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Featured National Recreation Trails

A sampling of National Recreation Trails in the news or recently designated. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.


National Recreation Trails... America's great trails!

Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.

arrowSearch all of Massachusetts' designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database


map of Massachusetts

photo of trail through meadow

Housatonic River Walk in Great Barrington, MASS.

Balfour Riverwalk Trail This 0.25-mile urban trail and greenway is a key component of Attleboro's downtown redevelopment plans and supports the Young Men's Christian Association's Activate America program by providing recreational amenities for all ages to enjoy.


Grand Trunk Trail The trail begins in the Town of Southbridge, Massachusetts and follows the old Grand Trunk Railroad bed through a variety of spectacular landscapes. Upon completion, the 5-mile trail will connect to historic Old Sturbridge village via a bicycle trail along the Quinebaug River. This trail is a link in the growing east-west greenways system taking shape in southern New England. It not only connects with trails in nearby States, but will also provide access to the Westville Recreation Area, a 578-acre flood control project used by hikers, bicyclists and fisherman.


Great Barrington Housatonic River Walk – Volunteers built and maintain this half-mile of artfully crafted riverside walking trail and canoe access in downtown Great Barrington.


Hellcat Interpretive Trail At the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island, the two branches of the 1-mile Hellcat Interpretive Trail meander through dunes, shrub thickets, vernal pools, maritime forest and brackish marsh habitats. Observation platforms and 5,334 linear feet of elevated boardwalk enhance wildlife viewing opportunities while protecting the habitat of this Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Site. Over 120,000 visitors enjoy this trail annually (designated 2013).


Metacomet-Monadnock Trail (2 sections) The trail has been primarily a backcountry footpath for over 150 years. Two sections of the 117-trail are being submitted for designation. The first section is approximately 23 miles and runs along the Mt. Holyoke Range and through Hampden and Hampshire counties. Due to unique geologic formations, this segment takes visitors through a forest environment not usually found in central New England. Its natural and cultural resources include the legendary "Horse Caves," hiding place used during Shay's Rebellion. The second section runs approximately 30 miles and crosses Franklin and Worcester counties. This segment allows for natural and human history interpretation in a wild and remote terrain. Both sections are within an hour drive of three-quarters of a million people.


Waverley Trail This interpretive trail brings alive for new generations the remarkable natural and cultural heritage of the Waverley neighborhood and of the Waverley Oaks, an ancient grove that inspired the creation in the 1890s of the world’s first land trust and the Nation’s first Metropolitan Parks Commission. The green painted line that marks the 0.7-mile trail, and the carefully crafted interpretive signs and banners along its length, serve to connect a densely populated urban/suburban neighborhood with spacious green space. The trail also links the Western Greenway to a major rail/bus transit hub in Waverley Square, Belmont. The entire trail lies on city sidewalks, across marked crosswalks, and over paved walkways within the Beaver Brook Reservation. The trail is used for school field trips and is frequented by kids, parents, and grandparents out to get some exercise and learn more about their neighborhood (designated 2011).


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.

See how to update online trail information in the National Recreation Trails online database or send changes by e-mail to



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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:


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