The Vision of the Great American

Imagine a trail that connects the country …

Picture yourself … pedaling across the entire country on a safe, seamless and scenic pathway—or walking a local trail that connects along historic routes. Imagine the incomparable experience of exploring America’s heritage by trail—its potential, its beauty and bounty, its people and places. Consider the economic opportunities and the benefits for communities along the route of a multiuse trail that stretches more than 3,700 miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State.

Great American Rail-Trail 2023 infographic state map
Great American Rail-Trail 2023 infographic Public and private funds secured for Great American Rail-Trail segments since 2019
Great American Rail-Trail 2023 infographic Trail mileage in development
Great American Rail-Trail 2023 infographic Miles added to the route since May 2019
Great American Rail-Trail 2023 infographic states and total miles
Great American Rail-Trail 2023 infographic percentage complete


"One day, you could go across this entire country … on flat, wide, off-road paths. I want rail-trails to be 'America’s Main Street.'"

—David Burwell, RTC Co-Founder

Great American Rail-Trail Vision Brochure

Download and Share the Vision of the Great American Brochure

Download a printable brochure on the vision of the Great American Rail-Trail.


The time is now.

The possibility of a rail-trail that spans the country has been known since the mid-1980s. As RTC stood at the forefront of the trails movement that was emerging across the country, it tracked rail-trails being developed east to west along the same course charted by the railroad a century ago. Now, analysis of RTC’s database of open trails shows that the Great American Rail-Trail’s preferred route is more than 50 percent complete—the milestone RTC has long identified as the threshold for committing to make this trail a reality. With that milestone in hand, RTC has committed to bring its national expertise and resources to bear in connecting the people and the infrastructure necessary to deliver the Great American Rail-Trail to the country.

The Great American Rail-Trail will stand alongside our country’s iconic landmarks as a national treasure. You can help by making a gift to RTC, supporting the national leadership and on-the-ground support—the work to organize people, plans and ideas; trail planning and community engagement; the advocacy and marketing that is necessary to completing the Great American Rail-Trail.