The Act created a series of National trails "to promote the preservation of, public access to, travel within, and enjoyment and appreciation of the open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources of the Nation." Specifically, the Act authorized three types of trails: the National Scenic Trails, National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails. The 1968 Act also created two national scenic trails: the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest; and requested that an additional fourteen trail routes be studied for possible inclusion.
In 1978, as a result of the study of trails that were most significant for their historic associations, a fourth category of trail was added: the National Historic Trails. Since 1968, over forty trail routes have been studied for inclusion in the system. Of these studied trails, twenty-one have been established as part of the system. Today, the National Trails System consists of 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails and over 1,000 National Recreation Trail and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles (80,000 km). These National Trails are more than just for hiking, many are also open for horseback riding, mountain biking, camping and/or scenic driving.
As Congressionally established long-distance trails, each one is administered by a federal agency, either the Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, or National Park Service. Two of the trails are jointly administered by the BLM and the NPS. Occasionally, these agencies acquire lands to protect key sites, resources and viewsheds. More often than not, they work in partnership with the states, local units of government, land trusts and private landowners, to protect lands and structures along these trails, enabling them to be accessible to the public. National Recreation Trails and connecting-and-side trails do not require Congressional action, but are recognized by actions of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture. All of the National Trails are supported by private non-profit organizations that work with the various federal agencies under the Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS).
National Scenic Trails are established to provide access to spectacular natural beauty and to allow the pursuit of healthy outdoor recreation. The National Scenic Trail system provides access to the crest of the Appalachian Mountains in the east, on the Appalachian Trail, to the Rocky Mountains of the west on the Continental Divide Trail. These provide access to viewing the subtle beauties of the southern wetlands and Gulf Coast on the Florida Trail, wandering the North Woods from New York to North Dakota on the North Country Trail, or experiencing the vast diversity of landscapes of the southwest on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Of the eleven national scenic trails, Appalachian, Natchez Trace, and Potomac Heritage are official units of the NPS.
|Trail Name||Year Established||Length Authorized (miles)|
|North Country National Scenic Trail||1980||4,600|
|Continental Divide National Scenic Trail||1978||3,100|
|Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail||1968||2,650|
|Appalachian National Scenic Trail||1968||2,181|
|Florida National Scenic Trail||1983||1,300|
|Ice Age National Scenic Trail||1980||1,200|
|Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail||2009||1,200|
|Arizona National Scenic Trail||2009||807|
|Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail||1983||700|
|Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail||1983||695|
|New England National Scenic Trail||2009||220|
National Historic Trails are designated to protect the remains of significant overland or water routes to reflect the history of the nation. They represent the earliest travels across the continent on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail; the nation's struggle for independence on the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail; epic migrations on the Mormon & Oregon Trails and the development of continental commerce on the Santa Fe Trail. They also commemorate the forced displacement and hardships of the Native Americans, on the Trail of Tears. There are 19 Historic Trails. Most of them are scenic routes instead of non-motorized trails.
|Trail Name||Year Established||Length Authorized|
|Oregon National Historic Trail||1978||2,170 miles (3,490 km)|
|Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail||1978||1,300 miles (2,100 km)|
|Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail||1978||3,700 miles (6,000 km)|
|Iditarod National Historic Trail||1978||2,350 miles (3,780 km)|
|Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail||1980||275 miles (443 km)|
|Nez Perce National Historic Trail||1986||1,170 miles (1,880 km)|
|Santa Fe National Historic Trail||1987||1,203 miles (1,936 km)|
|Trail of Tears National Historic Trail||1987||2,200 miles (3,500 km)|
|Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail||1990||1,200 miles (1,900 km)|
|California Trail||1992||5,665 miles (9,117 km)|
|Pony Express National Historic Trail||1992||1,966 miles (3,164 km)|
|Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail||1996||54 miles (87 km)|
|El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail||2000||404 miles (650 km)|
|Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail||2000||175 miles (282 km)|
|Old Spanish National Historic Trail||2002||2,700 miles (4,300 km)|
|El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail||2004||2,580 miles (4,150 km)|
|Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail||2006||3,000 miles (4,800 km)|
|Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail||2008||290 miles (470 km)|
|Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail||2009||600 miles (970 km)|
|Total:||33,002 miles (53,112 km)|
The act also established a category of trails known as connecting and side trails. To date, only two national side trails have been designated, both in 1990: The Timms Hill Trail, which connects the Ice Age Trail to Wisconsin's highest point, Timms Hill, and the 86-mile Anvik Connector, which joins the Iditarod Trail to the village of Anvik, Alaska.
