TrailNation: the Power of Connected Trails

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's TrailNationTM initiative brings to life our vision of trails at the heart of healthy, thriving communities by showcasing the impact of trail networks and redefining how we create themso we can more quickly connect trails across the country. We're bringing together the model projects, the leaders and champions, and the resources to accelerate the pace of equitable trail development nationwide, creating new access to this essential infrastructure and the benefits it brings for everyone in America. Learn about the history of the initiative.

America’s Trail Networks

This live broadcast featured RTC, Latino Outdoors and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for a discussion about the urgency to connect this walking, biking and active transportation infrastructure and what it will take to get there.

America's Trail Networks Map by RTC
America's Trail Networks Map by RTC | Explore interactive map


More than 150 known multiuse trail networks are in development nationwide, with trail networks underway in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This infrastructure creates space for people to walk and bike that is separated from traffic and creates new connections within and between communities. At least half of Americans (49.75%) live in a county that is home to a developing trail network, demonstrating the scale of demand and potential impact for significant portions of the U.S. population.

View infographic | View press release

TrailNation Projects

Model Trail Networks

RTC’s TrailNation initiative encompasses model trail network projects that connect across city, county, multi-county and multi-state lines. These trail networks are learning laboratories to test strategies and approaches in communities that are diverse in their geographies, constituencies and politics. Through TrailNation, RTC is working to connect nearly 12,000 miles of trail in partnership with over 300 trail organizations, advocates and local leaders. View project video series.

Baltimore Greenway Trails Network - Photo by Side A Photography
Photo by Side A Photography

Bay Area regional trail network - Photo by Cindy Barks
Photo by Cindy Barks

Capital Trails Coalition - Photo by Richard Anderson
Photo by Richard Anderson

Caracara Trails - Photo by Mark Lehmann
Photo by Mark Lehmann

Circuit Trails - Photo by Thom Carroll
Photo by Thom Carroll

Great American Rail-Trail - Photo by Kara Patajo
Photo by Kara Patajo

Industrial Heartlands Trail Coalition - Photo by Jason Cohn
Photo by Jason Cohn

Miami LOOP - Photo by Ken Bryan
Photo by Ken Bryan

New England Rail-Trail Network | Photo by TrailLink user jrakis
Photo by TrailLink user jrakis

Route of the Badger - Photo by Dave Schlabowske
Photo by Dave Schlabowske

TrailNation Collaborative

Peer Learning Community

TrailNation Collaborative is a nationwide peer learning community from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy that brings together advocates, leaders and professionals from across disciplines to establish and accelerate trail networks across America. The collaborative provides proven tools, methods and resources, combined with RTC’s expertise and network of partners across the country, to accelerate the development of connected trail systems. When trails are connected across regions and states, trail networks have a proven transformative impact—they are essential infrastructure that creates thriving, healthier communities.

Collaborative members enjoy meaningful conversations and connectionsincluding monthly online dialogues and regular interactive virtual gatherings, the TrailNation Playbook that delivers a compendium of best practices, technical assistance, in-person events and opportunities to engage with each other in the dedicated Facebook group. Members also receive a regular newsletter with updates on trail network development across the country.


TrailNation Playbook

Strategies to Build Trail Networks

RTC’s TrailNation™ Playbook curates case studies, best practices and tools developed alongside partners on our TrailNation projects to stimulate trail network development nationwide. Explore each section for lessons learned that can support trail planners, municipalities, states and regions working to advance trail network projects.

Project Vision icon
Coalition Building icon
Mapping & Analytics icon
Gap-Filling Strategy icon
Investment Strategy icon
Engagement icon

Latest TrailNation Blogs