Picture yourself … pedaling across the entire country on a safe, seamless and scenic pathway—or walking a local trail that connects along historic routes. Imagine the incomparable experience of exploring America’s heritage by trail—its potential, its beauty and bounty, its people and places. Consider the economic opportunities and the benefits for communities along the route of a multiuse trail that stretches more than 3,700 miles between Washington and Washington. Learn more about the vision of the Great American Rail-Trail.


The Vision of the Great American Rail-Trail


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Great American Rail-Trail progress infographic
Great American Rail-Trail Route Infographic

"The Great American Rail-Trail will be a national treasure. It presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create—together—an enduring gift to the nation that will bring joy for generations to come."

—Ryan Chao, RTC President


Discovering America: Reconnecting People and Places


The Great American Rail-Trail promises an all-new American experience. Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the trail will directly serve nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route. Across the nation—and the worldonly the limits of imagination will limit its use. Learn more about the preferred route.

Great American Rail-Trail Map

Great American Rail-Trail Preferred Route

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Washington, D.C.
Capital Crescent Trail located in Maryland and Washington, DC | Photo by Milo Bateman
Capital Crescent Trail in Maryland and Washington, D.C. | Photo by Milo Bateman

D.C. Trails

Maryland
C&O Towpath Trail in Maryland and Washington, D.C. | Photo by TrailLink user dpg47
C&O Towpath Trail in Maryland and D.C. | Photo by TrailLink user dpg47

Maryland Trails

Pennsylvania and West Virginia
Panhandle Trail in West Virginia | Photo by TrailLink user jdubohio
Panhandle Trail in West Virginia | Photo by TrailLink user jdubohio

PA Trails  WV Trails

Ohio
Ohio to Erie Trail in Ohio | Photo by TrailLink user meo
Ohio to Erie Trail in Ohio | Photo by TrailLink user meo

Ohio Trails

Indiana
Cardinal Greenway in Indiana | Photo by Tony Valainis
Cardinal Greenway in Indiana | Photo by Tony Valainis

Indiana Trails

Illinois
Hennepin Canal Parkway in Illinois | Photo by Greg Krogman, Lunafish Photography
Hennepin Canal Parkway in Illinois | Photo by Greg Krogman, Lunafish Photography

Illinois Trails

Iowa
Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Iowa | Photo by Liz Zabel, courtesy GO Cedar Rapids
Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Iowa | Photo by Liz Zabel, courtesy GO Cedar Rapids

Iowa Trails

Nebraska
The Cowboy Trail in Nebraska crosses the Elkhorn River just west of Norfolk. | Photo by Scott Bohaty
Cowboy Trail in Nebraska | Photo by Scott Bohaty

Nebraska Trails

Wyoming
Casper Rail Trail in Wyoming | Photo courtesy Platte River Trails Trust
Casper Rail Trail in Wyoming | Photo courtesy Platte River Trails Trust

Wyoming Trails

Montana
Headwaters Trail System in Montana | Photo by Scott Stark
Headwaters Trail System in Montana | Photo by Scott Stark

Montana Trails

Idaho
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Idaho | Photo by Lisa James
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Idaho | Photo by Lisa James

Idaho Trails

Washington
Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail in Washington | Courtesy Washington State Parks
Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail | Courtesy Washington State Parks

Washington Trails

Be a Part of the Movement to Complete the Great American Rail-Trail


Like you, we can’t wait to see the Great American Rail-Trail vision come to life—but we can’t do it alone.
Support at the state and local levels is critical to the trail’s success. Help us reach 1 million pledges for the Great American, showing the strength and solidarity of the trails community.

This is America’s trail. Together, let’s make it a reality.

Sign the Great American Rail-Trail Pledge


Latest on the Great American


Four Long-Distance Rides Along the Great American Rail-Trail

Four Long-Distance Rides Along the Great American Rail-Trail

What better way to experience the beauty of America’s amazingly diverse landscapes than by bicycle? When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail will...

Read More
Rails-to-Trails' President Ryan Chao on Connecting America by Trail

Rails-to-Trails' President Ryan Chao on Connecting America by Trail

Thank you for welcoming me into your community. I’m delighted to join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) as its third president and to partner with you...

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Wyoming’s Platte River Trail

Wyoming’s Platte River Trail

Ten miles of paved pathway now thread through a handful of beloved parks, rolling out along the water’s edge under a canopy of cottonwoods in...

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The Great American Rail-Trail will stand alongside our country’s iconic landmarks as a national treasure. For more than 30 years, RTC has envisioned this trail. The time is NOW to complete it. You can help by making a gift to RTC, supporting the national leadership and on-the-ground support—the work to organize people, plans and ideas; trail planning and community engagement; the advocacy and marketing that is necessary to completing the Great American Rail-Trail.

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