filed under: federal legislation
On October 22, 2020 U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced 30 new national recreation trails in 25 states, adding more than 1,275 miles to the National Trails System.
American Trails is thrilled to welcome the following trails to the National Recreation Trails family.
ARIZONA & NEVADA
Mohave Water Trail
The 76-mile long Mohave Water Trail stretches along the Arizona and Nevada shoreline of Lake Mohave and the Colorado River below Davis Dam to Laughlin/Bullhead City. The water trail provides access to sandy beaches, scenic desert areas, and unique historic sites, including submerged cultural resources. Boat rentals, shuttle and guide service for paddle craft, scuba diving, fishing, camping, and overnight accommodation and restaurants are available at two marinas and in Laughlin and Bullhead City.
Located in Cheaha State Park, the Doug Ghee Accessible Trail (Bald Rock Boardwalk) is a 0.3-mile boardwalk trail that allows users of all abilities to journey through the enchanted hardwood forested foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Interpretive signs along the accessible boardwalk unfold the history, culture, and natural history of Cheaha Mountain. This unique boardwalk invites and enables all guest to embrace the natural wonder and beauty of the Bald Rock Overlook located at the end of the boardwalk.
Amboy Crater Trail
The 1.5-mile-long Amboy Crater Trail takes hikers through a sprawling lava field to the top of the iconic Amboy cinder cone volcano. The view from the 984-foot rim will awe those who take in the vastness of the Mojave Desert, where faraway cars on the desert highway appear to be miniature toys against this epic landscape.
The Staunton State Park Loop Trail System is an 18.8-mile loop that gives visitors a glimpse of everything Colorado has to offer. From expansive views of sprawling meadows to mountain vistas to diverse wildlife, the Staunton State Park Scenic Loop Trail System is a true gem of Colorado.
FLORIDA & GEORGIA
Suwanee River Wilderness Trail
The majestic 235-mile Suwanee River begins just below the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia. The meandering waterway then coils through the heart of north central Florida, ending in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast. Steeped in rich culture and history, this beloved river remains a wild natural wonder with endless delights for adventurous explorers.
The Des Plaines River Trail – Lake County is a 31.4-mile, scenic multi-use trail that spans nearly the entire length of Lake County, Illinois. Meandering along the Des Plaines River, the regional gravel trail is open for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling on some sections in the winter. The trail follows the Des Plaines River’s edge from Wadsworth, Illinois south to where it connects to the Cook County Forest Preserve Trail.
The Panhandle Pathway is a 22-mile rail-trail corridor running through Pulaski and Cass Counties, Indiana. The trail follows the historic rail path of the Pennsylvania Railroad Line through farmland, shady wooded areas, the beginning of the Wabash Valley, and across the Tippecanoe River. The trail provides wide views of farmland and a dedicated prairie preserve. The Panhandle Pathway is ideal for walking, hiking, running, biking and skating.
Well maintained by volunteers, the Panhandle Pathway is a lovely rural experience offering new things to see and hear on every visit.
As the seventh longest rail trail in the nation, the 95-mile Flint Hills State Park Trail runs from Osawatomie, Kansas in the east to Herington, Kansas in the west. The trail passes through river bluffs, riparian zones, agricultural fields and the last remaining remnant of the tall grass prairie. The trail roughly follows the route of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail and forms a component of the American Discovery Trail.
Migrants Mile is a self-guided nature and fitness trail that offers wildlife viewing throughout the year. It traverses a variety of habitats, including freshwater marsh, woodland, and sand prairie. Waterfowl, herons, egrets and shorebirds frequent area wetlands. Eleven markers along the trail highlight both fitness information and natural features to explore.
The Outlet Campground Trail System is composed of three individual trails intertwined to provide a little over three miles of outdoor recreational experiences for campers, as well as, the community of Osage County, Kansas. The trail system provides a half-mile of paved surface accessible to the people with disabilities in addition to another 2.5-miles of compacted soil and gravel trail.
As Kansas’ first State-managed rail trail, the Prairie Spirit Rail-Trail gives users a 51-mile tour through tallgrass prairie, woodlands, agricultural fields and eight small rural communities combined with country hospitality. The trail connects with a system of trails including the Flint Hills State Park Trail and the Southwind Trail, creating a network of recreation opportunities.
