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US Department of Agriculture

The US Department of Agriculture is a supporter of the National Recreation Trails (NRT) program. A wide variety of trails on National Forest and Grasslands are designated National Recreation Trails, hosting many kinds of trail recreation, including hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, and driving ATVs and four-wheel drive vehicles.


Featured National Recreation Trails on national forests and grasslands

New York Map


The US Department of Agriculture is an important partner in the National Recreation Trails Program. National forests and grasslands across America offer a wide range of recreation opportunities, including more than 133,000 miles of trails for hiking. Many of the trails are maintained and even constructed due to the important work of volunteers.


photo of canoeing under trees

Conservation Corps workers on the Tahoe Rim Trail


Trails on USDA lands that have been designated as National Recreation Trails include:


Red Canyon Trail (Dixie National Forest, Utah)
The route is an 8.6 mile non-motorized trail that parallels the route of Utah Scenic Byway 12 through Red Canyon (Forest Service Trail 33016). Red Canyon is often referred to as “Little Bryce”, with brilliantly colored red rocks called hoodoo’s and large Ponderosa pines, bristle cone pines, and limber pines throughout. This area is known as a place to get away from the crowds in Bryce Canyon National Park and provides multiple trail and recreation opportunities with spectacular scenery.

Ozark Trail (Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri )
225 miles of the trail are trail located on and managed by the Mark Twain National Forest. traverses clear Ozark streams, dry granite barrens and panoramic mountaintops, travels near wetlands and fens (a fen is a bog-like area, generally with peaty soils, that is kept constantly moist or wet by spring-fed groundwater and dominated by sedges, forbs and some shrubs), and through deep Ozark forests, providing an opportunity for trail users to experience the variety of the Ozarks (designated 2008).

Pioneer Trail (Tahoe National Forest, Calif.)
Volunteers constructed all but two miles of the 25-mile Pioneer Trail, which follows one of several emigrant trails that were used to travel to California following the discovery of gold. Historic uses of the land are evident throughout it, including mining areas, logging railroads and wagon roads. The Forest Service has plans to connect the trail with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Partners include Bicyclists of Nevada County, CalTrans, Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition, Gold Country Trails Council, Nevada Irrigation District and Pacific Gas & Electric.

Tahoe Rim Trail (Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Calif. and Nev.)
The Tahoe Rim Trail makes up 96 miles of the 165-mile trail that encircles Lake Tahoe along the ridges and mountaintops that form the Lake Tahoe Basin. It offers spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding mountain peaks, forests and meadows that form the Lake Tahoe Basin and shares 49 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Partners include Nevada State Parks and Tahoe Rim Trail Association.

Maah Daah Hey Trail (Dakota Prairie Grasslands, N.D.)
Winding its way through the rugged badlands and rolling prairies of western North Dakota is the 96-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail. It passes by Theodore Roosevelt's original ranch site on the Little Missouri River and is full of unique geological formations and cultural resources. Its name is derived from the Native American Mandan language meaning "grandfather" or "long lasting" and is used to describe an area that has been around for a long time and deserving of respect. Partners include Maah Daah Hey Trail Association, North Dakota State Park and Recreation and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Massanutten Trail (George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, Va.)
The 71-mile trail offers overlooks with vistas that peer into the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great North Mountain area. The Civilian Conservation Camp constructed much of the east side of the Massanutten Trail. Visitors can explore rocky creeks passages and hollows hidden by this mountainous terrain and pass old charcoal hearths and mining operations. The name Massanutten may have originated from a Native American word for either sweet potatoes or the baskets that the American Indians wove. Partners include Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Old Dominion 100-Mile Ride Club, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. The national trail designation is part of a continuing campaign to promote community partnerships and to foster innovative ways to encourage physical fitness.

The National Trails System Act of 1968 allows the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to recognize existing community trails that qualify as additions to the National Trails System. The Act promotes enjoyment and appreciation of trails and greater public access. Along with inclusion in the National Recreation Trails System, each of the four trails will receive a certificate of designation and National Recreation Trail markers. Throughout the country there are now more than 900 National Recreation Trails throughout the United States, totaling more than 9,000 miles (see the Online NRT Registry).

The National Recreation Trail program provides technical assistance and support for outreach efforts. The Forest Service and National Park Service administer the program with help from a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trail Web site:


trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Update trail/contact information by sending us a completed update form (PDF format). You may also e-mail this information.



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The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails:


The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training


Promote your trail through the National Recreation Trails Program


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