Home » Rail-Trail History

Rail-Trail History: Preserving America’s Railroad Legacy

Explore the railroad history of America’s best rail-trails

Lehigh Valley Trail History

NEW YORK
16.4 miles
{{bodyImage1}} The Lehigh Valley’s (LV) extension into Buffalo began in 1889, when founder Asa Packer became frustrated with the trackage rights agreement into Buffalo over the Erie Railroad. At this time the LV reached as far west as Geneva ...

High Line History

NEW YORK
1.5 miles
The High Line recreational corridor has a fascinating history of the days when it once ran freight trains. The route was built by the New York Central System in conjunction with New York City to alleviate accidents along Manhattan’s West Side. ...

Jamaica North Trail History

NEBRASKA
7.9 miles
Both the Homestead Trail and Jamaica Trail, running south of Lincoln, Nebraska, use nearly 50 miles of a former Union Pacific (UP) branch line. The history of this corridor traces back to the late 1870s, constructed by a UP subsidiary as a means ...

Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail History

CALIFORNIA
25.4 miles
The Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail provides recreationists incredible scenic views of northern California. Along the corridor you will see former timberlands, cross numerous bridges and tunnels, travel along the Susan River, and pass ...

West Fork Trail History

WEST VIRGINIA
22 miles
The West Fork Trail is a rural recreational corridor located in the eastern Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Its name comes from the body of water it follows, the West Fork of the Greenbrier River, while the right-of-way it follows was ...

Sacramento River Trail History

CALIFORNIA
12.27 miles
The Sacramento River Trail provides a chance to enjoy the incredible scenery afforded along Northern California’s Sacramento River near Redding. The corridor’s history can be traced back to a subsidiary of the Central Pacific (CP), which helped ...

Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail History

FLORIDA
20.5 miles
The current Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail was not only the first such recreational trail opened by the state during the 1980s, but it is also one of the oldest railroad corridors ever put into service. The route traces ...

Air Line State Park Trail History

CONNECTICUT
52.6 miles
The Air Line State Park Trail gets its name from the term once used to describe some railroads that conveyed the straightest practical means of connecting to points, or an “air line.” Nearly all such projects failed, since the idea of building ...

Farmington Canal Heritage Trail History

CONNECTICUT
40 miles
The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is one of the largest recreational corridors in Connecticut, running nearly the state’s entire length north of New Haven. It uses a former branch of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (New Haven, ...

Hop River State Park Trail History

CONNECTICUT
20 miles
The Hop River State Park Trail follows more than 18 miles of former New York, New Haven & Hartford (NYNH&H) right-of-way in central Connecticut between Hartford and Willimantic. Unfortunately, while the New Haven was one of New England’s most ...

Junction & Breakwater Trail History

DELAWARE
6.4 miles
The Junction & Breakwater Rail Trail is named after the railroad that originally constructed the right-of-way between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach during the 19th century: the Junction & Breakwater Railroad. In the following years, the system became ...

Galloping Goose Trail (CO) History

COLORADO
20 miles
The Galloping Goose Trail is named after an interesting contraption once used for passenger service by the Rio Grande Southern (RGS), the railroad which originally built and operated the right-of-way. This system was conceived during the height ...

Mineral Belt Trail History

COLORADO
11.6 miles
Today’s Mineral Belt Trail provides a glimpse of Leadville’s once prominent stature as a major mining community; its route is made up of former railroad rights-of-way belonging to the three major systems that served the region, including the ...

McQueen's Island Trail History

GEORGIA
5.6 miles
The McQueens Island Historic Trail offers beautiful seaside and marsh views of coastal Georgia. Located east of Savannah, this recreational corridor hugs the banks of the Savannah River much of the way toward the coast, following the former ...

Wabash Trace Nature Trail History

IOWA
63 miles
The Wabash Trace Nature Trail follows a former section of the fabled Wabash Railway’s main line to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The route was originally constructed by a predecessor system during the 1870s, which was later folded into the Wabash that ...

