New Rail Trail Will Allow You to Bike Across the US

The 3,700-mile trail runs from coast to coast.

Mar 23, 2023


New Rail Trail Will Allow You to Bike Across the US | The 3,700-mile trail runs from coast to coast.

One morning soon, you will be able to wake up, get on your bike and ride from one end of the United States to the other. That’s because the Great American Rail Trail is 53 percent  complete and that much closer to making a cross-country bike ride a reality.

From Railway Tracks to Trails
The idea of a bike trail made up of scenic paths, trails, former rail lines and towpaths that would stretch from Washington DC to Washington State has been 30 years in the making, according to the BBC

Now, with more than 50 percent of the trail up and running, according to National Geographic, the project, run by the Rails to Trails Conservancy in cooperation with local and Federal authorities, is gaining steam, with hundreds of miles of trails in development now.

Though not yet entirely complete, the rail trail is still a draw for people of all types. Last August, reported the BBC, a former Marine, Ryan Gardill and a colleague biked 350 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.

Their travels, Gardill recounts, took them through some of the most beautiful and historical parts of the American East. “The trail connected me to [the US’] revolutionary and industrial history, as every town is filled with historical areas. Most of the towns on the trail were once important areas to the future of America, only to be forgotten in time.”

An Economic Boon
The major goal of the trail is to provide the American public with the opportunity to explore the wide expanse of riches and landscapes of their beautiful country, without having to get in their car. However, a secondary, but no-less important objective is to bring prosperity back to many of the small towns and cities that once thrived along the country’s now diminished rail system, according to National Geographic.. 

The magazine puts the spotlight on some of these cities and towns. One of these is Muncie, Indiana. The city of 65,000 is located on a former rail system that has now been turned into a multi-use trail and is a part of the Rail Trail. 

The city is already seeing the economic benefits of the trail. “A large majority of our customers are local, but [the Great American] could help grow tourism. It could open the eyes of local people to what’s out there, too,” Jason Allardt, owner of the historic Kirk’s Bike Shop, just a mile off of the trail, told National Geographic..

This is the hope for numerous once-prosperous towns and cities all throughout America. Though it may take nearly 20 years to get the entire trail up and running, it is already a precious resource for many people throughout the US, whether tourists, locals, or cyclists.

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Tiki is a freelance writer, editor, and translator with a passion for writing stories. She believes in taking small actions to positively impact the world. She spends her free time reading, baking, creating art, and walking her rescue dog.