Is your New Year’s resolution to get healthier, travel more or be more adventurous? Then we have some inspiring rail-trails to keep you motivated throughout 2020! These bucket-list destinations come from some of the top submitters of trail photos on TrailLink.com, which currently lists more than 4,000 multiuse trails across America. To get you moving, you can view detailed information and maps for all of these trails from your desktop computer, or on iPhone or Android devices using the TrailLink app.
Vivid colors and eye-catching natural scenery are signatures of the more than 100 photos shared by TrailLink user sc302. A favorite in her home state of New Hampshire is the Cotton Valley Rail-Trail, of which she says, “The trail begins in Wolfeboro by Lake Wentworth with the mountains in the distance, and takes the rider through a section of woods and past fields and down long scenic stretches that showcases the beauty of New England, especially in the fall. It is a trail that I enjoy riding as often as possible.”
TrailLink user acewickwire says he is “a believer in rails-to-trails and likes to visit them whenever we get a chance.” Among his gallery of more than 100 photos on TrailLink you’ll find many spectacular mountain backdrops from this Colorado resident. His all-time favorite ride, though, is Idaho’s memorable Route of the Hiawatha, which he says is “chock full of tunnels, trestles, excellent information signs and forest.” The 15-mile rail-trail, nestled in the Bitterroot Mountains, was inducted into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame along with the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
TrailLink user hickok23 and his wife are about halfway to their goal of riding at least 10 miles in every state, and enjoy sharing their trail experiences around the country on TrailLink and their own personal blog. As they’re both over 70, they especially appreciate the easy, level grades of most rail-trails. A favorite is the 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail, a Hall of Famer in northeastern Alabama. Hickok23 notes that he loves the variety along the ride, “sometimes leading through open meadows, sometimes through green tunnels, and later with the wooded hills of Alabama in the background, with a blue sky and fluffy white clouds above, and in between again and again the green wetlands of a slowly meandering gurgling creek.”
TrailLink user vicki1960 loves exploring rail-trails in her home state of Pennsylvania and neighboring Ohio, as well as farther afield in Michigan. Among her 700+ photos on TrailLink, you’ll catch a glimpse of her, usually in a brightly colored top, and if you stop to chat with her on the trail, you’ll find she has an even brighter personality. In the Great Lakes State, you’ll find one of her favorites, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, stretching a whopping 92 miles from Grand Rapids to Cadillac. Of this Michigan gem she says, “Scenery includes farmlands and some wooded areas. It goes through many quaint small towns… each little town is welcoming and trail friendly. I find it interesting, and I think of what it would be like back in the days when the train traveled that route.” You can read more about vicki1960’s adventures in the Trail Tales section of Rails to Trails magazine’s Winter 2019 issue.
Oregon resident and TrailLink user dabiker loves riding trails around the Pacific Northwest, including his favorite, the 21-mile Springwater Corridor. This Hall of Fame rail-trail heads south from Portland, where he lives, tracing the Willamette River, and then travels east, threading along Johnson Creek through parks and wetlands to its end in the town of Boring. Dabiker says of the trail, “For much of the path, you feel like you’re out in the country when you are smack dab in the city. For some of the trail, as you are riding east, you are staring right at Mt. Hood and its snow-covered beauty.”
TrailLink user slipsoup hails from the Bronx and has shared dozens of photos from her East Coast trail adventures on the website, including a photo of the picturesque Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, which also graced the cover of our Rail-Trails: New Jersey & New York Guidebook. Her favorite rail-trail is Vermont’s Island Line Rail Trail. She says of this 13-mile Hall of Fame rail-trail, “The trail takes you across Lake Champlain on a narrow causeway. It is like you are riding on water, as beautiful mountains surround you. The trail ends in the city of Burlington, where you can eat, lodge and enjoy the culture.”
ToolBear is a gold-star TrailLink user, having submitted more than 1,900 photos to the website over the past decade. His favorite trail in the West is Idaho’s Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, as he says it offers “superb scenery, great trail facilities, microbreweries and a smooth blacktop for riding.” Plus, he likes to incorporate other nearby trails in the trip, such as the Route of the Hiawatha and the Centennial Trail in neighboring Washington. ToolBear loves that the trail gets him into the pine forests of the Rockies and says that his favorite part is along the river. The 73-mile Hall of Famer is also a key piece of the Great American Rail-Trail, taking the national route across Idaho’s scenic Panhandle.
Have trail photos to share of your own?
Simply go to TrailLink.com and click “Log In” in the top right corner of the homepage. (If you don’t have a TrailLink account, registration is free.) Use the keyword search to find the trail you’ve visited, then click the blue “Submit Photo” button on the trail’s detail page. Submitted photos are checked by an RTC staff member and typically published within one to two business days. If you need help, please contact the TrailLink team for support.