shop   |   eNews   |   find a trail Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity
Share this page:

Rail with Trail photos

America's Rails-with-Trails Report

A Resource for Planners, Agencies and Advocates on Trails Along Active Railroad Corridors

View Report Now banner
This report made possible with funding from the Pennsylvania DCNR


Key Statistics
As of June 24, 2014

Number of Rails-with-Trails: 217
States with Rails-with-Trails: 42


Online Appendix

arrow Individual survey and Interview Responses: Download Survey Results (.xls)

arrow Rail-with-Trail List:

Download Rail-with-Trail List (.pdf)

Do you know of a Rail-with-Trail that is not on our list? Please contact us.

arrow Recreational Use Statutes (RUS):
Download RUS list (.pdf)

arrow Legal Agreements:

Example easements and license agreements were provided by trail managers for use in the report and should serve only as a reference; legal counsel should be obtained to develop such agreements for rail-with-trail acquisition.

Frisco Trail, AR
License and Agreement between Railroad and Trail Manager

Route 66 Trail, AZ
Easement Agreement between Railroad and Trail Manager

Linear Park, CA
License Agreement and Terms of use between Railroad and Trail Manager

Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade, CA
Joint License for Encroachment between City and Railroad

Rock River Recreation Path, IL
Lease Renewal Between Railroad and Trail Manager

Gary L. Haller National Recreation Trail, KS
License Agreement for Tunnel Crossings

Duluth Lakewalk, MN
License Agreement

Santa Fe Rail Trail, NM
Trail Easement 1997

Camp Chase Trail, OH
Easement between Railroad and Trail Manager

Heritage Rail Trail County Park, PA
Steam into History lease agreement

Porter Rockwell Trail, UT
2003 UTA License Agreement for Porter Rockwell Trail

arrow Rail-with-Trail Feasibility Studies and Design Guidelines:

An example of a Regional Railroad's design guidelines for Rail with Trail

Massachusetts Endorsement of Rail with Trails

New Hampshire Feasibility Study

Pennsylvania Rail with Trail Feasibility Study Clarion/Little Toby Trail

California Rail with Trail Feasibility Study

Massachusetts Grand Junction Trail Feasibility Study

arrow Image Library:

View images on Flickr




Rails-with-trails are safe, common, and growing. These are the standout findings of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's defining new study on the development of multi-use trails alongside active freight, passenger and tourist rail lines.

View Report Now The report America's Rails-with-Trails: A Resource for Planners, Agencies and Advocates on Trails Along Active Railroad Corridors examines the characteristics of 88 rails-with-trails in 33 states, based on a survey of trail managers and the results of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's ongoing study over the past 20 years. It also provides a collection of data, examples and practical tools to assist trail planners and advocates in increasing awareness of the rail-with-trail concept.

Significantly, the findings of America's Rails-with-Trails will now be a crucial tool to advance local and state policies and practices that support rail-with-trail development. We anticipate that data supporting the exemplary safety record of rails-with-trails, and evidence of successful liability protection for railroads and trail managers, will play a key role from now on in negotiations between railroad companies, agencies, trail managers and advocates for continued trail development.

Rail with Trail chart

Key Findings:

  • At the time of publication (2013), RTC located 161 rails-with-trails in 41 states, a 260 percent increase since 2000. Rails-with-trails represent almost 10 percent of all rail-trails in America. Another 60 rail-with-trail projects across the country are currently in various stages of development.

  • Out of the tens of thousands of fatalities on railroad corridors in recent decades, only one involved a trail user on a rail-with-trail. This suggests that a well-designed pathway provides a safe travel alternative and reduces the incentive to trespass or use the tracks as a shortcut.

  • Class I railroads continue to express formal opposition to the concept of trail development within or adjacent to their corridors. However, smaller private railroad companies and public rail authorities have reached agreements with trail managers on rail-with-trail development that have satisfactorily addressed any concerns about risk and liability.

  • There is a growing trend of rail-with-trail development alongside local and regional transit corridors. Fifteen percent of the active rails-with-trails identified in this study are located adjacent to mass transit corridors.

  • The vast majority of the rails-with-trails interviewed for this report are insured by an existing local umbrella policy, similar to most rail-trails and greenways.

The increasing adoption of rails-with-trails has the potential to further reduce collisions by providing safe and intentional alternatives to trespassing on tracks. Americans increasingly demand that they be given balanced transportation options that include safe and healthy places to walk and ride. Taking full advantage of corridors to facilitate both rail and active transportation, as rails-with-trails do, is a smart and efficient step in that direction.


Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037