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As the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, the Corps’ 422 lake and river projects in 43 states provide more than 4,500 miles of diverse trails and trail systems.
Search the online National Recreation Trails Database
The national recreation trail designation recognizes those trails that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. The first national trails were established in the early 1970s. In 2013 four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trails are among 41 trails designated by the Department of Interior as National Recreation Trails:
Sugar Bottom Mountain Biking Trail System, IA
Set in rugged terrain surrounding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Coralville Reservoir on the Iowa River, 13 miles of trail are arranged as a one-way system of loops to create an extended continuous riding experience and serve riders of all skill levels. For sustainability and reduced maintenance, soil and high water challenges have been addressed with careful design.
Volksweg Trail, IA
Volkswegis a Dutch word meaning “people’s path,” and this trail serves as a path connecting the picturesque city of Pella to the recreation areas of Lake Red Rock on the Des Moines River. The trail traverses timbered areas, restored prairies, pine plantations, and open fields while offering spectacular views of the lake. It is maintained through a combined effort by the Marion County Conservation Board, the city of Pella, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
General Dacey Trail, IL
This 4-mile multipurpose trail at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Shelbyville is a premiere attraction for physical fitness, family gatherings, educational opportunities, and wildlife viewing. The success of the General Dacey Trail would not have been achieved without community pride and ownership. The trail has proved to be a catalyst for developing relationships between volunteers, contributors, and partnering organizations.
Pomme de Terre Multipurpose Trail, MO
This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trail, located in Bolivar Landing on the southern portion of Pomme de Terre Lake, provides enjoyment for horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers. The looped trail has several smaller loops, adding up to nearly 20 miles. The scenic trail winds through various types of terrain. The Show-me Missouri Back Country Horsemen keep the trail traffic flowing by contributing countless hours of volunteer labor.
Running River Trail, MO
Located in Outlet Park just below Pomme de Terre Dam, this 3.1-mile looped trail meanders along the Pomme de Terre River and through a fine stand of timber. Designed for walking, jogging, and biking, the trail is a Healthy Active Community collaborative effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hermitage School District, Hickory County Health Department, and Hickory County Community Improvement Coalition to promote healthier lifestyles. Being the only trail of its kind in the area, it gets lots of use.
The following five USACE trails have been designated as 2012 national recreation trails; click on the links for more information:
Bartram Trail at J. Strom Thurmond Lake, Clarks Hill, SC and GA
J. Strom Thurmond Lake is the largest USACE project constructed east of the Mississippi River. The natural beauty of the area along the shore is still intact and is enjoyed by mountain bikers, hikers and runners who explore the pine-carpeted 27-mile Bartram Trail. This trail includes 6.5 “Gateway” miles for young riders and new cyclists, an advanced 9-mile portion of fast single track challenges, and nearly 8 miles of more technical obstacles.
Overmountain Victory Trail at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, NC
Veterans Trail at Coralville Lake, Iowa City, IA
The Veterans Trail at the Coralville Lake Project is a quarter-mile, barrier-free trail. Individuals of all abilities can view the flora and fauna or experience quiet reflection as the trail meanders among mature oak, hickory, and maple trees. Memorials and monuments collectively honor Johnson County veterans from the Civil War to present conflicts. Features dedicated to individual veterans include a bird observation area, a flower garden, rest areas, and a bridge.
Overmountain Victory Trail at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, Wilkesboro, NC
Overmountain Victory Trail is a 13-mile trail that contains lake views, dips deep into the woods, and traverses steep hillsides with mature hardwoods and boulder outcroppings. The trail follows the general route used by patriots from the area in 1780 and is part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The trail is managed for multiple-use to include hiking, running, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, environmental education, fishing and hunting.
Bennington Lake Trail System at Bennington Lake, Walla Walla, WA
Bennington Lake Trail System encompasses some 20 miles of trails and offers different levels of difficulty for walking, running, biking, swimming or practicing for a backpacking trip. Scenic views of the lake, Blue Mountains, and the fertile fields of the Walla Walla Valley unfold on the trails around Bennington Lake and along Mill Creek. The trail system hosts many special events throughout the year.
In 2011 four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trails are among 41 trails designated by the Department of Interior as National Recreation Trails:
Old Post Mountain Bike Trail, Lake Dardanelle, AR
Old Post Mountain Bike Trail – Lake Dardanelle, AR:
The Old Post Road Park near Russellville, Ark., hosts a series of 12 interconnecting loops offering the mountain bike enthusiast more than eight miles of trail in one great place. The loops vary in difficulty. Easy Rider Trail is a great trail for beginning mountain bikers and also a perfect place to warm up or cool down from a great ride. All other trails interconnect and vary from modest to intermediate skill level allowing everyone the opportunity for a personalized ride.
