The Interpretive Trails Book

“Most trails are designed just to get the visitor from Point A to Point B. Interpretive trails are designed to help the visitor laugh, cry, smile, discover, understand and explore along the way.”

Interpretive trails - both outdoor and indoor - are used by museums, galleries, historic sites, parks, gardens and zoos worldwide. They can provide visitors with a unique immersion experience in viewing, discovering and experiencing the locations they’re visiting, and in helping them re-connect with a natural or cultural environment in a personal way.

Yet to be truly effective, there are proven and tested guidelines to follow about how to plan your trail’s story, its experience opportunities, and its delivery and physical design. This new book - based on 40 years’ interpretive planning experience - shares successful planning strategies and guidelines as tools to help you create amazing interpretive experiences.

For those involved in learning, engagement, interpretation, planning, consultancy, landscape architecture, and training - and those charged with developing interpretive trails who have no specific training in interpretive services themselves, The Interpretive Trails Book will become an indispensable and easy-to-follow resource to help create trails that engage, motivate and inspire your visitors.

The Interpretive Trails Book will provide you with the essential skills and understanding you'll need to create a successful trail. You'll discover:

  1. The four key questions to ask before even starting to plan a trail.
  2. How to use the eyes of an artist, explorer and storyteller to help speed trail planning.
  3. The seven concepts you need to understand to deliver effective recreational learning.
  4. Proven techniques to ensure clear, practical learning objectives for your trail.

Also available: Advanced Interpretive Planning | The Interpretive Training Handbook

This highly practical, 180-page book, with 75 colour illustrations, includes the following chapters:

The Design of Interpretive Trails

  1. Types of trails
  2. The trail planning process

The Construction of Interpretive Trails

  1. Trail surfaces
  2. Trail grade standards
  3. Trail furniture

Visitor Motivations and Expectations

  1. User psychology and recreational learning
  2. Learning concepts
  3. Learning principles
  4. The visitor’s hierarchy of needs

Developing the Interpretive Trail Plan

  1. The definition of interpretation 
  2. The inventory of interpretive opportunities
  3. Interpretive theme guidelines
  4. Developing interpretive objectives
  5. Trail carrying capacity
  6. Developing interpretive trail guides
  7. Self-guided trails
  8. Audio and video interpretive trails

The Planning and Design of Media for Interpretive Trails

  1. Planning interpretive panels
  2. Remember the visitor!
  3. Designing interpretive panels
  4. Producing interpretive guides
  5. Planning self-guided gallery tours


  1. Interpretive Planning Forms
  2. Interpretive Trail Guides
  3. Selecting Media for Interpretive Signs
  4. Interpretive Panel Planning and Design Worksheet and Checklist

Prof. John Veverka is the internationally renowned author of Interpretive Master Planning, and one of the world’s leading experts on heritage interpretation. He is in demand as a consultant, teacher and speaker on interpretation throughout the world. John holds BSc and MSc degrees in Interpretive Services from Ohio State University and spent five years in the Interpretive Services PhD program at Michigan State University, teaching Introductory and Advanced Interpretation Courses.

His many clients have included the Eden Project, National Forest Service (Korea), National Museum Wales, National Park Service, Natural England, Norfolk Tourism, Nova Scotia Museums, Santa Fe de Antioquia (Columbia), Texas Historical Commission and the US Army Corps of Engineers. 

Title The Interpretive Trails Book: Effective Planning and Design
Author John A Veverka
Pages 180
Colour illustrations 75
Size 216 x 140 mm
Date 2015
Editions £35 [paperback] | £25 [eBook]
ISBN 978-1-910144-52-7 [paperback]  

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Guarantee: We offer all our readers an unconditional guarantee: if, at any time, you decide this book’s not for you, simply return it to us for a full and prompt refund. 


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