The American Discovery Trail is a system of recreational trails and roads which collectively form a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the mid-tier of the United States. Horses can also be ridden on most of this trail. It starts on the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and ends on the northern California coast on the Pacific Ocean. The trail has northern and southern alternates for part of its distance, passing through Chicago and St Louis respectively. The total length of the trail including both the north and south routes is 6,800 miles (10,900 km). The northern route covers 4,834 miles (7,780 km) with the southern route covering 5,057 miles (8,138 km). It is the only non-motorized coast-to-coast trail.
Joyce and Pete Cottrell, of Whitefield, New Hampshire, were the first to backpack the entire official route of the American Discovery Trail. They hiked the segments out of sequence over two calendar years, finishing in 2003.
The first person to backpack the entire 6,800 miles (including both Northern and Southern sections) in one continuous hike was Mike "Lion King" Daniel. He started from Cape Henlopen State Park on June 17, 2007, and ended at Point Reyes, California on November 5, 2008.
The first person cover the entire equestrian route on horseback was Matt Parker. He undertook the journey between May 2003 and November 2005.
The following notable locations are found along or adjacent to the route of the American Discovery Trail. They are listed from east to west to correspond with the itinerary typically followed by thru-hikers to take advantage of the best seasonal weather conditions.
Baltimore ( BAL-di-MOR (local)) is the largest city in the state of Maryland within the United States. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. With a population of 602,495 in 2018, Baltimore is the largest such independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.802 million, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2018 population of 9,797,063.Baltimore is also the second-largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic. The city's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States. In addition, Baltimore was a major manufacturing center. After a decline in major manufacturing, heavy industry, and restructuring of the rail industry, Baltimore has shifted to a service-oriented economy. Johns Hopkins Hospital (founded 1889) and Johns Hopkins University (founded 1876) are the city's top two employers.With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed a "city of neighborhoods." Famous residents have included writers Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, Ogden Nash, and H. L. Mencken; jazz musician James "Eubie" Blake; singer Billie Holiday; actor and filmmakers John Waters and Barry Levinson; and baseball player Babe Ruth. During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Baltimore after the bombardment of Fort McHenry. His poem was set to music and popularized as a song; in 1931 it was designated as the American national anthem.Baltimore has more public statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the country, and is home to some of the earliest National Register Historic Districts in the nation, including Fell's Point, Federal Hill, and Mount Vernon. These were added to the National Register between 1969 and 1971, soon after historic preservation legislation was passed. Nearly one third of the city's buildings (over 65,000) are designated as historic in the National Register, which is more than any other U.S. city.
The Katy Trail State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Missouri that contains the Katy Trail, a recreational rail trail that runs 240 miles (390 km) in the right-of-way of the former Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. Running largely along the northern bank of the Missouri River, it is the country's longest rails-to-trails trail. The trail is open for use by hikers, joggers, and cyclists year-round, from sunrise to sunset. Its hard, flat surface is of "limestone pug" (crushed limestone).
The nickname "Katy" comes from the phonetic pronunciation of 'KT' in the railroad's abbreviated name, MKT. Sections of the Katy are also part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail.
The Kokopelli's Trail is a 142-mile (229 km) multi-use trail in the Western U.S. states of Colorado and Utah. The trail was named in honor of its mythic muse, Kokopelli. The trail was created by the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (NFS) in 1989.
The North Bend Rail Trail is a 72-mile (116 km) rail trail in north-central and western West Virginia in the United States. It is operated by West Virginia State Parks and is part of the American Discovery Trail.Running parallel to U.S. Route 50, the rail trail extends from the community of Wolf Summit west of Clarksburg at its eastern end to I-77 near Parkersburg at its western end, passing through Harrison, Doddridge, Ritchie and Wood Counties and the towns of Salem, West Union, Pennsboro, Ellenboro and Cairo, as well as North Bend State Park and numerous unincorporated communities.
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