With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan an outing to one of America’s National Recreation Trails. Nothing is more romantic than time spent together outdoors, and since National Recreation Trails are some of the finest trails our country has to offer, planning a date on one of these trails is a sure fire way to create an unforgettable holiday.
1. Honey Creek Loop Trail, Tennesee
The Honey Creek Loop Trail contains some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area of Tennesee. Although the entire loop trail system is only 5.6 miles in length, travel time is slow and the going is very difficult. The rough terrain makes the Honey Creek Loop Trail the ideal place for relationship building with your honey, and is not recommended for small children, so leave the kids at home for this rugged outdoor date.
2. Heartland State Trail, Minnesota
What is so great about the Heartland State Trail in Minnesota? In a word, everything, because this trail has something for everyone. If you and your partner have an adventurous spirit and want to try something different, you can use this trail for everything from snowmobiling to roller-skating. Depending on the weather, and the section of trail you tackle, you can also ride your bike, ride your horse, hike, cross country ski, and best of all, you can bring your dog! If variety is the spice of life, than this truly multi-use National Recreation Trail is sure to spice up your love life.
3. City of Foley Antique Rose Trail, Alabama
It is hard to think of Valentine’s Day without thinking of roses, which makes the Foley Antique Rose Trail in Alabama the perfect fit for a romantic Valentine’s date. Originally the city of Foley was a train stop, but when the railroad line discontinued passenger service the city looked for other ways they could attract visitors. This eventually led to one innovative City Administrator who was a fan of roses enlisting local help and creating the Antique Rose Trail. With the oldest rose on the trail dating back to 1752, this astounding trail walks through the evolution of roses over hundreds of years. Why just buy your date flowers when you can show them history come alive?
4. Bright Angel Trail, Arizona
Why not show your significant other how much they brighten up your life by taking them on the Bright Angel Trail in Arizona? This trail is another great opportunity for a weekend getaway, as it is located right off of the Bright Angel Lodge in the Grand Canyon National Park. Although you can hike this trail, the real fun is going the equestrian route and riding down into the canyon. (After all, what is more romantic than horseback riding?) This trail provides some of the most stunning views in the country, sure to take anyone’s breath away, and make you a bona-fide Valentine’s Day rock star for planning this romantic date.
5. International Friendship Trail, Kansas
Not all love is romantic, so this Valentine’s Day why not celebrate with your friends on the International Friendship Trail in Kansas. This short but sweet trail is less than a mile long and wheelchair friendly, winding through the International Friendship Forest. The trail is known as “Memory Lane” and was created to honor those who contribute to the aviation and aerospace world. Embedded in the concrete walkway are granite plaques engraved with aviation notables such as Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, and the Wright Brothers. Notably, this trail was also the first ever National Recreation Trail designated in the state of Kansas, making it a perfect bucket list destination!
Don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day? Check out this trail instead!
The Forever Wild Coon Creek Trail System, Alabama
This five mile Alabama trail system is for those of you lone wolves who would rather think of yourselves as forever wild than ever being in a relationship. This trail is located in the 320 acre Forever Wild Coon Creek Tract, giving you ample opportunity to ignore Valentine’s Day completely and focus on kayaking on the Yates Reservoir, hiking the trails, or bird and wildlife watching. The trail system consists of two trails; the Wood Duck Trail and the Overlook Loop. Both trails are free to use by the public, as is the boat ramp from the parking lot to access the reservoir.
American Trails contributing author Josh Adams spoke with Greg Harris about the very exciting Rock Island Trail project. In 2019 the Rock Island Trail got a huge boost when a 144-mile corridor was donated to expand the trail.
The Lion's Tale is a National Recreation Trail that is specially designed to create a sensory experience for the visually impaired. Through a special mascot, Lop Ears the Mountain Lion, the trail tells a story using braille as well as other sensory methods.
In this National Recreation Trail highlight from the Sarah Zigler Interpretive Trail in Oregon, find out the history of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association and how they get hundreds of kids out on the trail every year.
Contributor Josh Adams interviews Wayne Dunker, the parks and recreation director of Washington, Missouri.