Browse Common Topics
Search our Website

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 North Carolina's designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database


map of North Carolina

photo of winter trees

The American Tobacco Trail (Photo by Tony D'Amico)

American Tobacco Trail This 14-mile rail trail will eventually span more than 22 miles from downtown Durham to New Hill, providing community connections to schools, parks, businesses, and places of worship. Trail users enjoy biking, roller blading, and horseback riding. This shared-use greenway is a fine example of what can be achieved through a diverse partnership (designated 2004).


Dismal Swamp Canal Trail – Recognized as part of the East Coast Greenway, this 4.5-mile multi-use trail features a variety of historic sites, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for biking, fishing, canoeing, and more (designated 2008).


Highlands Plateau Greenway – The 5-mile network of is ocated in Highlands, the highest incorporated town east of the Mississippi. Straddling the Eastern Continental Divide in a temperate rainforest, the area boasts the highest floral and faunal diversity in North America. Because of this unique environment, landscaping along the trail with plants native to the southern mountains is a major focus (designated 2010).

photo of kids at pond

House Creek Greenway at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh

House Creek Greenway: This 3.2-mile urban trail/bikeway is a vital link in the State's greenway system and features the Reedy Creek Pedestrian Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge in North Carolina (designated 2006).


Dark Mountain Trail With the help of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and dedicated volunteers, this 7-mile trail system has become a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and naturalists. The goal is to expand the trail to connect to the Yadkin River Greenway and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, as well as to W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, Wilkes Community College, and the towns of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro (designated 2005).


Kings Mountain Gateway Trail The city of Kings Mountain has developed 5 miles of multipurpose trail for walking, hiking, and biking. Several scenic overlooks offer excellent views of Kings Mountain and Crowder’s Mountain. More than 12,000 walkers use the fitness loop in the trailhead park each month. Cleveland County, Carolina Thread Trail, two corporations, two State parks, a National Park, and a number of private citizens are key trail partners. Over $800,000 in trail easements were donated to the county by four large corporate landowners (designated 2013).


Little Tennessee River Greenway – This 4.5-mile hiking and biking trail parallels the Little Tennessee River and Cartoogechaye Creek and features three different bridges and a variety of recreational facilities for visitors of all ages (designated 2008).


Overmountain Victory Trail - 13 miles of trail at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ W. Kerr Scott Reservoir (designated 2012).


photo of trail through trees

Mountains-to-Sea Trail in the Appalachian Mountains of Western
North Carolina (photo by Matt Mutel)

Scuppernong River Interpretive Boardwalk Located in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, this 3/4-mile loop trail meanders along the Scuppernong River through a cypress swamp and leads into downtown Columbia. The boardwalk introduces visitors to the beauty of the coastal sounds of eastern North Carolina. In addition to its scenic features, the trail provides for recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, and wildlife observation (designated 2005).

Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway Segment This backcountry trail extends nearly 193 miles and is the longest section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The scenic foot trail ascends and descends with the contours of the Parkway, crossing expansive forests, wildflower gardens, major rivers, and historic sites. The entire trail stretches nearly 935 miles from Clingman's Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey's Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks (designated 2005).



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



trail database


Facebook Twitter

Stay up to date on legislative issues for trails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


trail database

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


PDF  Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  Download Acrobat Reader


section 508 logo American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.