About Trail Moments
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the nation’s trails have served as an important space for millions of people to be active and connect with their friends and family. Trails in neighborhoods across the country have welcomed new people looking for spaces to play, commute, walk, bike, run and explore. Long-time trail lovers have discovered trails that are new to them and the new adventures they hold.
At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are capturing these trail moments—and sharing your stories of joy, moments of solitude, and motivation for exercise and self-care to 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—during the pandemic and beyond.
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.
“There is something about seeing someone out on the trails or at the campsite with that sparkly look in their eye from trying something new that just keeps me going.”
“We became known as 'the riding couple' on the weekends. From horn blowing to friendly waves, strangers would see us and comment about our rides and dedication. We continued a few more months on the sidewalks in our neighborhood, where we racked up more than 1,100 miles.”
—Thresa Giles and Albert Grant, Florida
“I am most impressed with Shahreen, who has gone from fearful to (almost) fearless. She talks of that feeling of freedom, the extra energy after a bike ride.”
“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
“If you want to go for a walk, find a place that you want to see. If you are doing some kinds of working out or fitness, you can make it fun for yourself!”
—Ayesha McGowan, Decatur, Georgia
“Since COVID-19 began, our activities have been limited and our universe has shrunk. But we found that one activity still brings us so much joy—biking as a family on our local trails. ”
“We have never met a trail we did not like. When you are on a community trail, you get to experience the local area. There is always so much to see, whether it is nature, residential, industrial … or the diverse people on the trail biking, running, walking or rollerblading (there are still a few out there!).”
—Dan Brownstein, New Jersey
“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
“Riding these trails has been so impactful; it has brought me a healthy way to work out the stresses of life—and a peace of mind.”
—Anamaria Spiteri, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
“When the weight of it all is crushing, those [trail] moments outside have given us freedom and time to breathe.”
—Brandi Horton, Arlington, VA
“This is where I’m going to get emotional, because I feel like running saved my life …. If I hadn’t gotten into exercise … [t]here’s no doubt I would have had a heart attack.”
—Vincent Viars, Morgantown, WV
“Trails are a literal escape from the monotony and existential angst of 2020. I am grateful to have rail-trails nearby, and thankful for our park staff and volunteers for keeping them in such nice condition.”
—Amy Collins-Warfield, Ohio
“They're more than a connection between two points in space; they connect lives, loves and memories. Our ride on the Chief Ladiga Trail—our #TrailMoments—made me feel connected to everything I loved, and I felt like I had finally come home.”
—Ed Coleman, Columbus, OH
Tap images below and scroll using the arrows to view more trail moments.
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.
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.