FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Katie Test, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
GREAT RAIL-TRAILS FOR FALL FOLIAGE DESTINATIONS
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Offers Five Perfect Rail-Trails to Experience Fall's Colors
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Each year, millions of outdoor enthusiasts flock to see nature's premier fall foliage stage show—and there are few better seats in the house than on a rail-trail. To help kick off the season, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has put together a sampling of prime pathways for eager leaf-peepers.
Though far from exhaustive, these suggestions are solid bets to catch a rainbow of turning leaves as they sweep from New England and the upper Midwest, and down through the South. To locate a great rail-trail near you, log on to RTC's rail-trail search engine, www.TrailLink.com, to explore more than 15,000 miles of pathways, with trails in all 50 states:
- Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, Vermont
One surefire recommendation for early-season peepers—often ready by early September, in fact—is the 26-mile Missisquoi Valley Rail Trailin northern Vermont, nearly touching the Canadian border. This gentle, crushed-limestone pathway begins in St. Albans and winds through rolling hills and dairy farmland, generally following the Missisquoi River. Daytime temperatures should still be comfortable (nights quite a bit chillier), and the autumn landscape radiates color and wildlife. Careful moose-seekers, as well, can hope for an extra batch of good fortune.
- Paul Bunyan Trail, Minnesota
Farther west, northern Minnesota usually reaches its autumn heyday between late September and early October. One great stretch for the adventurous is the burly, 110-mile Paul Bunyan Trail, which simply screams of tall trees and thick leaves. The pathway offers an at-times rugged route—partly paved, partly ballast—suited for hikers and mountain bikers, and the foliage views are as epic as the trail's lumberjack namesake. You'll pass the shorelines of 21 lakes, through deep forests and welcoming communities like Hackensack and Bemidji.
- North Central State Trail, Michigan
From late September through mid-October, the newly minted, 62-mile North Central State Trail in northern Michigan offers an arresting backdrop for fall—and on more than one canvas. More than 10 miles of the pathway, heading north from Indian River (a good base for trip accommodations) toward Cheboygan and Mackinaw City, streak along Mullet Lake, where birch and maples pop firecracker yellow and glow red and orange like coals in a campfire through mid- to late October.
- Hudson Valley Rail Trail, New York
New York's paved Hudson Valley Rail Trail is about 100 miles due north of New York City, and is well worth a stroll for anyone eager to feel awash in golden leaves. At just over two miles long, the Hudson offers an easygoing trip from Highland to Lloyd, where the woods begin to glow by mid- to late October. Wide, richly forested and offering access to the Black River, the popular pathway bathes visitors in dramatic waves of foliage.
- Virginia Creeper Trail, Virginia
Farther south begins the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail, a dirt and asphalt journey from Abingdon through Damascus and Whitetop, just above the North Carolina border. The trail's dense forests, sleepy hills, long trestles, pockets of pastureland, grazing cattle and inviting communities will make for a memorable and photogenic ride. You can expect a corridor well-outfitted with amenities, making it convenient for destination travel and rentals. You can also arrange for a shuttle from Abingdon to Whitetop to take advantage of a mostly downhill ride.
For more specific details about trailheads and driving directions, as well as photos and user reviews, please visit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's TrailLink.com.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.railstotrails.org.