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Each year nominations for designation of new National Recreation Trails may be submitted. The NRT Program recognizes trails that provide opportunities for all Americans to enjoy the out-of-doors and improve the quality of life of our communities.
Search over 1,200 National Recreation Trails in the online database
See the state-by-state index of Featured National Recreation Trails
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis have designated 21 trails in 11 states as National Recreation Trails. The goal of the National Recreation Trails Program is to promote outdoor recreation and reconnect Americans to nature.
The designations are announced in celebration National Trails Day, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Hundreds of organized activities are planned as part of including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications. A listing of activities is available on the American Hiking Society's website.
“These trails provide easily accessible places to get exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas," Jewell said. "They promote our goal of encouraging all Americans, especially youth, to play, learn, serve, and work in the great outdoors.”
The 19 hiking and biking trails and two water trails add 452 miles to the National Trails System. “The National Trails System connects Americans with federal, state and local lands and nationwide,” Jarvis said. “As we celebrate National Trails Day, this network of more than 16,000 miles continues to grow and offer new opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors.”
National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. Each of the new national recreation trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell, and a set of trail markers.
Both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture have the authority to approve designations in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization. The National Recreation Trails Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.
The following trails were designated as National Recreation Trails for 2014:
Apalachicola River Blueway in Florida
(Photo by Doug Alderson)
Wild Burro Trail
The Wild Burro Trail is the gateway to the Tortolita Mountains trail system, adjacent to the Town of Marana. The trail is 6.3 miles long with access to 29 miles of connecting trails within the system. The meandering trail offers amazing views, historical sites, canyon cottonwood trees, crested saguaros, beautiful wild flowers and the opportunity to observe birds, reptiles, and mammals unique to the Sonoran Desert.
North Slope Trail
An easy to hike one mile trail through the coastal hills of northern California, the North Slope Trail has sweeping views of Lake Sonoma and the surrounding wine country. The design and construction of the trail was a unique partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Northern California Chapter of the Back County Horsemen, nonprofit organizations including the Friends of Lake Sonoma, and park volunteers. The popular trail is enjoyed by a wide variety of visitors.
Ventura River Parkway Trail
The 16.5-mile Ventura River Parkway Trail includes two major trails: the Ventura River Trail and the Ojai Valley Trail. From the Ventura River Estuary to the City of Ojai, the contiguous corridor of pedestrian and cycling trails, river crossings and public access points reconnects people in city neighborhoods and rural communities to the river. The trail links diverse neighborhoods to nature to give health and fitness benefits to both youth and adult populations.
Apalachicola River Blueway
This water trail stretches 106 miles from the dam in Chattahoochee to Apalachicola Bay. The majestic Apalachicola River flows through one of the nation’s richest hotspots of biodiversity and is bordered by large tracts of pristine, undeveloped land, home to many threatened and rare species of plants and animals. The river meanders through the heart of "Old Florida," a vibrant tapestry of wild landscapes and vanishing cultures – a rare gem in the Florida Panhandle.
Harbins Park Trail System
Conveniently located within the eastern edges of Gwinnett County and adjacent to several schools, the 30-mile Harbins Park Trail System is the setting for environmental studies, fitness activities, and nature experiences. The botanical richness of Harbins Park makes it a favorite destination for flower lovers. With a variety of multi-use paved trails and soft surface nature trails, there is a trail to satisfy every visitor.
Little Mulberry Park Trails
Located in the northeast portion of Gwinnett County, Little Mulberry Park has something for everyone. From the handicapped-accessible Pond Trail to the challenging unpaved Ravine Loop Trail, the park’s trails offer 13 miles of walking, hiking, jogging, equestrian, and biking opportunities for all ages and fitness levels.
McDaniel Farm Park Trails
The McDaniel Farm Park Trail is a 2.3-mile series of paved loops located within a 133-acre former farm site in Gwinnett County. Historic farm buildings, green pastures, and shaded tree groves line the trails, providing a glimpse of the historic past and a natural oasis in the midst of modern day “mall sprawl”. Nearby residents with diverse cultural origins walk and run the trails on a daily basis to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle of health and fitness.
Settles Bridge Park Trail
Settles Bridge Park is situated on the upper banks of the Chattahoochee River in Suwanee. The park’s 4.5-mile multi-use trail system, arranged in several loops, has both paved and natural surfaces. Located adjacent to an elementary school, the trails provide an antidote to nature deficit disorder. The park’s nature trails have access to the river via trails maintained by the National Park Service’s Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
Dedham Loop Water Trail
This 7.2-mile water trail on the Charles River in Dedham has received tremendous support from the community with in-kind donations. Many trail programs are offered throughout the year by the Town and in partnership with L.L. Bean Outdoor Adventures, including Pathfinders, a handicapped youth and adult paddling program. Partner support has enabled the free use of kayaks and canoes by families that may not have been able to access this great resource in the past.
