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The Great American Rail Trail | Travel + Leisure

The Great American Rail Trail, a coast-to-coast hiking trail, is in the works.  Hikers rejoice, it will soon be a reality!

Travel + Leisure ~ “The proposed Great American Rail Trail, a multi-use trail that will run across multiple states, has been in development for several years. Today, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) unveiled in a statement its preferred route for the trail, which will connect more than 125 existing trails and 90 trail gaps over 3,700 miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State.

Originally envisioned in the 1980s, the RTC has been conducting a route assessment for the last 12 months, analyzing more than 34,000 miles of multi-use trails across the country and working with more than 200 local partners and 50 state agencies to plan the route. The proposed preferred route is planned to be one continuous route (or over 80 percent continuous) and entirely off-street, made up of almost all existing trails.

‘When defining the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail, we sought a cross-country route that would provide the highest-quality experience while delivering significant economic and social benefits to the communities it connects,’ said Liz Thorstensen, vice president of trail development at RTC, in a statement.

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The trail itself runs through 12 states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington State, plus Washington D.C.

According to the RTC, nearly 50 million people living within 50 miles of the trail will be able to find new opportunities to explore the great outdoors once the trail is complete. The 3,700-mile trail will consist of 1,961 miles of existing trails and 1,782 miles of identified gaps (sections of trail in need of development to fully connect the Great American into one single route). These trail gaps also pose more opportunities for connecting trails in the future. From the sound of it, it’s sure to blow some of the best trails in the U.S. straight out of the water once complete.” ~ Travel + Leisure

While it will be several years before it is complete, it’s currently more than halfway finished.  Click the link below to learn more.

**Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel, we encourage people to always plan trips in accordance with the guidance provided by government and health officials.

great american rail trail

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