Seven Reasons You Should Go on a Trail Adventure

Posted 03/08/18 by Suzanne Matyas in America's Trails, Trail Use, Health and Wellness

Photo by Justin Smith

What type of adventurer are you?

A. Do you favor seaside escapes over sleeping under the stars? 
B. Would you prefer a trip with the entire family or a solo expedition to find yourself?
C. How about a relaxing retreat instead of rollercoasters?

Thankfully, with more than 3,800 rail-trails and multiuse trails crisscrossing the nation, and more on the way, there is 32,000-mile-long list of possibilities for every type of adventurer, of every age and ability, to experience—option D: All of the above!

Whether you simply spend an afternoon on a nearby trail—or join us June 10–14 on our 2018 Pennsylvania Sojourn for the “rail-trail adventure of a lifetime” on the D&L Trail—our team is here to help you find a trail and cheer you on!

In fact, we’ve even come up with seven irrefutable reasons why you need to go on a trail adventure!

1It’s a way to experience something new.

Photo by Gerald Prestwood
Photo by Gerald Prestwood

Veteran trail users and tenderfeet alike can always discover something new on the trail! Even if your muscle memory is transporting you along your trusty five-day-a-week commuter trail, you never know what may lie on the path ahead, minor or momentous. Trekking along the trail one day, you might witness the first beginnings of a new season after trudging through its lingering predecessor or welcome a different kind of highly anticipated transformation to the local landscape and community.

On June 11, sojourners will experience history being made as they become among the first to bike across a bridge that, after undergoing a quarter century of planning, will form a new connection between nearly 60 miles of the D&L Trail and three counties.  

2It’s a way to challenge yourself.

Photo by Chris Langager
Photo by Chris Langager

We all have goals. Are they always easy to keep, and to keep interesting? Unfortunately not. Luckily, trail adventures are excellent nesting grounds for tackling challenges and cultivating goals, because, as mentioned above, trails offer ever-changing, stimulating experiences, which prevent any staleness from sapping steam from your personal pursuits! (Trust us, that New Year’s Resolution to exercise 30 minutes a day becomes something you actually want to stick to when it’s an enjoyable walk, jog or roll on the trail!)

And if you aspire to take things up a notch by challenging yourself to bike more than 160 miles on the beautiful D&L Trail on the sojourn—we promise we, and your fellow sojourners, will be right there to support and keep you motivated throughout the adventure!

3It’s a way to relax.

Photo by Cleo Fogal
Photo by Cleo Fogal

As enthralling and heart-pumping as certain types of adventures can be, your trail time can equally and just as easily be your moment of Zen. Yoga, Tai-Chi, meditation, star-gazing, sitting: You can do all of these more mellow activities right off the trail, while still luxuriating in the serene and scenic surroundings intrinsic to these outdoor spaces. Prefer to catch some R&R while reclining by the beach, river or lake? Tons of trails trace or provide access to these pacifying places, and can be your way to get there! 

For you thrill-and-chill seekers, the sojourn caters to both experiences—including offering plenty of moments to stop, relax and take in the sights while pedaling some 35 to 48 miles alongside rivers, lush forests and rugged mountains.

4It’s a way to make a difference.

Photo by Edward Vallejo
Photo by Edward Vallejo

Ranging from charity runs to invasive special removal, trails are mediums for a variety of good deeds and excellent causes. Since 2001, for example, we’ve not only led thousands of people on unforgettable, multiday adventures on some of America’s most iconic trails through our Sojourn Series, but we’ve also highlighted trail gaps and showcased the powerful impact that connected trail systems can have communities and local economies.

But don’t forget: Your weekend warrior trail adventures, after-dinner strolls and bike commutes to work make a big difference too, because they inspire others to follow your example! And, when people use and regularly rely on trails to get around, it causes trails to be recognized as need-to-have infrastructure—like roads and mass transit—and demonstrates their value (and continued need for investment) to decision-makers.

5It’s a way to visit places you’ve never been to before.

Photo by Frederik Togsverd
Photo by Frederik Togsverd

When you go on a trail adventure, you’re also visiting local communities. And the things you might miss about a place when passing it on the highway—such as unique shops, delicious diners, historical sites, parks and cultural hotspots—become vibrant via trail. More and more, communities nationwide are realizing and capitalizing on this symbiotic relationship, and are strengthening it by investing in their trails—resulting in an even better experience for you!

The 2018 sojourn route is patterned with charming and unique places in which we’ll be resting, eating, imbibing, exploring and celebrating—including the town of Jim Thorpe, nicknamed “the Switzerland of America,” and Washington Crossing, the historic site where George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River. (Check out the sojourn itinerary to learn more about the route.)

6It’s a way to get lost in nature.

Photo by Lisa Porter
Photo by Lisa Porter

Trails feature some of the country’s most beautiful natural treasures and landscapes, from the magnificent Red Woods in the Pacific Northwest, to the sweeping Spanish Moss of the South, to the glittering ocean views of the East and West coasts, to the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. We encourage you take a trail adventure so you can lose yourself (though not literally!) in the splendor of the great outdoors!

(Truly, we would feel awful if you got lost on the trail while taking our advice! To avoid navigational missteps, take a look at the detailed trail maps and descriptions in our guidebooks and trail-finder website,, before starting your journey.)

7It’s a way to make memories with people you love!

Three generations on the 2017 sojourn | Photo by Wendy Palmer
Three generations on the 2017 sojourn | Photo by Wendy Palmer

Spending time with your own thoughts on the trail can be a wonderful way to unwind, recalibrate and enjoy some “me” time—but trails are also fabulous places to share precious moments with friends and loved ones. Thanks to trail users from around the country, our team has been lucky enough to hear about heartwarming tales like these over the years: falling for the love of your life, teaching your tyke to use a two-wheeler, checking off your bucket list with your best friend—and the traditional family turkey trots.

We’ve also been fortune enough to make and share incredible memories with previous sojourners—and we can’t wait to create new memories this year!

If you and your loved ones would like to join us for an unforgettable trail adventure this summer, please reserve your spaces on the 2018 Pennsylvania Sojourn today. We’ll see you on the trail!

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