The first National Geologic Trail was established by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is a series of water routes in the United States extending approximately 3,000 miles (4,800 km) along the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary, and its tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and in the District of Columbia. The historic routes trace the 1607–1609 voyages of Captain John Smith to chart the land and waterways of the Chesapeake. Along with the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, it is one of two water trails designated as National Historic Trails.Delta Heritage Trail State Park
Delta Heritage Trail State Park is a 960-acre (390 ha) Arkansas state park in Arkansas, Desha, and Phillips counties, Arkansas in the United States. A rails to trails conversion planned along 73 miles (117 km) of abandoned Union Pacific right of way, the Delta Heritage Trail currently runs 14 miles (23 km) from Lexa to Barton. Acquisition of the abandoned corridor was aided by the National Trails System Act, and the beginnings of the trail through Delta lowlands was dedicated in 2002.Florida Trail
The Florida Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States. It currently runs 1,000 miles (1,600 km), with 300 miles (480 km) planned, from Big Cypress National Preserve (between Miami and Naples, Florida along the Tamiami Trail) to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach. Also known as the Florida National Scenic Trail (which applies only to its federally certified segments), the Florida Trail provides permanent non-motorized recreation opportunity for hiking and other compatible activities and is within an hour of most Floridians. The Florida National Scenic Trail is designated as a National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-543).
With its first blaze marked by members of the Florida Trail Association at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest, the Florida Trail began on October 29, 1966. The Florida Trail was officially designated as a National Scenic Trail in 1983. The U.S. Forest Service, through the National Forests in Florida program, is the official administrator of the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST), but trail development, maintenance, and management are a result of volunteers and land managers throughout the state.Gaylord Nelson Wilderness
The Gaylord Nelson Wilderness is a 35,000-acre (142 km2) wilderness area located within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, off the Bayfield Peninsula of northern Wisconsin. Of the twenty-two Apostle Islands, the wilderness area fully or partially covers eighteen.
Administered by the National Park Service, this wilderness area is the largest in Wisconsin. It was established in 2004 to preserve the current management practices of the national lakeshore, namely the prohibition of motorized travel on the wilderness islands. It is named for Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator and governor of Wisconsin, who was instrumental in establishing the National Trails System, the Wilderness Act, and Earth Day.Previously used for logging, farming, and mining during the early 20th century, the islands are returning to a primitive state; evidence of human habitation is still present, albeit mostly obscured by the regenerating forests. The islands' coastlines possess varied geology, where precambrian sandstone has eroded into sea caves, and the resulting sand has formed sandspits, cuspate forelands, tombolos, barrier spits, and beaches.
Ecologically, the islands contain some old growth, but primarily secondary Northern hardwood forest. There are elements of the oak, hickory, and hemlock hardwood forests of the eastern United States, but also features of the Boreal forest typical of Ontario. Larger wildlife on the islands and surrounding area include whitetail deer, black bear, red fox, and coyote. Smaller mammals such as squirrels, beaver, otter, snowshoe hare, and voles are also present. Avian species in the wilderness include waterfowl, ruffed grouse, and woodcock.
