Hiking trails and nature trails

The purpose of the marked trails in nature is to introduce natural values to hikers both in and outside protected areas


There is no explanation for the meaning, differences, and similarities of the phrases ‘hiking trail’ and ‘nature trail’. It seems that no need for that has arisen. The Estonian Ramblers’ Association’s Matkaseletussõnastik (Explanatory dictionary on hiking) says that a hiking trail is ‘a hiking trail or nature study trail marked in nature or marked on a map and supplemented with additional information’. When hiking on the marked trails in nature and searching for information on the web, you will soon come to the realisation that a hiking trail is longer and it is likely there are no information boards introducing the area. A nature trail or a study trail is usually shorter and refers to information about the natural values of the area, the information boards by the trail. The term ‘nature study trail’ was probably introduced more widely by Jaan Eilart. The first nature study trail was marked on the landscape in 1962 in Tilleoru [1].


The purpose of the marked trails in nature is to introduce natural values to hikers both in and outside protected areas. Sometimes trails can guide people past places they should not be at.


The Environmental Board, the State Forest Management Centre, local governments, non-profit associations, and various societies are responsible for the planning, construction, and maintenance of the trails. A trail must be maintained and if that is not possible, the trail must be eliminated.


There are nature trails of different lengths and introducing different communities in all counties. They can be found on the web, where the most frequently used pages are kaitsealad.ee, loodusegakoos.ee, and the Visit Estonia portal. The web page terviserajad.ee  will also help you find health trails suitable for moving in the fresh air near your home. For longer hikes, you can use hiking trails that span the entire Estonia.


Marked nature trails are a great way to go to nature, learn to notice, listen, and hear the surroundings, become smarter – all without the fear of becoming lost.


Mööda rada on lihtsam liikuda nii inimesel kui loomal. Rajad ühendavad  inimesi, loomi ja paiku.
It is easier for both people and animals to move along a trail. Trails connect people, animals, and places. By: Reigo Roasto



Last modified: 17.01.2022





[1] Eilart, J. Looduse õpperajad. Tallinn, „Valgus“, 1986.