Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is to non-motorized transportation what the national highway system is for cars.

From Coast-to-coast

United States

As one of America’s most important organizations, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy encourages everyone to experience the joys of walking, jogging or biking along its vast network of rail-trails and urban walk/bike trails.

More than 140 years ago Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying that “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people”. Today that statement could easily be rephrased to state that “the health of a nation lies in its people”.

Doctors and fitness experts routinely advise us that among the many ways to enjoy a stress-free, healthy and fit lifestyle is by maintaining a regular exercise regime. And what better way to engage in your favorite mode of non-motorized transportation than by going for a long walk, a jog or a bike ride on repurposed railway beds that stretch across some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery in America.

Contributing greatly to the cause of getting Americans to engage their limbs and not their cars is the decades old Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC). Founded in 1986 and accompanied today by their flagship initiatives, the Great American Rail-Trail™, TrailNation™ and TrailLink.com, RTC is helping to connect millions of people by rail-trail as well as through multiple urban settings and beyond.

PGE l Rails-to-Trails l Rail Bridge l Texas Panhandle
PGE l Rails-to-Trails l Rail Bridge l Texas Panhandle

A growing presence in urban communities

While the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy represents the origins of its history and mission, the organization has been diligently moving into urban areas under the TrailNation Initiative with the same goals in mind…getting people outdoors to enjoy their communities while interacting with their neighbors and supporting the many businesses that service these neighborhoods. Currently RTC is investing in eight unique projects, and growing, that will allow residents access to trails without having to drive to a rail-trail destination.

Less cars. More bikes. More healthy people.

PGE l Rails-to-Trails l Cowboy Trail l Nebraska
PGE l Rails-to-Trails l Cowboy Trail l Nebraska

An ambitious plan to get Americans on their feet and in their saddles

Another unique addition to the trio of Rails-to-Trails initiatives is the Great American Rail-Trail which is currently their most ambitious project. Dating back to 2017 when initial meetings began the ultimate goal of this initiative has been to connect more than 125 existing trails between Washington, DC and Washington State. When complete this vast network of trails will be as ambitious an accomplishment as the pioneering of America’s railbeds or the Interstate Highway system. Over 50% of the route is now complete and RTC is working tirelessly to realize the vision of 100% complete connectivity across multiple state lines.

Linking the country, one trail at a time.

PGECedarValleyNatureTrailIowa 1
PGE l Rails-to-Trails l Cedar Valley Nature Trail l Iowa

A helpful nationwide app making it easy to connect users with trails

Rounding out RTC’s portfolio of initiatives is a unique app called TrailLink. This app has been specifically developed to make it easy to find trails closest to users. The coverage is nationwide and can be dialed in by city or activity in their ever expanding network of over 40K miles of trails. The TrailLink app also offers access to offline maps making it a breeze to download any itinerary before you head out for your next adventure.

Stay connected. Stay healthy.

PGE l Rails-to-Trails l C & O Canal Towpath Trail
PGE l Rails-to-Trails l C & O Canal Towpath Trail

As our nation slowly emerges from the pandemic it is organizations like Rails-to-Trails that will continue to play an even more important role in the health of all of us. By fostering relationships between states, the federal government, communities and businesses, Rails-to-Trails is at the forefront of a much larger movement than could ever have been dreamed of back in 1986.

Railbeds were originally built to move people and goods across our great land. Today the thousands of miles of retired railbeds are still moving people…only now they are walking, jogging, biking and pushing strollers!

So lace up your shoes, tune-up your bike and pull up the TrailLink app to enjoy the results of what the great folks at Rails-to-Trails work so hard to bring to outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and stripes.