Ride Over Cattle Guards

Ride over cattle guard

Ride over cattle guard at West Bragg. Photo: AJ Stein

The latest improvements to multi-user trails is the provision of cattle guards so mountain bikers don’t have to dismount and open swing gates, or lift their bikes over drift fences when they encounter a V-gate. It also reduces the chance of people not shutting gates behind them. GBCTA volunteer AJ Stein has designed a gate system that is now being installed on trails in West Bragg. 

ride-over cattle guard

Three orange markers provide advance warning of the ride over cattle guard. Photo: AJ Stein

Each ride over gate is well identified with orange paint on the tops of the fence posts. The rails on either side are to discourage cattle from trying to jump across diagonally. They also act as a barrier between horses and the ride over gate as well as a hand rail for hikers. A set of three vertical orange blaze markers on the down hill approach, along with a gate ahead sign, warns trail users of the gate. Additionally, a dog door provides safe passage for dogs (and small children).

Cattle guard with hiker

Cattle guards are easily negotiated by hikers. Photo: Alf Skrastins

There are several safety features built into the design and installation of the ride over cattle gates. The overall dimensions of 8′ long, 40″ wide and 12″ tall provide a gentle slope of less than 20 degrees to ride or walk over and sufficient width for today’s widest handle bars. The gate tread is non-slip ladder rung material spaced 5-1/2″ apart (same as the Texas gate on WBC road) for cattle control and 1-7/8″ for the pedestrian foot path.

Swing gates are still required for equestrian users. They are kept open between October and the end of May (when there are no cattle in the area) and closed from June to the end of September.

Thanks to Alf Skrastins and AJ Stein for providing information and photos.

Willow Creek gate

A wooden cattle guard on Johnson Creek trail in the Willow Creek area. Photo: Gillean Daffern

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