Manhan Rail -Trail
The Manhan Rail Trail is a 6-mile, paved multi-use path that traverses Easthampton, Massachusetts. The trail provides spectacular views of Mount Tom, the Oxbow, and several flourishing ponds. The trail provides easy access to a vibrant downtown and restored mill housing studios, restaurants and shops, Pascommuck Trust Conservation Areas, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, city parks, and the Manhan Rail Trail Millennium Mural.
Flint River Water Trail
The Flint River Water Trail is a 73-mile water trail that provides a variety of recreational experiences and opportunities by connecting users to natural, cultural, and historic features along a safe and accessible river trail. It brings about awareness for stewardship of the Flint River and surrounding lands. The water trail crosses through two counties, natural areas, and an urban core, and is available to the hundreds of thousands of residents within an hour’s drive.
The Shiawassee River Water Trail is an 88-mile long navigable waterway of Central Michigan. This trail provides paddlers with a multitude of natural, historical, and cultural experiences. The trail’s proximity to the million-plus population within a half-day’s drive to any trail segment enables close-to-home outdoor recreation and readily accessible communion with nature for everyone.
MINNESOTA & WISCONSIN
St. Louis River Estuary Water Trail
The St. Louis River Estuary Water Trail provides a unique opportunity to explore one of the world’s largest freshwater estuaries. A major tributary to Lake Superior, the trail covers 16.5 miles of the St. Louis River shoreline and over 12,000 acres and sports 11 distinct routes that cover 73 miles. Visitors can immerse themselves in the river’s varied landscapes ranging from the working port of Duluth and Superior to complex, diverse, wild ecosystems.
Spyglass Hill Trail
The Spyglass Hill Trail is a 22-mile, multi-purpose trail that winds along the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Enid Lake shoreline. The Spyglass Hill Trail provides moderately hilly terrain with rock out crops and scenic views of Enid Lake. The trail runs through Ford’s Well Campground, which serves as the Trail’s center point. Ford’s Well Campground offers trail users a spot to rest and camp and enjoy the history and scenery of the trail.
The Musconetcong Watershed National Water Trail promotes recreational access in the Musconetcong watershed. The Musconetcong River begins at Lake Hopatcong and runs 42 miles down to the Delaware River. Surrounded by rugged Highland ridges, the river flows by state and county parks, historic hamlets, nature preserves, and one of the region's most scenic agricultural valleys. Located in Northwestern New Jersey, the Musconetcong watershed provides a much-needed opportunity for recreating in natural, historical, and agricultural landscapes near a metropolitan area where 20 million people live.
North Carolina Smoky Mountain Blueways
The Smoky Mountain Blueways Trail is 167 miles of waterways in the Little Tennessee River Basin. The natural landscape of the Little Tennessee River Basin has unparalleled beauty, diverse outdoor recreation opportunities, and a string of private and public infrastructure in place for outdoor recreationist. The 1,800 square mile basin contains 2,500 miles of streams and rivers and 18,000 acres of lakes. These waters, used by residents as well as millions of visitors, provide both economic viability and a natural, healthy environment for physical and mental revitalization.
The Great Guernsey Trail is a 7-mile, paved rail trail that occupies a former CSX railroad
corridor through rural wooded countryside. Because it parallels Leatherwood Creek for much of its route, the trail provides a great opportunity for viewing waterfowl and bald eagles. Rabbits and other local wildlife have been known to make appearances along the trail, which is open to walkers, joggers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and cross-country skiers.
The three miles of trails at the Ray Harral Nature Park offer a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to get out of the house and explore. The trail system at the Ray Harral Nature Park provides a great chance to hike, walk pets, trail run, mountain bike, and view wildlife.
The Tualatin River is a relatively slow, meandering river that is ideal for beginner paddlers and families. The water trail flows from west to east, starting in the coastal mountains and ending at the confluence with the Willamette River with public facilities providing services along the trail.
