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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, millions of people have flocked to the outdoors. Spending time outside is one of the safest things we can do. As people seek out spaces near their homes to be active at a safe physical distance, trails have proven to be so important to so many—spaces to play, commute, walk, bike, run and explore.

At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we want to capture these moments—moments of joy, moments of solitude, moments for exercise and self-care. We hope these stories … your stories … will inspire others to explore trails and the outdoors close to home, while helping our local leaders understand how important trails are to the health and well-being of our communities.

Share Your Trail Moment

Have you recently discovered trails, or are you a long-time trail enthusiast? Either way, we hope you’ll share your “Trail Moments”—and the stories of how trails have impacted your life during COVID-19. Take the survey below, or share using #TrailMoments on social media. Toma la encuesta en Español.

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Story Gallery

Keith Russell | Photo by Rene Thomas
Photo by Rene Thomas

"I’m always so thrilled that you have such diversity; birding doesn’t just attract one section of the community or one type of person."

—Keith Russell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

READ KEITH'S STORY

Katie Fullenkamp | Courtesy Katie Fullenkamp
Courtesy Katie Fullenkamp

“Having that daily mile walk really helps him be happier and healthier.”

—Katie Fullenkamp—on her son’s daily walk to school on the Met Branch Trail, Washington, D.C.

Kayla Walker | Courtesy Kayla Walker
Courtesy Kayla Walker

“When Oregon’s stay-at-home order was issued ... I was seven weeks pregnant. For me and many others, it’s been an isolating and anxious six months. To cope, I’ve been walking on ... Oregon’s beautiful trails. It's been essential to my physical and mental wellness.”

—Kayla Walker, Portland, Oregon

Jorge Brito and son | Courtesy Jorge Brito
Courtesy Jorge Brito

"During these times of uncertainty, it is reassuring to have trails as a constant. My local trail has never been so important to me."

—Jorge Brito, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

READ JORGE'S STORY

Keith Russell: Philly Birder Takes Fledgling Bird Enthusiasts Under His Wing

READ KEITH'S STORY

Birdwatching in Tacony Creek Park | Courtesy Tookany-Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership

From Father to Son—A Beautiful Life on a Bike Seat

READ JORGE'S STORY

Jorge Brito and son on the W&OD Trail in Northern Virginia | Courtesy Jorge Brito

Daiquan Medley | Photo by India Kea
Photo by India Kea

“It’s kind of like another way of therapy for me due to my growing up getting in trouble. I get on that road and feel that wind touch my face ... it makes me happy.”

—Daiquan Medley, Washington, D.C.

Anthony Le | Courtesy Anthony Le
Courtesy Anthony Le

"I've been trying out different bike routes to the office even though we're currently working remotely, so that I will feel comfortable commuting by bike in the future."

—Anthony Le, Washington, D.C.

WATCH ANTHONY'S STORY

The Mom Squad | Courtesy Brandi Horton
The Mom Squad | Courtesy Brandi Horton

"When the weight of it all is crushing, those moments outside have given us freedom and time to breathe."

—Brandi Horton, Arlington, VA

READ BRANDI'S STORY

Dr. Sam Zizzi | Courtesy Cole Smith
Courtesy Cole Smith

“It's as important as ever for people to know that when everything is out of control, one thing you can control is [going outdoors and taking] advantage of natural resources.”

Dr. Sam Zizzi, Morgantown, West Virginia

READ DR. ZIZZI'S STORY

Courtesy Quest Skinner
Courtesy Quest Skinner

"We take for granted these public spaces and the impact they can have … just to be able to take a run and connect with nature and back into your own mind is priceless."

—Quest Skinner, Washington, D.C.

Kasia Martin | Photo by Josh Lawrey
Photo by Josh Lawrey

"The countless hours spent on the trails have helped propel me through tough times. The awe-inspiring scenery and peacefulness of them provides such a gift!"

—Kasia Martin, Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania

TrailLink on Android screenshots

Find Your Next Trail Moment

Find your next trail moment and new close-to-home trail experiences. TrailLink, RTC's free trail-finder website and mobile app (iOS and Android), has information on more than 40,000 miles of multiuse trails nationwide, including trail maps, walking and biking directions to get to the trail, and contact information for local trail management organizations.

EXPLORE TRAILS

 

Share the Trail and Recreate Responsibly

RTC has long urged everyone to learn and practice good trail etiquette to ensure safe experiences for all trail users. But as more and more people flock to the trails, and as individuals and families continue to look to trails for outdoor activity during the pandemic, sharing the trail and recreating responsibly have never mattered more. Do your part to Share the Trail and follow the #RecreateResponsibly guidelines anytime you head outdoors. It’s up to all of us to protect each other and the places we love.

GET GUIDELINES

How Trails and Outdoor Access Provide Important Mental Health Benefits

READ STORY

Three Rivers Heritage Trail | Photo by Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh Bike Share

Taking Care of Our Trails and Parks in the Midst of COVID-19

READ STORY

Wissahickon Trail in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Photo by Patrick Wittwer | CC by 2.0


Read More Trail Moment Stories


From Father to Son—A Beautiful Life on a Bike Seat

From Father to Son—A Beautiful Life on a Bike Seat

During these times of uncertainty, it is reassuring to have trails as a constant. My local trail has never been so important to me.

READ MORE
How Trails and Outdoor Access Provide Important Mental Health Benefits

How Trails and Outdoor Access Provide Important Mental Health Benefits

One significant way millions of Americans are addressing their mental health needs during the coronavirus is through frequent activity in the...

READ MORE
Philly Birder Takes Fledgling Bird Enthusiasts Under His Wing

Philly Birder Takes Fledgling Bird Enthusiasts Under His Wing

“For me, the special part of those experiences has been having so many different types of people participating,” enthused Keith Russell. “You have...

READ MORE