New 6,000km trail in the US will allow users to cycle across 12 states from coast to coast

The Great American Rail-Trail will span nearly 6000km when completed.

Andrew Koay | January 02, 2021, 01:23 PM

Here's something bound to add to the mounting wanderlust many are experiencing:

A new trail is being built in the United States that will allow users to traverse the country by bicycle.

According to the project's website, when complete The Great American Rail-Trail will span 3,700 miles (5,954km) and cross 12 states from the west coast to the east coast of the U.S.

Starting in Washington State and ending in Washington, DC, the Rail-Trail will connect more than 125 existing multi-use paths, greenways, trails, and towpaths reported the BBC.

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A post shared by Great American Rail-Trail (@greatamericanrailtrail)

It is being built mostly on top of or next to abandoned railway lines.

The trail is more than 50 per cent complete at the moment, and its finished form will see almost one in six Americans living within 50 miles (80km) of the route.

According to the BBC, who cited to David Burwell, co-founder of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) — the non-profit leading the trail's construction — users of the route will gain a deeper understanding of local communities and culture, while also discovering the little-known histories that make up the country's identity.

Revitalising small communities

A map of the Great American Rail-Trail Image from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Here's the full list of the states that the completed trail will travel across:

  • Washington
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland

Already, the trail is helping to revitalise economies in post-industrial towns connected to completed legs of the route; the BBC reported that burgeoning brewery scenes have popped up close to the trail.

RTC estimates the trail could generate as much as US$138 billion (S$182.3 billion) for communities that build campsites, eateries, and water and other adventure companies along the route.

The full trail is estimated to be completed before 2040.

Top image from Great American Rail-Trail Instagram page and by Andrew Squirrel via the Great American Rail-Trail Instagram page