The Gaylord Nelson wilderness area provides opportunities for camping, hiking, sailing, kayaking, birdwatching, and fishing.Great Eastern Trail
The Great Eastern Trail is a north-south hiking route that runs roughly 1,600 miles (2,600 km) through the Appalachian Mountains west of the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States. As of 2019, it is still under development. From south to north, it runs from Flagg Mountain through Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, ending in western New York state. A connection from Flagg Mountain south to the Florida-Georgia border is considered "Phase II Development".It is a potential connector in the US National Trails System, linking the Florida National Scenic Trail in the south to the North Country National Scenic Trail in New York. In between, it would connect with and briefly overlap two other National Scenic Trails: the Appalachian Trail and the Potomac Heritage Trail.Many sections of the Great Eastern Trail are already hikeable for day use and backpackers. The longest continuously usable sections are on the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, and from Narrows, Virginia, northward through portions of Virginia, West Virginia, all of Maryland, all of Pennsylvania, to a junction with the Finger Lakes Trail carrying the North Country National Scenic Trail near South Bradford, New York.
The project enjoyed support from the American Hiking Society and the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the US National Park Service but then became an independent entity. The Great Eastern Trail Association was incorporated in Virginia on August 10, 2007, by signatories from the nine states through which the trail passes.On January 10, 2013, "Hillbilly" Bart Houck of Mullens, West Virginia, and Joanna "Someday" Swanson of Willow River, Minnesota, started hiking in Alabama and arrived in New York on June 18, 2013, becoming the first to complete a thru-hike of the Great Eastern Trail. In October 2016, Kathy Finch of New Hampshire became the first to complete a southbound thru-hike from New York state to Flagg Mountain, Alabama.Several other names were suggested and used earlier during the development of the trail, including the Western Appalachian Alternative. The northern terminus was once considered to overlay with North Country National Scenic Trail at Crown Point, New York, but was truncated to the NCNST junction in southwestern New York state.Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service
The Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) was an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which subsumed its functions from the National Park Service and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. It was created under the Carter administration by order of the Secretary of the Interior on January 25, 1978. HCRS, a non-land managing agency, was responsible for assuring the identification, protection, and beneficial use of important cultural, natural, and recreational American resources. HCRS offered grant assistance, technical information and guidance to those in the public and private sectors involved in conservation or recreation projects. Under the Reagan administration the HCRS was abolished by Secretarial Order 3060 on February 19, 1981, and absorbed into the National Park Service.During its brief tenure, HCRS revolutionized the integration of natural resource based planning and cultural and historic preservation. HCRS was involved with a number of important achievements during its relatively short existence including:
Publication of the Third Outdoor Recreation Plan (P.L. 88-29) in 1978 and its 1979 Nationwide Recreation Action Program;
Support for the passage and implementation of the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Act (P.L. 95-625);
Creation of a one million acre Pinelands National Reserve in New Jersey;
Support for addition of twenty-one units to the National Park System;
Support for enlargement of the National Wilderness System;
Addition of eight units to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System;
Tripling of mileage in the National Trails System (P.L. 95-625);
Acceleration of National Recreation trails designations;
Authorization of the use of abandoned highway lands for bikeway and recreation development through the 1978 Surface Transportation Assistance Act;
Launching the nationwide "rails to trails" program through authorization of an initial demonstration grant program to convert abandoned railroad rights-of-way to conservation and recreation purposes through the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act;
helping to justify Executive Action to set aside 120 million acres of outstanding natural, cultural and recreation resources in Alaska;
Preparation of the National Heritage Policy Act to establish a national heritage policy and provide a basis for a State-based partnership program to identify, select, and protect special natural areas and historic places;
Support for issuance of three Executive Orders which:
(a) protect Federal lands from degradation by off-road vehicles,
(b) ensure that Federal agencies protect natural, cultural, and recreation values of wetlands by minimizing their loss or degradation, &
(c) mandating access for the handicapped in all Federal or federally assisted programs and facilities through Federal agency guidelines issued by the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare;
Completion of the 1978 the National Urban Recreation Study, the first comprehensive assessment of the Nation's urban recreation problems and options for local, State and Federal action; &
Reducing paperwork and shortening project approval time for the States through new consolidated grant applications for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (P.L. 95-42), increasing its funding to $900 million for FY1978, and increasing public participation in the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan process.HCRS also played a major role in advocating for passage of legislation to protect the biodiversity and other natural resources found on Barrier Islands which passed the U.S. Congress in 1982 as the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (P.L. 97-348). These and other actions of HCRS were detailed in the Third Outdoor Recreation Plan transmitted to the Congress of the United States by President Jimmy Carter on December 11, 1979.
