Friday, December 2, 2022


New coast-to-coast trail lets you bike or walk across the U.S.


Forget RVing across the country – what about biking or walking cross-country? If that sounds like something you’d want to do, you’re in luck. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy began working on the Great American Rail-Trail™ in 2019. Once completed, the trail will stretch more than 3,700 miles from Washington, D.C. to the state of Washington. Now that’s one way to sightsee!

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is currently working to connect gaps on more than 125 existing trails in 12 states across the country. So far, they’ve secured more than 18 million dollars in funding. The Conservancy believes now is a critical time to be part of a project like this, with more and more people exercising outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trail is mostly built atop or near old railway lines, which account for more than 24,000 miles of multi-use trails in the U.S. The trail will be smooth asphalt in some parts, and gravel in others.

You can visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website here to learn more about the trail and follow along with its completion. Watch the video below to see the route (and some of the beautiful scenery along the way).

If you want to find beautiful biking trails to add to your bucket list, check out this Lonely Planet book, Epic Bike Rides of the Americas. And if you’re in the mood for a good biking story, 50 Shades of The USA: One woman’s 11,000-mile cycling adventure through every state of America is the one.


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Bill Braniff
6 months ago

It never fails to disappoint me, that Maine seems to never be in any equation. Weather maps, travel destinations, or cross country walking or biking trails?
Maine is one of the most beautiful States in the Union, but is rarely acknowledged as so. Enjoy your walk from DC to the Pacific, while you will miss the beauty of Maine.

1 year ago

“New coast-to-coast trail [lets] *might someday let* you bike or walk across the U.S.”

David carlson
1 year ago

I saw in the video that part of the route is the Hennepin canal that is IL is a 92 mile canal trail. we went in the fall and it was wonderful. They is a great campground (full hook up) that backs up to the canal and trail. We will go back to bike and kayak more. near Stave rock state park

Seann Fox
1 year ago

It’s a great idea and I wish them luck but when you look at the Canadian trans Canada trail that is over 20 years old and still not complete and you never hear anything more about it now…

6 months ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

That isn’t completely accurate. The trail extends for over 27,000 kms and goes from coast to coast to coast. It is very popular and, in my area, is well-signed and well-used. To say that “you never hear anything about it now….” is misleading as well. Really, who talks, in their daily lives, about any trail? The trail is there, it is maintained by individual communities and in each community, likely it is also referred to by a local name.

Bob Palin
1 year ago

There has been a cross country hiking/biking/equestrian route since 1990, The American Discovery Trail ( It’s not all off road yet but is more ‘complete’ than the new trail (which will be great when it is finished). The ADT goes from Delaware to Pt Reyes, California and is around 5,000 miles long.

1 year ago

The problem with Rails to Trails is that it ignores the fact that railway right of ways were usually taken from land owners by force, either violently or by eminent domain laws.
Within those censures were the language that if the railroad closed the railway that land would revert back to the landowners. That is Federal law. Now we have hikers (I have been a hiker/backpacker for decades) that think “oh, wouldn’t that be great to take something that doesn’t belong to them or to the public and again take that land away again and this time without a hint of compensation.
This country has had a long history of taking land away from the little guy by a larger entity for “ the greater good”. I for one am sick of it and in no support any kind of continuation of these practices.

Ron T.
1 year ago
Reply to  Cal

Historically speaking, and yes I am a degree-holding one, as the railroads expanded across the country they were given the mostly public lands they needed for right of way plus land on either side of that tract that they could sell to people or businesses that would in turn support the railroads as customers. Many cities only exists because of this process. Using eminent domain to further this economic engine of its day was relatively rarely needed as areas competed for the railroads to come to their location. Remember too if you get your land back you also get the expense of removing all the associated pollution that would have to be removed before reuse.

1 year ago
Reply to  Cal

Only the American Indians have a legitimate gripe about losing land.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

When I took my “Chicago to San Francisco” bicycle trip in 1979 I joined an organization called “Bikecentennial” which was set up in 1976 to help celebrate our country’s bicentennial. People from here and abroad came to ride their bikes in this celebration. I had route booklets and all sorts of information to keep me on track. What I quickly found was, people along this route were fed up with bicyclists (who had trashed the routes, and towns it went through). I saw signs reading “dogs and bicyclists keep off the grass). I quickly abandoned the Bikecentennial route and enjoyed the rest of my trip. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to this route.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Bikecentennial has expanded exponentially and is now Adventure Cycling. I have been on many of its routes since the days of Bikecentennial and never heard any compliants about bike tourists in thirty years.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael

I’m sure you’re right Michael. Keep in mind, MY experience was over 40 years ago, and fresh after the Bikecentennial (3 years to be exact). I was a member of an organization called “League of American Wheelmen”, which I’m sure is gone now (I just looked it up and read about all the changes and bankruptcies it went through and where it is now). Anyway, I applied to the “trip planning” section for my route planning and received a bunch of state road maps (remember those?) marked with my route. Some I followed and some I didn’t. Bottom line? I made it alive . . . 🙂

Andrew Fischer
1 year ago

The Rails to Trails Conservatory is a terrific organization and hope that anyone that uses their trails would contribute to this organization to help in maintaining and building biking and hiking pathways throughout our United States! Website-

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