ABOUT US

Founded in 2007, Penn Trails is an industry leader in sustainable and inclusive trail design.

Penn Trails specializes in trail planning and design, with extensive experience with universal access trails. We have a unique approach that centers user experience and maximizes trail sustainability, allowing communities to create trails that blend seamlessly into their environment while fostering meaningful connections with nature.

From trail assessment to conceptual design to master planning,  we focus on providing guidance and direction that addresses your unique environment, focuses on your desired users and supports ongoing sustainable management of your site as an integrated element of your natural resource assets. We have helped to assess, plan, and construct hundreds of miles of trails throughout the United States.

We wrote the book on Universal Access Trails.

How can trail groups, local governments and land trusts responsibly plan, develop and operate trails that are accessible by all people, including those with limited mobility? What are best management practices? What is legally required? When is universal accessibility not appropriate? This manual addresses these questions in detail.

Sarah Walter, RLA, ASLA

Owner, Principal

Sarah began her work with Penn Trails as Planning and Design Manager in 2019 and transitioned to her role leading the company in 2024. Sarah is a licensed Landscape Architect in Pennsylvania, with a unique blend of previous experience in municipal planning, conservation, and land trust administration. Sarah’s journey with Penn Trails has involved all aspects of project management from visioning through construction, with constant dedication to crafting trails that inspire, connect, and endure.

Whether she is assessing an existing trail to help land managers plan strategic improvements, laying out a trail to provide new recreational opportunities, getting her hands dirty on a construction site, or working on early stage visioning and master planning, Sarah brings a deep-rooted appreciation for the natural world and a desire to create meaningful experiences for others. Her approach empowers communities to navigate the intricacies of the design process, shaping trails that cultivate sustainability, accessibility, and environmental stewardship.

Certifications

  • Registered Landscape Architect | Pennsylvania

Larry Knutson

Founder

Larry Knutson founded Penn Trails in 2007 and lead the company until his retirement in 2024.

Larry is co-author of Universal Access Trails & Shared Use Pathways: Design, Management, Ethical, and Legal Considerations, and continues his legacy of training and teaching on a broad range of trail planning and management topics with Penn Trails.

During his time leading Penn Trails, Larry served as chair of the Planning-Design and Outreach Committees for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources State Trails Advisory Board and as Treasurer and Board member, 2015-2017, for the Professional Trail Builders Association. He is the 2003 recipient of the American Hiking Society’s Volunteer of the Year award for his trail work in Pennsylvania.