Great Western Trail (IA) History

IOWA
16.5 miles
One of the best remembered granger railroads of the Midwest was the Chicago Great Western Railway (CGW), whose tagline was the “Corn Belt Route.” A granger railroad was one that derived a significant portion of revenue by moving agricultural ...

Raccoon River Valley Trail History

IOWA
88.1 miles
The Raccoon River Valley Trail has a rich history with railroads since it used two different former corridors running northwest of Des Moines, Iowa. The first section, opened to the public in the late 1980s, uses what was once owned by the classic ...

Withlacoochee State Trail History

FLORIDA
46 miles
Today’s Withlacoochee State Trail runs along more than 40 miles of what once was an important corridor belonging to the Atlantic Coast Line. The ACL, or Coast Line as it was also known, operated a vast system stretching several thousand miles ...

Boise River Greenbelt History

IDAHO
46.1 miles
A segment of today’s Boise River Greenbelt follows a former railroad right-of-way that belonged to the Union Pacific. This large, Class I railroad is still in business and currently operates more than 32,000 route-miles serving almost every ...

Route of the Hiawatha History

IDAHO
15 miles
The Route of the Hiawatha provides recreationists the unique ability to experience the Bitterroot Mountains through northern Idaho and western Montana from the relaxation of a gentle rail bed that extends roughly 15 miles through Shoshone County, ...

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes History

IDAHO
69.1 miles
The history of the route that is now a part of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is both fascinating and a bit confusing. Just after the Civil War, gold and silver were discovered in Idaho’s Northern Panhandle, leading to an explosion of folks ...

Fox River Trail (IL) History

ILLINOIS
43 miles
The Fox River Trail in Illinois used most of the former Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Company’s (AE&FRE) right-of-way, running along the Fox River between Aurora and Elgin. For many years this interurban was closely aligned with—and later ...

Jane Addams Trail History

ILLINOIS
14.8 miles
Today’s Jane Addams Trail spans nearly 15 miles, following the former Illinois Central’s (IC) branch to the state capital of Wisconsin at Madison. Coincidentally, this line and one other would constitute the railroad’s only reach into the Badger ...

Sam Vadalabene Great River Road Bike Trail History

ILLINOIS
20.4 miles
The Sam Vadalabene Great River Road Trail uses a 20-mile section of the former Illinois Terminal (IT), which hugs the shores of the Mississippi River between Alton and Grafton, Illinois. The IT grew into one of the largest and most successful ...

Nickel Plate Trail History

INDIANA
35.4 miles
The Nickel Plate Trail is named after the railroad that previously owned the corridor known as the Nickel Plate Road. Its official name was the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, and it grew into one of the Midwest’s largest, stretching ...

Prairie Spirit Trail State Park History

KANSAS
51.3 miles
Today’s Prairie Spirit Trail follows part of a former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF, a.k.a., the Santa Fe) branch line between Ottawa and Iola, Kansas. The history of this route dates back to before the Civil War, although several ...

Tammany Trace History

LOUISIANA
27.5 miles
The Tammany Trace trail is located along the northern banks of Lake Pontchartrain, running west of Slidell, passing through Mandeville where it turns north to Abita Springs and then heads west again to end in Covington. The old rail grade follows ...

Cape Cod Rail Trail History

MASSACHUSETTS
21.9 miles
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is located on Massachusetts’ beautiful Cape Cod, using a section of what was once the easternmost extension of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The line was originally built just after the Civil War by a New ...

Nashua River Rail Trail History

MASSACHUSETTS,NEW HAMPSHIRE
12.3 miles
The Boston & Maine (B&M) was one of the New England’s largest and most expansive systems, with a network stretching across much of the region. Generally speaking, its routes radiated from Boston, and when shown on a map looked like giant tentacles ...

Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Francis P. Ryan Section) History

MASSACHUSETTS
4.9 miles
The Norwottuck Rail-Trail comprises two different sections of rights-of-way originally owned by two railroads. The segment east of Northampton (known as the Mass Central Section) is roughly 10 miles, and for many years was owned by the Boston ...