The Secretary of the Interior was Cecil D. Andrus and the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Robert L. Herbst. The senior management of HCRS during the period of 1977-1980 consisted of: Chris Therral Delaporte, Director; Meg Maguire, Deputy Director; and Paul C. Pritchard, Deputy Director.
During this agency's existence, a number of important publications and research on historic preservation issues were completed. Within the HCRS was a "Policy on Disposition of Human Remains" that was a standard for federal agencies within the Department of the Interior interested in studying bones and handling human remains.The policy was an early attempt at relieving tensions between Native Americans and the U.S. government. The HCRS called for the reburial of all remains that were in deliberate burials whose direct relation to modern relatives could be proven. Before the reburial, however, the U.S. government was permitted to study and document the remains.Kamiak Butte
Kamiak Butte County Park is located in Whitman County, Washington between the towns of Palouse and Pullman in Eastern Washington, near the border of Idaho. It is named after Chief Kamiakin of the Yakama tribe.
Most of the park's 298 acres (121 ha) consist of timberland on the northern slopes of Kamiak Butte. The mountain itself is an "island," consisting of Precambrian quartzite projecting approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) above the surrounding wheat fields. The reddish rocks once formed the bed of an ancient sea, and the grains of sand embedded in them can still be seen glittering in the sun. Later in its geological history, Kamiak Butte became part of a mountain range which was eventually nearly engulfed by the Cenozoic lava flows that covered most of Eastern Washington in a layer of basalt.
The region's intensive wheat and lentil farming has made Kamiak Butte an important haven for indigenous plant and animal species. 170 plant species, 130 bird species, and 30 mammal species have been observed inside the park.
For most visitors, the park's chief attraction is the Pine Ridge Trail, a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) loop which begins at a parking area and climbs through evergreen forestland to an exposed ridge. The trail continues along the ridge, affording views of the surrounding palouse country before dropping back into the forest. A short "summit spur" leads to the mountain's highest point - a rocky promontory on the west side with an elevation of 3,641 feet (1,110 m). Camping is available all year, except during periods of drought, when it is often prohibited due to fire danger. Interpretive programs are offered in the spring and summer months; other amenities include an amphitheater, picnic tables, outdoor grills, covered shelters, restrooms, and a playground.
For ham/amateur radio operators, two linked repeaters are near the top of the mountain. The frequencies are 146.74 MHz, with a 600 kHz negative offset (the 2 meter repeater), and 53.75 MHz, with a 1.7 MHz negative offset, and a PL Tone of 100 Hz (the 6 meter repeater). The repeaters are also part of Washington State's Evergreen Intertie, a statewide amateur radio repeater/emergency communications linking system.Kamiak Butte, together with Steptoe Butte, is a National Natural Landmark, and Pine Ridge Trail is listed as a National Recreation Trail within the National Trails System.Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. It is part of the National Trails System of the United States. It extends for some 3,700 miles (6,000 km) from Wood River, Illinois, to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon.
