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best way to clear a path w/o heavy equipment?

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  • best way to clear a path w/o heavy equipment?

    anyone know how to clear a decent path in the woods without a lot of equipment? i have woods behind my house that is not terribly wooded right now and i wanted to start clearing a path. i was just going to use a heavy duty lopper. don't have a chainsaw, but i was not going to cut down trees. any better ideas?

  • #2
    If you DO decide to cut some small diameter trees down, leave them at least 20 inches high... do not cut them off level with the ground, because then they become a tripping hazard.

    Then, drill into the stump with a large diameter drill (1/2") and pour the drain cleaner product that is used to kill tree roots that grow into septic pipes. (??) add the product every few weeks. (Make several holes, even at a slant on the sides of the tree stump)

    In about 2 years, you should be able to take the stump out without too much trouble. Having it tall enough means you can push/pull it out.

    If you take it out too soon, you will have massive root systems that will leave a monstrous sink hole.

    Get the tree saw/ loppers that have an adjustable handle to do tall tree branches. I use mine first WITHOUT the saw, then I go back to get the larger branches with the saw attached. Sears sells good ones and if you break it, you can take it back for a new one.


    • #3


      • Original Poster

        GOATS!! ha, ha...I'm actually getting two of them tomorrow


        • #5
          I have made many new trails. The first thing I do is using a bright color paint mark the path you intent to take so you always take the exact same route.
          I then go back and remove any loose branches , using snips cut as high as you can.
          A dirt bike really clears a path quickly but I know that is out.
          Anyway with a well defined trail and riding it often it will establish itself before long.


          • #6
            Originally posted by DancingSeahorse View Post
            Goats don't eat as well as you think unless they are starving.
            Goats love crackers, cookies, old bread but try lightly licking a cracker, put it gently in your mouth and then offer it to the goat. They grab cracker and wolf them down but when the one that your tongue touched is offered they suddenly sniff it and refuse it????
            We have had a pair of pet goats forever.
            They only have one set of teeth , not sure if it is top or bottom but the other side is only gums.


            • #7
              If you have access to a draft or any other horse trained to pull, drive them through dragging a tree. Or use a quad. Dragging a tree will tear out all the small stuff and clear away the fluff leaving a nice smooth trail, then you just have the bigger stuff to contend with.
              The goats would be great for stripping the undergrowth, but they won't take out trees!

              Equine Retirement at


              • #8

                I know you said no heavy equipment, but, most people have a weedeater around the farm. You can usually buy a blade attachment for the weedeater and go to town. Dont cut anything too big to cause a tripping hazard, just enought to cut the undergrowth (we live in tennessee where there is a ton of undergrowth - thorny too). I love another perons idea about dragging a tree - I bet that would work. Once you cut the undergrowth with the weedeater - a tree would make really quick cleanup of all of that stuff. Then just ride and ride on it - just the hooves over time will make a trail.


                • #9
                  I put pencil to paper several years ago on this subject and determined that it was cheaper to hire a guy with a small dozer than it was to do anything else. He did more work in an afternoon that a crew of guys with chainsaws and machetes could have done in a week. He also used his professional eye to plot a better trail than I had.

                  Right now the construction industry is slowing down and dirt movers are working harder to get jobs. Fuel prices are up, but oft times they'll work more cheaply on the theory that earning enough to pay next month's equipment payment is better than not doing so.

                  As with all things YMMV, but "do the math" before you make your decision.

                  Good luck.

                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                  • #10
                    Have the teenagers in the neighborhood come over with their four wheelers, they make wonderful horse trails, pack down all the holes, weave around the trees. I love the four wheel trails!


                    • #11
                      Ditto the four wheelers. Also if you have deer, you can widen their trails with nippers and heavy duty clippers. Make sure you wear heavy gloves for clipping out the multi flora, boy, do those stickers hurt.


                      • #12
                        just my 2 cents!

                        Someone I know likes to use those DR Fieldcutter machines like you see in the horse mags. Like bushhogging with a walk behind lawnmover. Do you know someone with a bush hog? Bushhogging is how local foxhunts make trails around here all the time. Just pre-pick your route.

                        But I suggest just repeating your chosen path everytime you ride. Horse feet will make paths cleared for you. Teach horsie to leg yeild while going along and you can widen the trails! Better yet, get LOTS of horses to do that path over & over and it'll be cleared well in no time. Any wheeled vehicles work well. You can snap branches with hand trimmer or your fingers as you go and horsie can snack on some lower branches for ya!!

                        Horses learn to negotiate uneven ground and non groomed trails. You don't NEED a well groomed trail; horsie doesn't need it either. He'll learn to pick up his feet better, place them better and get fitter.


                        • #13
                          You need to breed teenage boys

                          That's what we did - and since they both ride and love riding trails they are happy to do the work.

                          We just spent the morning breaking two trails - you can get them to work for about 1 1/2 hours - and with four of us going, we were able to make two wonderful trails through the trees.