Norwottuck Rail-Trail (Mass Central Section) History

MASSACHUSETTS
10 miles
The Norwottuck Rail-Trail comprises two different sections of rights-of-way originally owned by two railroads. The segment east of Northampton (known as the Mass Central Section) is roughly 10 miles, and for many years was owned by the Boston ...

Baltimore and Annapolis Trail History

MARYLAND
13 miles
The Baltimore and Annapolis Trail is named after the railroad that previously operated the corridor. The right-of-way carries an interesting history that traces back to the 1880s as a standard, steam-powered line running between both cities. ...

Capital Crescent Trail History

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,MARYLAND
11 miles
The Capital Crescent Trail is located primarily in western Washington, D.C., and uses the right-of-way of the entire former Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.  While this line became one of the shortest on the B&O’s vast system, ...

Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail History

MARYLAND
19.5 miles
The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail follows about 20 miles of a once-important Pennsylvania Railroad route between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland. The line’s history can be traced back to the earliest years of the industry when ...

Western Maryland Rail Trail History

MARYLAND
22 miles
The Western Maryland Rail Trail covers about 20 miles of the Western Maryland Railway’s (WM) former main line through its home state west of Hagerstown. The WM was once an important carrier to the regions it served, with a history dating back ...

Kennebec Valley Trail History

MAINE
14.6 miles
The state of Maine has a rich heritage with railroads thanks to its thick forests and fertile soils, which created the need to move timber and agricultural products. What is today the Kennebec Valley Trail is situated on a former railroad corridor ...

Saint John Valley Heritage Trail History

MAINE
17 miles
The Saint John Valley Heritage Trail is a newer recreational corridor established in 2000 along a section of the old Bangor & Aroostook Railroad in the northern reaches of Maine. For more than a century this system (also referred as the “BAR”) ...

Betsie Valley Trail History

MICHIGAN
22.1 miles
Today’s Betsie Valley Trail lies along the northern-most section of the legendary Ann Arbor Railroad (AA), roughly 22 miles long, and is one of Michigan’s most well-known lines. The company, affectionately referred to as the “Annie,” was created ...

Kal-Haven Trail Sesquicentennial State Park History

MICHIGAN
34.5 miles
Today’s Kal-Haven Trail offers stunning scenery through southwest Michigan, while the right-of-way provides a relatively flat and easy surface for hiking, jogging, or cycling. For many years, however, this corridor hosted rail traffic and was ...

Leelanau Trail History

MICHIGAN
16.3 miles
The Leelanau Trail is located near the banks of Lake Michigan along the upper reaches of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. During the corridor’s history, it served as the northernmost branch of the Manistee & North Eastern Railroad (M&NE), a short ...

North Central State Trail History

MICHIGAN
62 miles
Michigan is home to one of the highest concentrations of rail trails found anywhere in the country. The North Central State Trail is one of them, and as its name implies, the corridor is located in the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, running ...

Cannon Valley Trail History

MINNESOTA
19.7 miles
The Cannon Valley Trail runs nearly 20 miles along a segment of the former Chicago Great Western (CGW). The so-called “Corn Belt Route” was a classic “granger” railroad (that is, a Midwestern line that derived a significant proportion of revenue ...

Heartland State Trail History

MINNESOTA
49 miles
Today’s Heartland State Trail was originally a branch of the Great Northern Railway (GN), running between its main lines at Cass Lake and Sauk Centre. The corridor was constructed in stages during the 1880s and 1890s by predecessors, later formally ...

Mesabi Trail History

MINNESOTA
115 miles
The Mesabi Trail has grown into one of the country’s largest, single rail trails, covering more than 100 miles in northern Minnesota. The corridor winds its way between Grand Rapids and Aurora while passing through the state’s beautiful backcountry ...

Paul Bunyan State Trail History

MINNESOTA
119.3 miles
Appropriately named, the Paul Bunyan State Trail was originally built as a logging railroad during the late 1800s and later was a branch of the Northern Pacific Railway, which acquired the property in the early 20th century. Throughout most ...

Root River State Trail History

MINNESOTA
42 miles
Many years ago, long before today’s Root River State Trail was created, the right-of-way between Fountain and Houston, Minnesota, was once part of the massive Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad network (a.k.a., Milwaukee Road). ...

