A common subterfuge is to run the track through basement stairs to complete a loop around a basement. In large scale, it takes the full height of the riser to accomplish it. I was very lucky as the right height for everything else was also at EXACTLY the right height to go through a riser.
The ballast on the track in the foreground is chicken grit. The ground texture is real decomposed granite, sifted from the 70 or so yards of material that was removed to make way for the basement. The dirt and ballast are held firmly in place with matte medium.