Head for the New Trails

Most of us who enjoy the outdoors have our favorite hiking trails but get great pleasure from finding new ones as well. Here are two terrific new trail systems that will have you reaching for your hiking boots or mountain bike, or maybe your snowshoes or cross-country skis.

The American Discovery Trail is the first coast-to-coast non-motorized recreation trail. It comprises 6,300 miles of continuous hiking, biking and equestrian trails, linking local and historic trails. It stretches from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware east to Cincinnati. From Cincinnati, it branches north through Chicago, Des Moines and Lincoln, and south through St. Louis and Kansas City, merging again in Denver. From there it continues westward, reaching the sea at Point Reyes, near San Francisco. Now we have an east-west trail system to join the great north-south trails: The Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast, extending from the Mexican to the Canadian borders, and the famous Appalachian Trail in the East. Learn about the American Discovery Trail.

Even if you’re not near any of these trail systems, chances are you will be near one of the over-1,000 rail-trails. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a non-profit group organized to turn abandoned rail lines into public trails for recreation and alternative-transportation purposes.

Each trail is identified as to its best potential uses: walking, mountain biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and/or fishing. Many are wheelchair accessible. Check out the trails.

Some of the gentle trails may be just the thing to motivate sedentary people to get moving. And some of the more adventurous among you may decide it’s a good time for a coast-to-coast trip, on foot! The public trails are for everyone. Enjoy them year-round.