Frisco Highline Trail History

MISSOURI
36 miles
The Frisco Highline Trail is named after the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway’s former corridor between Kanas City and Springfield. This particular route was its secondary line between those two points, and at one time the railroad owned as many ...

Great Northern Historical Trail History

MONTANA
22 miles
The Great Northern Historical Trail is named after the railroad that once operated the right-of-way north of Somers, Montana. The Great Northern (GN) was one of the three major transcontinental systems that stretched from the Midwest to Puget ...

River's Edge Trail History

MONTANA
38 miles
The River’s Edge Trail extends northeasterly out of Great Falls running along the Missouri River the entire way. This recreational corridor is composed of former sections of the Milwaukee Road and Great Northern, two of the West’s most notable ...

Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail History

NEBRASKA
198.3 miles
Today’s Cowboy Trail spans much of the Chicago & North Western’s fabled “Cowboy Line” across central and western Nebraska. The entire route gave the C&NW access well into Wyoming, its farthest western reach. It was constructed by a predecessor ...

Longleaf Trace History

MISSISSIPPI
40.6 miles
Today’s Longleaf Trace spans a former Illinois Central line that was originally part of a rather large logging operation known as the Mississippi Central Railroad (MCRR). The history of this company dates back to the very early 20th century, ...

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail History

NEW JERSEY
69.5 miles
A section of the expansive Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park Trail uses the former rail grade of what was originally the Belvidere Delaware Railroad. What was dubbed the “Bel Del” dates back to its chartering during the 1830s, soon after the ...

Paulinskill Valley Trail History

NEW JERSEY
27 miles
The Paulinskill Valley Trail travels a former segment of the New York, Susquehanna & Western’s (NYS&W) main line to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, which was abandoned long ago. The railroad went by a number of different names over the years, from ...

Santa Fe Rail-Trail History

NEW MEXICO
17 miles
The Santa Fe Rail-Trail follows the still-active rail line between Lamy and Santa Fe. It was originally constructed by the legendary Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (AT&SF) in the late 19th century. Ironically, while Santa Fe was part of the company’s ...

Historic Railroad Trail History

NEVADA
3.7 miles
The Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail offers a 7-mile trek through the open desert southeast of Las Vegas. While such a landscape may sound bland and uninteresting, it actually offers magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding region, including ...

Catskill Scenic Trail History

NEW YORK
26 miles
One of the most scenic recreational corridors in the Northeast is the Catskill Mountain Trail, located within New York’s beautiful Catskill Mountains. This also held true when trains still plied the route between Kingston and Oneonta, and the ...

Cheshire Rail Trail (Cheshire Branch Rail Trail) History

NEW HAMPSHIRE
32.8 miles
The Cheshire Rail Trail follows the former grade of the Cheshire Railroad, an early carrier established during the 1840s. It completed the corridor later that decade, reaching as far west as Bellows Falls, Vermont, just across the Connecticut ...

Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail History

SOUTH CAROLINA
19.5 miles
The curiously named Swamp Rabbit Trail follows the former right-of-way of what was once the Greenville & Northern Railway, a short line running north from Greenville, South Carolina. The history of the G&N dates back to the late 19th century, ...

North County Trailway History

NEW YORK
22.1 miles
Today’s North County Trailway uses a fabled corridor that was once part of the massive New York Central System (NYC). The right-of-way’s roots trace back to the New York & Putnam Railroad, which itself was formed through a number of properties ...

Keuka Outlet Trail History

NEW YORK
7 miles
The short Keuka Outlet Trail, located in western New York State, was once a short branch of the New York Central System (NYC). The railroad dated to the late 1870s and at that time was known by another name. Soon after it was completed, the ...

Montour Trail History

PENNSYLVANIA
46 miles
The region around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is now home to a long laundry list of trail projects that use the rights-of-way of many rail lines that once served the Steel City years ago. One of these recreational corridors is the Montour Trail, ...

