This Epic New Hiking Trail Crosses the US from Coast to Coast

Trailing ahead of conservation efforts

Jun 1, 2019

(Fotos593 / Shutterstock.com

Imagine riding your bike, sun streaming down as you pedal past beautiful greenery and historical routes — a whole new way of exploring and experiencing America’s towns and landscapes. For the first time in history, hikers, cyclists, and adventure enthusiasts can walk a cross-country trail that spans from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

Dubbed the Great American Rail-Trail, the path winds across 12 states, covers 3,700 miles and connects to more than 125 other trails sprinkled around the country. The country’s largest trails organization, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), developed the project over the course of a year, researching and exploring (pun intended) a safe, yet gratifying cross-country route, but it’s been 30+ years in the making. In announcing their proposal a few weeks ago, RTC said they needed one million pledges of support to make the project available to anyone interested.

As of now, 52 percent of the trail is complete and open to the public, and the signatures would make RTC’s vision a reality. Ryan Chao, president of RTC, said that this endeavor is something that anyone can enjoy for as long as it’s around.

“We have the chance to create from that vision a national treasure that unites millions of people over thousands of miles of trail.” “This trail is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide—together—an enduring gift to the nation that will bring joy for generations to come,” he said.

Co-founder of the RTC, David Burwell, envisioned a way to connect the entire country, just as the railroads did a century ago. “One day, you could go across this entire country...on flat, wide, off-road paths. I want rail trails to be ‘America’s Main Street.’”

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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