Lonely Planet Writer

Start planning your bike ride across the US with this new trail plan

If you’re looking for a new cycling challenge, a pretty impressive one has been revealed that will help bikers to experience the diversity of the American landscape across 12 states. The Rails-to-Trails Conversancy (RTC) recently announced its vision for a bike trail called the Great American Rail-Trail, which will connect nearly 4000 miles of rail-trail and other multi-use trails. These will form a path across the country from coast to coast, moving west from its starting point in Washington, DC.

A coast-to-coast bike trail is coming to the US. Image: Jordan Siemens

RTC has spent more than 18 months of analysis and collaboration with local trail partners and state agencies to create the plan, including analysing which of over 34,000 miles of nationwide trails would be the most suitable. RTC says that the trail will take years to complete, and on the planned route, bikers will be separated from vehicle traffic. While the full route for the trail won’t be released until spring 2019, the 12 gateway trails have been revealed that will make the whole project possible.

The Great American Rail-Trail will connect nearly 4000 miles of rail-trail and other multi-use trails. Image by GettyImages/REDA&CO / Contributor

“At RTC, we’ve known the potential of a coast-to-coast rail-trail for decades,” says RTC president, Keith Laughlin. “But before we committed to bringing this vision to life, we wanted to be certain it was viable. With open trails comprising more than 50% of the potential route, combined with strong local and state enthusiasm, we are now confident that the Great American Rail-Trail can be completed. RTC is ready to lead the effort to connect the trail across communities, counties and state lines to create a seamless off-road biking and walking journey for the country.”

Bikers will be separated from vehicle traffic on the new trail. Image: Buena Vista Images

For more details about the Great American Rail-Trail, visit here.