Ghost Town Trail History

PENNSYLVANIA
36.5 miles
The Ghost Town Trail primarily follows the meandering Black Lick Creek between Ebensburg and Black Lick, while also turning north from Vintondale along the creek’s North Branch for a few miles. These rights-of-way, the former owned by the Pennsylvania ...

D & L Trail - Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail History

PENNSYLVANIA
25.7 miles
Today’s popular D&L Trail covers 165 miles between Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and the Delaware River north of Pennsylvania. The section between Jim Thorpe and White Haven, which negotiates the beautiful Lehigh Gorge State Park, was once the ...

Schuylkill River Trail - Valley Forge to Philadelphia History

PENNSYLVANIA
27 miles
The Schuylkill River Trail is a series of recreational corridors running between Philadelphia and Pottstown, following its namesake waterway much of the way. The trail occupies a former railroad right-of-way originally owned by the mighty Pennsylvania ...

Pine Creek Rail Trail History

PENNSYLVANIA
62 miles
Railroads through Pennsylvania’s Pine Creek Gorge in the counties of Lycoming and Tioga had a history that could be traced as far back as the earliest days of the industry itself. However, the first true attempt to actually build a line through ...

Historic Battlefield Trail History

TEXAS
8.5 miles
The town of Brownsville, Texas, located near the Mexican border along the banks of the Rio Grande River, was once served by two major railroads. The Historic Battlefield Trail uses a short stretch of what was once the Texas & New Orleans, a ...

Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway History

TEXAS
64.2 miles
Located in the Northern Panhandle of Texas, the Caprock Canyons State Park Trailway is the region’s longest recreational corridor and uses more than 60 miles of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy’s (CB&Q) former right-of-way. This railroad was ...

East Bay Bike Path History

RHODE ISLAND
14 miles
The East Bay Bike Path has grown into a popular recreational corridor in southern Rhode Island between Providence and Bristol. The route’s history traces back to the New York, New Haven & Hartford (commonly referred to as the New Haven), one ...

Blackstone River Greenway (RI) History

RHODE ISLAND
11.8 miles
Except for a very short segment, the route used today by the Blackstone River Bikeway follows an active railroad line owned by the Providence & Worcester Railroad (P&W). The right-of-way dates back to before trains even ran in the United States, ...

Swamp Fox Passage (Palmetto Trail) History

SOUTH CAROLINA
42 miles
While perhaps somewhat surprising given the state’s location in the Southeast, and situated along the Atlantic Coast, South Carolina was once home to a wide range of logging railroads. Today’s Swamp Fox Passage/Palmetto Trail follows a segment ...

George S. Mickelson Trail History

SOUTH DAKOTA
109 miles
The George S. Mickelson Trail provides visitors with breathtaking views of South Dakota’s beautiful Black Hills. The corridor is more than 100 miles long and travels over the entire Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (the CB&Q, or simply, “the Burlington”) ...

Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail History

TENNESSEE
6.5 miles
The Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail runs along a 6.5-mile segment of the old Tennessee Central Railway between Ashland City and Cheatham Lake, along the banks of the river for which it is named. The TC is often overshadowed in its home state, ...

Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail History

VIRGINIA
32.7 miles
One of the more scenic rail trails in the Eastern United States is surely the Virginia Creeper Trail in southwestern Virginia. Within the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the corridor was first conceived during the late 19th century to haul ...

Blackwater Canyon Trail History

WEST VIRGINIA
10.5 miles
The Blackwater Canyon Trail follows one of the most picturesque former railroad grades ever constructed across the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Located in north-central West Virginia, the trail winds its way along the Blackwater River Canyon ...

Missisquoi Valley Rail-Trail History

VERMONT
26.1 miles
The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail spans the entire length of a branch line formerly owned by the Central Vermont Railway (CV). The CV was a rather small but classic New England railroad that ran from its home state through southern Connecticut. ...

Allegheny Highlands Trail History

WEST VIRGINIA
24.5 miles
 The “Wild Mary,” as the road was affectionately known, stretched through three different states, including Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, it was the last major railroad to be built toward the west from the East Coast, ...

