Public health and safety is Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) top priority. This year, to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the trails community as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone all April 18th Opening Day for Trails events until further notice. We do hope that there is an opportunity to celebrate trails on Opening Day and we will share updates as soon as we have them. Please watch this space and follow @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the most up-to-date information.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) invites everyone across the country to help kick off the spring trail season on April 18, 2020—the nation’s eighth annual Opening Day for Trails (Opening Day) and a perfect opportunity to enjoy America’s vast system of trails.
For some inspiration, here are 20 ways to celebrate Opening Day in 2020 in your own neighborhood and beyond!
(Disclaimer: The rules of each trail differ by locality. Be sure to check the rules at your trail of choice—usually available online or at major trailheads—to confirm your activity is welcome!)
1Commit to Fitness!
Is a more active lifestyle on your to-do list? Make or renew your commitment to it on Opening Day! Trails help us reach our health goals by providing places to be physically active and offer active transportation options to get where we need to go by bike, foot or wheelchair.
2Paw the trail with your favorite furry friend.
Whether a horse, dog, adventure kitty or other type of path-friendly pet, celebrate Opening Day by hitting the trail with your buddy!
3Attend an official Opening Day event at a trail near you.
All across the country, local organizations and trail groups, including the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy team, will be hosting events. Find local Opening Day events on our website.
4Hold your own gathering. (It doesn’t have to be big!)
Invite a few buddies to join you in your favorite trail activity! With maps and reviews for more than 36,000 miles of multiuse trails—TrailLink.com is a great tool to help plan your route.
5Try a new seasonal trail activity.
Opening Day can be a great time to try a new activity on the trail! Ever hear of skijoring? What about playing a game of “I Spy”? Or tweet about the birds you see? Try it!
6Get to know the Great American Rail-Trail.
If you haven’t already met the Great American Rail-Trail—a 3,700-miles-plus trail route between Washington, D.C., and Washington State—Opening Day is a great time to get acquainted! Visit one of the 130+ existing trails hosting the route and share your #GRTAmerican experiences on social media.
Explore America’s most beautiful wildlife areas, preservation corridors, watersheds and geographic wonders on your favorite trails.
8Transport yourself—literally—to your desired destination.
Trails are critical resources for short trips, work commutes and longer regional excursions.
9Visit a charming trail town.
Trails can be amazing kick-starters for ma and pa shops, restaurants and small businesses. Why not take the opportunity to visit a tourist town hotspot?
10Volunteer your services to—or on—your local trail!
With Opening Day being so close to Earth Day, April 22, consider doing good for the outdoors by volunteering on the trail! You can attend a stewardship event on Opening Day, contact your trail manager about planning your own project or simply help pick up litter along the trail.
11Start a family day tradition on Opening Day (that lasts throughout the year).
Inspire a new trail tradition in your family … one that you can repeat throughout the year.
12Go on a trail date.
Need a fun (and wallet-friendly) date idea? Think trail! When you and your special someone are strolling hand in hand down your favorite trail, the perfect romantic scene is already set around you!
13Plan an overnight trail trip.
Turn Opening Day into an overnight outing along the trail! Whether you camp in a tent or spend the evening in an RV, you can celebrate trails during the day and dazzle at the stars from the trail at night.
14Picnic like a pro.
You know what pairs well with time on the trail? A delicious meal! Try combining the two by grabbing a blanket, basket and some sustenance for a trailside picnic.
If you’re hitting the trail on wheels—whether bike, skates, scooter or something else—it's handy to know how to tune up your ride. Learn about maintenance and common fixes on Opening Day so you can keep those wheels turning in the future.
16Make a splash!
Can you go by trail to a waterside destination? Or is there a water trail alongside a local land trail? Refresh your trail routine by trying a water-based activity such as paddling, tubing or fishing!
17Become an advocate.
If you love to use trails, become an advocate for them! Learn how you can speak out for the advancement of trails at the federal, state and local levels.
18Explore trails with tech.
Technology can enhance our trail time—from helping us find and learn more about the trails we visit, to hunting for hidden treasures via geocaching and discovering augmented worlds, or tracking our fitness progress and trip distances—but just remember to be safe and respectful when using it on the trail!
In many places, parks and trails go hand in hand. And whether you’ve been wanting to tour that national park, state park or neighborhood pocket park, there’s a good chance that a trail can help you explore. Plus, National Park Week starts on April 18, so entrance fees are all waived on Opening Day!
20Just get out and enjoy yourself!
The real beauty of trails is that they are for everyone, regardless of age or ability, and most of them are free to use. All you need to do to celebrate Opening Day is get outside and get on the trail. Let us know how you plan to celebrate Opening Day for Trails on social media using hashtag #RTCOpeningDay!