Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes

   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #31  
I was able to do about 100 feet of the zigzag path down the slope behind my house with my loader/backhoe. Took a couple of weeks. I decided to rent a mini excavator with blade for a week.
In one day I was able to rough in 10 times as much in steeper sections. This include searching for possible routes around the abundant stone ledge on my property.
Attached photo shows some of the ledge. Photo at least 15 years later. Some parts of trail still only suitable for walking or UTV. Some parts nicer. Much easier to do more work after
easily traveled path was there.


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   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #32  
Well, I'm certainly not a pro, and I've used a mini-ex, which is so much faster.
But, if you have time and want to save money, here's what I did with a Kubota B3030, FEL with a tooth bar (the cheapest, best attachment IMO), and a Woods BH80X.
First, the hill. Third picture shows the first trail cut for the first terrace, mostly through shale.
Last one is 40 pallets of 40 block (factory seconds), 90 lbs each, pin together, fill with gravel.


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   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #33  
We have a 30 horse kubota. I'm looking to pick up a back blade to maintain our cabin driveway and maybe do a little snowplowing. Looking at the different units(pretty sure we will get one used), I see that some articulate in addition to rotate(4 way). Those units are obviously more $. we dont have any ditches to cut in, but we would love an easier way to cut atv trails in on cross slopes. obviously a dozer would do the job much better, but be way too expensive, and make way wider of a trail than we are looking to create..
i was thinking that i could articulate the blade and grade a section to flat, and then flatten the blade and slowly extend the flattened area. I'm wondering if the tilt function would be useful for that, or if that is just wishful thinking that will just end up being a waste of money for a feature we wouldnt otherwise need.

also open to suggestions for other implements that might do this job. currently we use a backhoe to cut the high side and fill the low side, but its slow going because after we do what we can with the backhoe, we have to drive a very long distance to turn around and use the front bucket to back blade. its very slow going.

Hey rgr33 , I think you would definitely like having the 4 way adjustment, also you might want to take a look at a box blade. I’ve built and maintain many miles of trails in the hills here in southern Quebec, not to expensive , and a hydraulic top link is a great option that I would’nt want to be without now but can be added when the bud allows! Good luck!
   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #34  
A work in progress, just some of the walls that started as trails.
Not tamed, but better...


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   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #35  
Once I cut several actual trails this way, I have needed the box and back blades to keep them up.
Once you cut into the hill, you need something the keep the trail level or nature will take its course.
   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #36  
I have done a lot of slope work, cutting trails with my Mini Ex. It is actually easy - rough in the cut with the bucket, as you pull forward level it all out with the blade. Can take down trees, dig out stumps and rocks, and do your ditches all in one process. Mostly mini ex's are not too expensive to rent and a day or two with one will safely make more progress than 2 weeks on the tractor trying not to roll over the hill.
   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #37  
Code54 is right that a mini-ex is the best way to go if:
You already own a mini-ex or
you can rent one and get it to your location reasonably and
you have a lot to do (or most of what you want to do) all at one time and/or
you have large rocks or trees where you want the path.

Of course, size matters. The mini-ex we rented was more powerful than my TLB, but it wasn't 50% stronger. It is nice not having to change seats like you do on mine or even turn the seat like a full sized BH.

i wouldn't say one day vs. two weeks unless you're trying to go through some bad stuff you can't avoid.

A tooth bar costs much less than a day renting a mini-ex. The difference digging with one is immense.

For me, it seems like every idea leads to another one, and I even dug a pond with the tooth bar, much faster than a backhoe, as you can move more dirt a longer distance more quickly.

While I did pick trail paths to avoid large trees and huge rocky areas, a hundred feet a day is easy, even with transitioning across significant drops.

I pointed the backhoe uphill while digging and didn't worry about rolling down the hill.

Tires are filled. Just got wheel spacers but haven't installed them yet.
   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #38  
As much as it pains me to write this, if you have already defined the scope, and it's going to require something heavier than you own, you may want to consider a bid from a pro or two. The results may be better and the cost may be competitive.
Hope I'm not banned for this.
   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #39  
I started out with a tractor and rear blade. Worked okay on almost level slopes. Note, trying to dig going backwards is a bad idea, the 3 point is designed for going forward, not backward.

Bought a small backhoe (Kubota B21.) Works better than the backblade but still slow.

Next eventually was the mini excavator (KX-121-3) Excellent, will work on about any slope because you can dig your own flat work surface. I've done miles of trails at home on steep hillsides, and volunteer work in state parks (horse trails.)

I've also tried with a skid steer. It can be done but the mini ex is better.
   / Cutting ATV trails into cross slopes #40  
Be careful with your spoils - they are best cast downhill and spread- using them as the outer part of your tread will likely result in the outer portion failing early and could lead to a safety issue- its best to have the entire bench result from the cut.

And use a mini-x