The trail is administered by the National Park Service, but sites along the trail are managed by federal land management agencies, state, local, tribal, and private organizations. The trail is not a hiking trail, but provides opportunities for hiking, boating and horseback riding at many locations along the route. The trail is the second longest of the 23 National Scenic and National Historic Trails. Beginning at the Camp Dubois recreation in Illinois, it passes through portions of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is approximately 4,900 miles long, extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the mouth of the Columbia River, near present day Astoria, Oregon. It follows the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the preparatory section from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois. The Trail connects 16 states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon) and many tribal lands. It is administered by the National Park Service.The 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act extended the Trail an additional 1,200 miles along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois.Mormon Trail
The Mormon Trail is the 1,300-mile (2,092 km) route that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled from 1846 to 1868. Today, the Mormon Trail is a part of the United States National Trails System, known as the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
The Mormon Trail extends from Nauvoo, Illinois, which was the principal settlement of the Latter Day Saints from 1839 to 1846, to Salt Lake City, Utah, which was settled by Brigham Young and his followers beginning in 1847. From Council Bluffs, Iowa to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, the trail follows much the same route as the Oregon Trail and the California Trail; these trails are collectively known as the Emigrant Trail.
The Mormon pioneer run began in 1846, when Young and his followers were driven from Nauvoo. After leaving, they aimed to establish a new home for the church in the Great Basin and crossed Iowa. Along their way, some were assigned to establish settlements and to plant and harvest crops for later emigrants. During the winter of 1846–47, the emigrants wintered in Iowa, other nearby states, and the unorganized territory that later became Nebraska, with the largest group residing in Winter Quarters, Nebraska. In the spring of 1847, Young led the vanguard company to the Salt Lake Valley, which was then outside the boundaries of the United States and later became Utah.
During the first few years, the emigrants were mostly former occupants of Nauvoo who were following Young to Utah. Later, the emigrants increasingly comprised converts from the British Isles and Europe.
The trail was used for more than 20 years, until the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Among the emigrants were the Mormon handcart pioneers of 1856–60. Two of the handcart companies, led by James G. Willie and Edward Martin, met disaster on the trail when they departed late and were caught by heavy snowstorms in Wyoming.National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.
As of 2018, the NPS employs approximately 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks.National Recreation Trail
National Recreation Trail (NRT) is a designation given to existing trails that contribute to health, conservation, and recreation goals in the United States. Over 1,148 trails in all 50 U.S. states, available for public use and ranging from less than a mile to 485 miles (781 km) in length, have been designated as NRTs on federal, state, municipal, and privately owned lands. Trails may be nominated for designation as NRTs each year. The NRT online database includes information on most designated trails. National Recreational Trails are part of the National Trails System.
Most NRTs are hiking trails, but a significant number are multi-use trails or bike paths. A few are water trails.The National Park Service (part of the United States Department of the Interior) and the United States Forest Service (part of the United States Department of Agriculture) jointly administer the National Recreation Trails Program with help from a number of other federal and nonprofit partners, notably American Trails, the lead nonprofit for developing and promoting NRTs.
The National Trails System Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-543) authorized creation of a national trail system composed of National Recreation Trails and National Scenic Trails. National Historic Trails were added in 1978. While National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails may only be designated by an act of Congress, National Recreation Trails may be designated by the Secretary of Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to recognize exemplary trails of local and regional significance in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization. Through designation, these trails are recognized as part of America's national system of trails.