Springhill Park Mountain Bike Trail – John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake, AR:
USACE partnered with the Mercy Cycling Club (Mercy Cycling) to construct a mountain bike trail in Barling, Arkansas’ Springhill Park. The ten-mile route, with three loops, twists and winds like a spider web. Regionally known as a “fast” trail by experienced mountain bikers, monthly races are held for area riders and two annual competitions are sanctioned by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). The trail provides an escape from the urban and congested Fort Smith/Van Buren metro area. Families, hikers and bikers benefit from the safe and healthy trail environment. Low impact bridges, built to IMBA standards, cross gullies that empty into the Arkansas River. Volunteers maintain the trail. A long-lasting relationship has resulted between USACE, Mercy Cycling and the St. Edwards Mercy Medical Center in Fort Smith, Ark.
Quinebaug River Water Trail, Thompson Section – West Thompson Lake, CT:
This five-mile water trail within USACE’s West Thompson Lake project is an excellent three-hour outing for paddlers who are comfortable with moving water and enjoy seeing varied landscapes of forests and fields along with extensive wildlife habitat. The quiet, slow-moving Quinebaug River abounds with unique history and culture. This segment of the river has moving water (but no rapids), flat water, and no portages. The upper three miles seem isolated except for two bridge crossings. USACE and the Thompson Trails Committee work collectively to maintain the entire length of the trail, the put-in at the 1804-constructed Fabyan Dam, and the take-out at the West Thompson Lake Boat Ramp.
Blue Marsh Lake Multi-Use Trail – Blue Marsh Lake, PA:
This 29-mile trail encircles USACE’s Blue Marsh Lake project in Berks County, Pa. It is open to all non-powered uses, such as hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The trail travels through various habitat types ranging from open fields in grass and other crops, to shrubby or brushy areas, to mature forest. The surface varies from mowed grass to compacted soil and gravel to abandoned roads. The trail varies from wide open spaces to winding single-track through the forest. The trail was constructed by USACE employees, local Scouting groups, school classes, civic organizations and community service workers.
In 2010 the following six Corps of Engineers trails were designated as National Recreation Trails:
nesting pair of bald eagles Near Lacy Point Nature Trail
Kaskaskia River Confluence Trail, Kaskaskia Lock and Dam, Mississippi River – Lower, Ill.: The highlight of the .4-mile Kaskaskia River Confluence Trail is access to the shoreline at the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers. This is the only public river access site on the banks of the Mississippi River for 100 miles in the State of Illinois. The trail traverses a high quality bottomland forested area and is used for walking, bicycling, jogging, and educational and interpretive programs on river history, navigation and shipping.
Des Moines River Water Trail, Saylorville Lake, Iowa: This 19-mile Des Moines River Water Trail is a scenic, historical and natural experience with multiple access points. The trail serves a diverse group of trail users and connects rural and urban populations. This river corridor is on a major migratory flyway for numerous species and exhibits tremendous bird and wildlife viewing opportunities during all seasons.
Spyglass Hill Trail, Enid Lake, Miss.: Spyglass Hill Trail is a 17-mile multi-purpose trail located at Enid Lake, Mississippi. The trail offers many recreational opportunities including camping, wildlife watching, equestrian riding, and scenic views. The diverse terrain offers visitors a chance to become physically fit and relax their minds from the everyday hustle and bustle while viewing the many plant and wildlife species that inhabit the area.
Black River Hike & Bike Trail, Clearwater Lake, Mo.: The Black River Hike and Bike Trail is a 3.25-mile gentle paved and gravel trail that winds through the bottomland hardwoods and pines along the Black River below Clearwater Dam. The trail offers a great diversity of scenery. The 10-foot wide trail is perfect for biking, jogging or for taking a leisurely stroll. Five entry points provide multiple options from a short 1-mile walk to a full 3.25-mile bike ride.
Knob Hills Trail, Grapevine Lake, Texas: Located on the west end of Grapevine Lake, near the City of Flower Mound, Texas, the 5.43-mile Knob Hills Trail is a natural surface trail that traverses the prairies and bottomland on the north bank of Denton Creek. Hikers and bicyclists share the trail with equestrians for part of its length
Lacy Point Nature Trail, Waco Lake, Texas: The Lacy Point Nature Trail is a multi-use trail located on the west shore of Waco Lake. This is the only public interpretive trail in the region to offer signed access to horse riders, cyclists, bank fishermen and hikers between Fort Worth and Georgetown, Texas, on the busy I-35 corridor. The 19 miles of trail feature interpretive trail markers, directional maps at junctions, and picnic table access along the shoreline.
As the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, the Corps’ 422 lake and river projects in 43 states provide more than 4,500 miles of diverse trails and trail systems. Corps of Engineers officials credits the support of local public and private organizations and the thousands of volunteers annually in helping to make these trails and trail systems available for public use.
For more information on these trails and the many other recreation opportunities available at Corps of Engineers sites, please visit www.corpslakes.us.
Learn more about the National Recreation Trails Program