Trail is a movement sweeping the nation. There is a push to convert abandoned railroads into running, hiking, and biking paths. The Lamoille Valley Rail Route, the most recent railroad-turned-pedestrian trail in the state of Vermont (which already boasts the magnificent, water-bound Island Line Rail Trail), is now being completed.
William R. Steinhaus, New York’s Dutchess Rail Trail
The proposed rail route, which will be the longest in New England, would span almost the whole state of Vermont, from Swanton in the west to St. Johnsbury in the east. When built, it will be a continuous 93 kilometers, and spring completion anticipated. Nevertheless, the path is already a favorite among Vermonters. Only one section of the path, from Hardwick to Wolcott, is currently under development; the remainder is accessible to the general public. According to Jackie Cassino, the rail trails program manager for the Vermont Agency of Transportation, “it passes through and near many bustling municipalities, and it also goes through rural regions where trail users may get a genuine nature experience.”
The path links 18 villages and crosses numerous other state trails, including the 272-mile Long Trail that runs the whole length of the state, the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, and the VAST snowmobile trail network. Trail parking accessible throughout the whole length, making it simple to get on and off the trail. Those who want to finish the journey in one go may schedule lunches and overnight stays in nearby towns.
Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan State Trail
In addition to historical railroad structures and the Fisher Covered Bridge, one of the last railroad covered bridges remaining in service today, both one-day and multi-day tourists treated to a variety of activities and locations. Travelers may “truly disengage and get away from it all” and “perhaps even experience being the only person/group on a certain segment of the path,” according to driving directions Cassino.
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail will be accessible to all forms of non-motorized travel throughout the whole year. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers, winter runners, and fat-tire cyclists may all be seen on the path after a significant snowfall. The wheelchair-accessible path has mild gradients, a 10-foot-wide hard crushed stone surface, and two-foot grass shoulders. Snowmobilers, horseback riders, and dog sledders are the only permitted motorized users.
American recreation is steadily changing as a result of rail trails. Corridors and railroads that were previously deserted and overgrown are now used by people to run, cycle, and stroll. From Virginia to Utah, this revival of unused outdoor space is happening throughout the nation, and it’s still picking up speed.
Washington’s Olympic Discovery Trail
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a group that promotes trails, estimates that trail usage increased by 45% between 2019 and 2022. The conservancy is speeding up the construction of its flagship project, the Great American Rail-Trail, which will eventually connect 3,700 miles of multi-use trails between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. This done to keep up with the growing number of people who want to access trails and spend time outside.
Now that there has been a consistent need for trails for a number of years, it obvious that this a trend and that this infrastructure is crucial to people all throughout the United States. The research director at the conservancy, Torsha Bhattacharya, said in a news release dated December 21, 2022, “These continuously high levels of trail usage emphasize how crucial this infrastructure is to our physical and mental health—as well as the well-being of our communities.
Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan State Trail
In addition, We’ve included a few trails you may take right now while we wait for the Great American Rail-Trail, which already more than half finished. These rail routes, which range from the completely paved Paul Bunyan State Trail in Minnesota to the waterfront Island Line Rail Trail in Vermont, some of the greatest in the country.
With the passage of the 1.28-mile Walkway Over the Hudson pedestrian bridge, this path comes to an incredible conclusion (which itself linked to a regional network of trails). However, you must first travel through the towns of Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Wappinger, and East Fishkill as well as several streams and canals before arriving to the trail’s magnificent finish. Starting at the Hopewell Depot Trailhead, this 13.4-mile long continuous paved rail path links to a number of additional trails, including the Morgan Lake Trailhead.
Maryland to Pennsylvania’s Great Allegheny Passage
This path offers a close-up view of the Olympic Peninsula’s mossy terrain and rocky shoreline. From the Victorian seaside town of Port Townsend to the Pacific Ocean, you’ll journey along the route’s 90 completed miles (it will ultimately be 135 miles). You may anticipate seeing very verdant valleys, vivid blue alpine lakes, and snow-capped summits along the journey.
The Great Allegheny Passage, which goes 150 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cumberland, Maryland, has a lot of ground to cover. The route travels through a variety of settings along the way, giving visitors access to places like Point State Park and Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece “Fallingwater,” which built to blend in with the lush surrounding environment.