Wyoming trails have the potential to host an incredible stretch of the Great American Rail-Trail route, with the state's unique landscapes and already world-renowned outdoor recreation assets. Working closely with state and local officials and trail developers, RTC has identified a preferred route through the state that prioritizes opportunities for economic development and stretches from Casper, Wyoming, to Livingston, Montana. Important community connectors, such as the developing Casper Rail Trail, Al’s Way in Glenrock and the Platte River Trail with its pioneer history, are helping to build momentum for statewide trail development.
While its topography presents a challenge for trail builders, Wyoming has recently made a statewide commitment to trails and active transportation that supports the completion of the Great American route and further enhances the state’s outdoor tourism economy.
From Rails to Trails Magazine’s Spring/Summer 2019 issue
The Platte River Trail and Pony Express
In its earliest years, Casper, Wyoming, served as a convergence of four heavily traveled westbound trails. The California, Mormon, Oregon and Pony Express Trails all passed through this corridor, and that pioneer history abounds along Casper’s Platte River Trail. The 10-mile trail hugs the North Platte River and runs past the Fort Caspar Museum, a re-creation of the Army fort first founded in 1859 as a toll bridge and trading post along the Oregon Trail.
Traveling northeast on the parkway takes trail users through city parks and recreation areas and near the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. There, you can climb inside a replica Conestoga wagon and take a simulated ride across the North Platte that aims to illustrate the challenges settlers faced crossing rivers and rocky terrain on the way to a new life. Read about more historical connections along the Great American Rail-Trail here.
The “Great American” Route Through Wyoming
RTC’s route analysis defines the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail through Wyoming as 508.1 miles. While only 8.1 miles of the route are complete, the state’s recent report on active transportation—including trails—recommended a minimum investment of $10 million annually. Citing the Great American Rail-Trail, the report offers optimism for the trail’s future development in the state. Click the links below to view full trail descriptions of Wyoming’s host trails on TrailLink.com.
Trails Along the Route
Casper Rail Trail
Spanning 6 miles, the Casper Rail Trail is an important connector in one of the largest cities in Wyoming. Cutting east-west across the community, the paved pathway provides access to cultural attractions such as a science center, contemporary art museum, the county library and a park honoring war veterans.
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.
Completing the Great American Rail-Trail: Catalyst Initiatives in Wyoming
In every state along the preferred route of the Great American, needs for completing the trail vary. To spur trail completion, RTC has identified initial catalyst initiatives—projects or challenges that would most benefit from RTC’s national breadth of resources. (View the complete list of catalyst initiatives and criteria here.) Through these initiatives, RTC will support local and state partners, investing time, expertise and organizational resources in specific projects that are critical to the ultimate completion of the Great American Rail-Trail.
Great American Rail-Trail Gap #63: Glenrock to Evansville
In its final report of statewide trail and active transportation recommendations, the Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force recommends that completing a trail between Glenrock and Evansville should be a priority as part of the Great American Rail-Trail. RTC will provide technical and planning assistance to Platte River Trails, Wyoming Pathways and Wyoming State Parks to determine ownership of the former rail line; engage with property owners and stakeholders; determine who will own and maintain the trail after completion; implement cost estimation; complete a feasibility study; pursue public funding; and provide design, engineering and construction assistance.