This New 4,000-Mile Trail Will Let You Bike From Coast to Coast
Forget the bike lane. Strap on your helmet and prepare to hit the open road… or, trail. An organization called the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has announced plans to create a cross-country, multi-use bike path that will stretch through 12...
Forget the bike lane. Strap on your helmet and prepare to hit the open road… or, trail. An organization called the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has announced plans to create a cross-country, multi-use bike path that will stretch through 12 states and Washington, DC for anyone looking for an ambitious cross-country adventure without being trapped in the car with their families.
The trail will be called The Great American Rail Trail, according to a report from Lonely Planet. It’ll cover about 4,000 miles of ground, starting in Washington, DC and ending in Washington state, according to a separate report. Several existing bike/hiking trails, including the Capital Crescent Trail, the Hennepin Canal Parkway, the Casper Rail Trail, and Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, will connect to RTC’s new cross-country path, allowing bikers and hikers to hop on from wherever, essentially.
Although the Great American Rail Trail is new, the idea was born roughly three decades ago. RTC spent more than a year researching 34,000 miles worth of pathways across the country, and teaming up with state agencies and local trail partners to bring this insane trail to fruition. Even after all that work, the Great American Rail Trail is far from complete. It’ll be years before you can actually put rubber to road and go the whole length.
Once it’s finished, the trail is expected to “serve more than 50 million people within 50 miles of the route.” In a statement on the RTC website, President Keith Laughlin revealed that only 50% of the work on the trail is complete. While it won’t be done in 2019, the RTC does plan to release full route information this spring. So, bike fanatics can start planning your adventure as soon as the details are available.
“The Great American Rail-Trail is a bold vision… The investment of time and resources necessary to complete this trail will be returned many times over as it takes its place among the country’s national treasures,” he said. “As we embark on the journey to complete the Great American Rail-Trail, we embark on the single greatest trail project in the history of the U.S.”
He added, “The Great American Rail-Trail is a legacy. A national treasure. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create -- together -- an enduring gift to the nation that will bring joy for generations to come.”
If you, for whatever reason, are eager to get on your bike and ride entirely too far, there are no shortage of trails in existence for you to push yourself to the limit in the meantime. You know, if that’s your thing. The rest of us will just be following along on Instagram.
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