The 5.2-mile Peavine Trail begins just south of Watson Lake at the gravel parking lot by the lush Watson Woods Riparian Preserve (just off Prescott Lakes Parkway). The preserve is teeming with green along the crushed stone and dirt trail. Through the trees you may even hear the rush of Granite Creek after a bout of rain.
Opened in 1997 and now running 78 miles from Springfield southwest to the outskirts of Cincinnati, the paved Little Miami Scenic Trail is now one of the most recognizable and well-integrated rail-trails in the country.
Few pathways take more pride in upkeep and user experience than the 30-mile Pere Marquette Rail-Trail of Mid-Michigan, which runs from Midland to Clare. There's no pea under the mattress on this evenly paved trail, and visitors are always quick to point out what a pleasant ride the Pere Marquette provides.
Since Geoff Williams began working for Brown University in 2005, he pedals into downtown Providence, R.I., year-round on the 14-mile East Bay Bicycle Path (EBBP)—often stopping to snap photos on the way.
You'll find the eastern trailhead of the 44.8-mile Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad Regional Park in Arlington, smack in the middle of northern Virginia's vibrant scene and only a few miles from downtown D.C.
You won't find better exposure to these changes than on the 25.4-mile Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail, which carves through the Susan River Canyon between the communities of Susanville and Westwood.
Much is memorable about Wisconsin's 32-mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail, but visitors often leave especially chirpy about the pathway's three tunnels—and particularly the spontaneous chorus of singing and whistling that echoes through them on busy days.
Nearly 45 years ago, when the word "rail-trail" hadn't yet entered the American vocabulary, a naturalist in Chicago took note of a branching network of out-of-service tracks in the city's western suburbs.
Built in the 1970s along part of the original Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway corridor (later Northern Pacific and then Burlington Northern), the paved Burke-Gilman was among the first rail-trails and helped inspire dozens of similar projects around the country.