Mass Central Rail Trail (Northampton Section)
Portions of this 5.3-mile trail were among the first municipal rail trails developed in New England (1985). In 2001 the trail expanded to connect to other rail trails and tie various village centers together. Highlights along the trail include downtown Northampton, Barrett Street Marsh, downtown Florence, Look Park, the Village of Leeds, the Mill River, and two dramatic historic stone arch bridges.
New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail (Northampton Section)
The New Haven & Northampton Canal Rail Trail extends from the Mass Central Rail Trail on the north side of downtown Northampton southerly to the Easthampton town line. The 4-mile multi-use trail is ideally suited for walking, running, bicycling or rollerblading. It is within walking distance for 50% of the Northampton community. A highlight of the trail is a trail-related art mural on the rail trail bridge over Main Street.
Copper Harbor Trails
At the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, this 30-mile trail system is recognized by the International Mountain Bicycling Association as a Silver-Level Ride Center. The system has sweeping views of Lake Superior, extensive singletrack over cedar-planked bridges and boardwalks, flow and gravity trails, and routes that wind through old growth forests, along streams, inland lakes, and places of historical significance. The trails are also open for hiking, trail running, backcountry skiing, and snowshoeing.
Genesee Valley Greenway State Park
This 84-mile corridor follows the route of the 19th century Genesee Valley Canal and the later Genesee Valley Railroad. It provides recreation and an off-road link for sixteen towns from Rochester to the Village of Cuba. The greenway offers a mix of flat, easily-traversed trails through woodlands, wetlands, river and stream valleys, rolling farmlands, steep gorges, and historic villages.
Harlem Valley Rail Trail – Columbia County
The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is a paved bicycle/pedestrian path built on the railbed of the old Harlem Line of the New York Central Railroad. It is ideal for runners, bicyclists, walkers, roller-bladers, cross-county skiers, wheelchair users, hikers and dog walkers who enjoy combining the quiet beauty of rural landscapes with healthy exercise. The 4 miles of trail in Columbia County, from Undermountain Road to Hillsdale, feeds into Taconic State Park.
Harlem Valley Rail Trail – Dutchess County
This section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail extends 10.7 miles north from the terminus of Metro North’s Harlem Valley commuter line at Wassaic to the heart of the historic village of Millerton. Along the way it passes through the village of Amenia, forests, wetlands, fields, and meadows. The trail is revitalizing the communities it passes through and gives people for miles around a secure, beautiful place to get outdoors.
Hudson Valley Rail Trail
The 3.6-mile Hudson Valley Rail Trail passes through the Black Creek Wetlands Complex (with its vistas of the Illinois Mountain Range), travels through the Town of Lloyd, and connects at its eastern end to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. The nearly 670,000 annual trail users include health enthusiasts, walkers, runners, cyclists, skateboarders, inline skaters, cross-country skiers, birders and individuals just wanting a quiet moment to collect their thoughts.
Long Path through Mine Kill State Park
A partnership among Mine Kill State Park, the New York Power Authority, and the Long Path North Hiking Club supports the Long Path through Mine Kill State Park. The trail is consistently rated very highly among hikers who have experienced its natural beauty. From open bluffs with inspiring views of the Schoharie Creek, to dense groves of hemlock, pine and oak, to the tranquil Mine Kill Falls, this 5-mile section of the Long Path contains a wealth of history, geology, diverse ecology, and wildlife.
Rocky Knob Park Trail System
In Watauga County, 9 miles of mountain bike trails climb in stacked loops to the top of Rocky Knob Mountain. Each loop provides an increase in challenge and elevation. Signature features include a pump track and four technical skills areas that challenge riders with skinnies, rock drops, and a jump trail. Riders are encouraged to progress their skills in authentically challenging terrain.
Horse-Shoe Trail – Warwick to FCSP Section
This historic 17.4-mile section of the Horse-Shoe Trail, a bridle (“Horse”) and hiking (“Shoe”) path, traverses Warwick County Park, State Game Lands, Crow's Nest Preserve, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, and French Creek State Park. It is located within the Hopewell Big Woods, which is part of the Schuylkill Highlands. The part of Pennsylvania is noted for remnants of the early American iron industry.
SC Revolutionary Rivers
This 66-mile trail on scenic waterways offers a series of short excursions, overnight rustic camping opportunities, and reminders of the Revolutionary War. Led by General Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox, Patriots engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Loyalists in the cypress and tupelo laden swamplands of Florence and Marion Counties. Paddling is a popular activity for diverse demographics. On the SC Revolutionary Rivers, it provides low impact exercise, opportunities to experience nature, and history.
Urban Wilderness South Loop Trail
A few miles from Knoxville’s downtown core, the 28.4-mile Urban Wilderness South Loop Trail has a unique urban-wilderness combination, connects public and private lands, and offers a diversity of views, topography and scenery. Noteworthy destinations include Ijams Nature Center, Mead’s Quarry, William Hastie Natural Area, and the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. The majority of the trail was built by the volunteer efforts of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club.
About the National Recreation Trails program
National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. Each of the new National Recreation Trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from the Secretary of Interior or Secetary of Agriculture, and a set of trail markers.
The National Recreation Trails program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website at www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails.
For more about the new designations and details of many featured trails, please visit: