Summary. Cutting straight line transects through dense forest is time consuming and expensive when large areas need to be surveyed for rare or highly clustered species. We argue that existing paths or game trails may be suitable as transects for line transect sampling even though they will not, in general, run straight. Formulas and software currently used to estimate local density using perpendicular distance data can be used with closest approach distances measured from curving transects. Suitable paths or trails are those for which the minimum radius of curvature is rarely less than the width of the shoulder in the detection probability function. The use of existing paths carries the risk of bias resulting from unrepresentative sampling of available habitats, and this must be weighed against the increase in coverage available.