evident in Trailpaq.ca's moniker, logo and slick Web design.
Thankfully, its corporate side is softened by green backgrounds and nature scenes, which lend the site an outdoorsy feel.
Visitors have already contributed thousands of Canadian trails from coast to coast, all of which can be accessed easily through the well-designed search function.
Unfortunately, many of the aforementioned listings include little detailed information. "Not specified" appears under many headings, and maps are few and far between.
As more visitors add content -- and as long as its operators continue to track down details -- the site will become an invaluable tool for finding trails-less-travelled.