The National Recreation Trail Program, an independent advocacy organization, supports designated NRTs with an array of benefits, including promotion, technical assistance, a newsletter, email alerts, and networking. Its goal is to promote the use and care of existing trails and stimulate the development of new trails to create a national network of trails and realize the vision of "Trails for All Americans." A state-by-state index provide photos and details on featured trails. The first-ever NRT Photo Contest was sponsored in 2003 by American Trails and is continuing each year. A Request for Proposals for art projects on National Recreation Trails was also undertaken.National Trail (disambiguation)
National Trail may refer to
one of the National Trails, long-distance hiking trails in England and Wales
a trail in the National Trails System in the United States
The National Trail, a multi-use trail in Australia
National Trail High School, Ohio, United States
National Trail Raceway, a dragstrip in Ohio, United StatesNez Perce National Historic Trail
The Nez Perce National Historic Trail follows the route taken by a large band of the Nez Perce Indian tribe in 1877 during their attempt to flee the U.S. Cavalry and get to Canada, to avoid being forced on to a reservation. The 1,170-mile (1,883 km) trail was created in 1986 as part of the National Trails System Act and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The trail traverses through portions of the U.S. states of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana and connects 38 separate sites across these four states that commemorate significant events that took place as the Nez Perce tried to escape capture by the U.S. Cavalry. The sites are part of the National Park Service's Nez Perce National Historical Park, managed overall by the National Park Service, with some sites managed by local and state affiliated organizations.North Country Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail, generally known as the North Country Trail or simply the N.C.T., is a footpath stretching approximately 4,600 miles (7,400 km) from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota in the United States. Passing through the seven states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, it is the longest of the eleven National Scenic Trails authorized by Congress. As of early 2019, 3,129 miles (5,036 km) of the trail is in place.The NCT is administered by the National Park Service, managed by federal, state, and local agencies, and built and maintained primarily by the volunteers of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) and its partners. The 28 chapters of the NCTA, its 3,200+ members and each affiliate organization have assumed responsibility for trail construction and maintenance of a specific section of the NCT.Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Pub.L. 111–11, H.R. 146) is a land management law passed in the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2009. The bill designates millions of acres in the US as protected and establishes a National Landscape Conservation System. It includes funding for programs, studies and other activities by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and in some cases bars further geothermal leasing, oil and gas leasing, and new mining patents on certain stretches of protected land.Oregon-California Trails Association
The Oregon-California Trails Association is an interdisciplinary organization based at Independence, Missouri, United States. OCTA is dedicated to the preservation and protection of overland emigrant trails and the emigrant experience.
OCTA Chapters work closely with National Trails System partners to help interpret and sustain the quality of outdoor recreation experiences along these trail corridors. For example, OCTA's guide to Mapping Emigrant Trails (MET Manual)  became the National Park Service's benchmark protocol for GPS-assisted topographical mapping along other historic and scenic trails.
Three major historical trails crossed America's western territories as wagon train routes to Santa Fe, Oregon, and California.
The Santa Fe Trail began in 1821 as a 900-mile (1,400 km) foreign trade route to New Mexico. It was unique in American History due to its overland commerce routes rather than seafaring transportation.
The 2,000-mile (3,200 km) Oregon Trail became more heavily traveled in 1843 by settlers wanting to establish new homes in the northwest.
Other pioneers forked off on the equally long and grueling California Trail to seek their fortunes in the gold fields.Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVHT) is part of the U.S. National Trails System, and N.C. State Trail System. It recognizes the Revolutionary War Overmountain Men, Patriots from what is now East Tennessee who crossed the Great Smoky Mountains and then fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail, officially designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and its northern terminus on the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,653 mi (4,270 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Its midpoint is near Chester, California (near Mt. Lassen), where the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges meet.It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, although it was not officially completed until 1993. The PCT was conceived by Clinton Churchill Clarke in 1932. It received official status under the National Trails System Act of 1968.
It is the westernmost and second longest component of the Triple Crown of Hiking and is part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop.Pony Express National Historic Trail
Pony Express National Historic Trail in the United States is the historic route of The Pony Express where men on horseback once carried the nation's mail across the country between 1860 and 1861. The horse-and-rider system became the United States' most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph, delivering mail in the unprecedented time of ten days.
The Pony Express National Historic Trail goes through a vast number of land jurisdictions, but includes substantial sections of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Today, one can auto-tour the route visiting interpretive sites and museums, or hike, bike, or horseback ride various trail segments. Sites open to public visitation along the trail include the Sand Mountain Recreation Area in Nevada; automobile access to a backcountry byway along the itself, Boyd Station and Simpson Springs Campground in Utah; and the Little Sandy Crossing in Wyoming. In total, approximately 120 historic sites along the trail may eventually be open to the public, including 50 stations or station ruins.
U.S. National Trails System
|National Geologic Trail|
|National Historic Trails|
|National Scenic Trails|
|National Water Trails|
|National Recreation Trails|