Window Cliffs Trail
Window Cliffs Trail provides a unique showcase of rare geological features and plant populations placed throughout a challenging but rewarding 2.7-mile roundtrip hike. The trail traverses through the Cane Creek Gorge to reach some of the most unique rock formations in Tennessee. Trail users ascend to the top of the cliffs, where they are greeted with a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.
Knobby Knees Trail
The Knobby Knees Trail is located in Liberty Municipal Park in Liberty, Texas. It is a gateway into the bottomland hardwood forests of Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. From this trail, visitors can explore nine miles of trail network. Several scenic areas await, including Palmer Bayou Boardwalk, Josie Lake, Sycamore Swales, and the sandbars of the Trinity River.
The Trinity River Paddling Trail is located in the middle of America’s fourth largest metro area with a population of 7.5 million people. Traversing peaceful countryside and the bustle of world-class cities, this Texas-sized paddling trail covers 130 river miles, spanning nine cities and three counties. Twenty-one official launch sites along its length allow access to three major river tributaries, the Clear Fork, West Fork, and Elm Fork, as well as 40 miles of the main stem of the Trinity River.
This trail follows a perennial clear stream for two miles along the Grandstaff Canyon bottom. The trail is in a classic riparian setting, rare in the desert region of Moab. The canyon itself empties into the Colorado River and is directly across from Arches National Park. The trail is surrounded by high sandstone cliffs along its entire length. The trail ends at Morning Glory Natural Bridge, which at 243 feet long, has the sixth-longest natural rock span in the United States. The canyon is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and school groups from Moab as part of the area’s environmental education programs.
Moab Brands is a system of eighteen multiple interconnecting mountain bike trails, totaling over 31 miles, for riders of all abilities. Trail difficulty levels range from a children's enclosed ‘play and practice’ area to trails which challenge the most experienced riders. Trails range from easy slickrock to challenging steep terrain. All of the trails offer great views of the Moab area's iconic landscape such as Arches National Park, the Moab red rock country and the La Sal Mountains.
Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail
The Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail is an 8.5-mile, mostly paved hiking and biking trail located on southwestern Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. The trail traverses’ beaches, grassy dunes, transitional wetlands and forest groves. The trail also offers the opportunity to explore public art and artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery as it offers easy access points and is accessible to people with disabilities for most of its length.
Ohio River Water Trail – Parkersburg, WV
The 57.7-mile Ohio River Water Trail provides accessible recreation opportunities to residents and visitors of Parkersburg, West Virginia. There are 13 river access points with ample parking and boat ramps, half of which are accessible for people with disabilities. Paddlers on the Ohio River Water Trail can feel a sense of remoteness and find natural beauty. The Ohio River offers abundant wildlife viewing, as 200 bird species, 100 fish species, and 25 mammal species call the river home. There are three islands that are part of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which allow visitors to pull their canoes and kayaks up onto the shore and explore these islands on foot during the day.
The 52-mile Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System provides users a ticket to the beauty and heritage of northern Wisconsin’s wilderness. The paved, carefully maintained system runs through a swatch of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, connecting the communities of St. Germain, Sayner-Star Lake, Boulder Junction, and Manitowish Waters in Vilas County, and Mercer in Iron County. The multiuse trail is one of the longest paved trails in Wisconsin.
The immensely popular Chippewa River Water Trail courses through historic downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The 4.2-mile water trail flows through an urban landscape endowed with natural beauty including clean water, strong fisheries, native grasses and trees, sandstone cliffs, and cave formations. The Chippewa River Water Trail provides a conduit for paddlers to retrace the former logging paths of the mid-1800s and understand the river’s role as an economic and cultural driver for the city.
Published October 2020
The Recreational Trails Program directly addresses our desire to put young people to work, provide equitable access to nature, and provide resilient responses to natural disasters
A report on the use and benefits of Federal Recreational Trails Program funds across the United States.
The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service is pleased to announce 48 funded projects.
This February and March, over 120 advocates virtually hiked the halls of Congress to call for action to protect and expand access for all to public lands and trails. These efforts, led by the Partnership for the National Trails System and American Hiking Society, developed a series of common messages and legislative priorities for the coming Federal fiscal year. We encourage all of our partners to download the Hike the Hill materials now to help build a common agenda for the entire trails community.