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.