Image by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

In 2004, RTC anticipated the need for a comprehensive trails dataset and embarked on a project to map all the rail-trails in the nation. At the time, no organization had attempted to gather a similar geospatial dataset. That project, which continues today, formed the basis for our Geographic Information System (GIS). To date, we have mapped more than 25,000 miles of trails (and have compiled information for more than 30,000).

Our GIS database contains a multitude of geospatial information, including demographic, transportation and hydrographic data, as well as our unique trails dataset. We use this data to conduct detailed research that supports local communities across the country in their efforts to advocate for and build trails and active-transportation networks.

Google Bicycling Layer

In March 2010, RTC teamed with Google™ to launch the long-awaited Google Bicycling layer, which integrated RTC GIS data into the Google Maps interface and provided new functionality for acquiring bicycle-based routes and directions. RTC’s data donation to Google was instrumental in helping to launch this exciting feature for the seamless integration of safe, accessible and fun bicycling routes into daily travel.

We are committed to making our GIS data available to the public though our national trail-finder website, There, individuals can search for and learn more about trails and trail networks across the country—for hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing and more—and obtain detailed trail descriptions, maps, photos, reviews and other great resources.

Help Us Grow

RTC continues to expand our database by seeking out new trail infrastructure as well as ensuring our existing data is up-to-date as trail systems change and develop. In concert with our expert staff, we rely on users like you to help stay informed.

Visit the new trail page or the trail mapping page on to let us know about new trails and trail extensions in your area.

Support Our GIS Work

As a member-supported organization, we welcome donations to help maintain our national database. Please consider supporting this important and exciting effort.