Chase Trail History

ALASKA
14 miles
Although most of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail does follow a former railroad grade, for about a mile it follows the active Alaska Railroad (ARR) line south out of Anchorage. The ARR is Alaska’s primary freight carrier but provides service to ...

Greenbrier River Trail History

WEST VIRGINIA
77 miles
The Greenbrier River Trail is one of West Virginia’s premier recreation corridors, spanning nearly 80 miles along its namesake river in the eastern Appalachian Mountains. The pathway traces its history back to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, ...

North Bend Rail Trail History

WEST VIRGINIA
72 miles
One of West Virginia’s premier recreational corridors, the North Bend Rail Trail is located in the state’s north-central region and spans some 72 miles from just outside Clarksburg (at Wolf Summit) to Parkersburg along the banks of the Ohio ...

Chippewa River State Trail History

WISCONSIN
38.5 miles
The Chippewa River State Trail winds its way northward along the waterway for which it is named, running between Durand and Eau Claire along a former branch of the fabled Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (CMStP&P), better known as the ...

Elroy-Sparta State Trail History

WISCONSIN
32 miles
When what is now the Elroy-Sparta State Trail was in service as a rail line, the route between Elroy and Sparta, Wisconsin, was part of the Chicago & North Western Railway’s (C&NW) main line connecting Chicago with the Twin Cities/Dakotas. However, ...

Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park History

UTAH
28 miles
Today’s Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park was once a branch line operated by Union Pacific, our country’s largest current railroad, with a current system stretching more than 32,000 miles. This particular spur spanned fewer than 30 ...

Glacial Drumlin State Trail History

WISCONSIN
51.6 miles
The Glacial Drumlin State Trail features a section of the Chicago & North Western’s (C&NW) former main line between Milwaukee and Madison. This particular corridor was constructed during the C&NW’s expansion era of the late 19th century, a time ...

Bloomingdale Trail (The 606) History

ILLINOIS
2.7 miles
What is today Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, or “The 606,” was formerly a segment of the storied Milwaukee Road. Long known as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific, this railroad once stretched from the Midwest to Puget Sound but disappeared ...

Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail History

VIRGINIA
6.9 miles
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail is named after a bucolic short line established during the early 20th century to haul timber out of the region. It followed the Piney and Tye rivers and was located near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. ...

Military Ridge State Trail History

WISCONSIN
38.8 miles
The Military Ridge State Trail encompasses 45 miles of the former Chicago & North Western (C&NW) right-of-way between Madison and Dodgeville. This particular line was fairly typical of the numerous secondary branches the C&NW operated; however, ...

Mountain-Bay State Trail History

WISCONSIN
83.4 miles
The Mountain-Bay State Trail follows a former segment of a secondary Chicago & North Western (C&NW) line that ran west of Green Bay. As was the case with much of the C&NW’s later system, this particular route was acquired through a subsidiary, ...

Arkansas River Trail History

ARKANSAS
21.2 miles
A section of the current Arkansas River Trail runs alongside the active railroad grade of the short line, Little Rock & Western (LR&W), situated along the south bank of the waterway somewhat west of town. The history of this right-of-way dates ...

New River Trail State Park History

VIRGINIA
56 miles
Today’s popular New River Trail State Park is located within the beautiful valleys and mountains of southwestern Virginia and follows the banks of the New River much of the way. The corridor was originally built by the Norfolk & Western Railway ...

Medicine Bow Rail Trail History

WYOMING
21 miles
The immediate history of the Medicine Bow Rail Trail dates back to a former Union Pacific (UP) branch that diverged from its Overland Route main line at Laramie, Wyoming, and proceeded southwesterly into northcentral Colorado. However, the corridor ...

Mon River Trail South History

WEST VIRGINIA
17.7 miles
Both the north and South sections of today’s Mon River Trail, located near Morgantown, West Virginia, follow a former right-of-way once operated by the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), formerly an important railroad to the state’s northern communities. ...

Aroostook Valley Trail History

MAINE
28 miles
The Aroostook Valley Railroad (AVR) was a small short line located in the remote northern region of Maine, and the Aroostook Valley Trail is named for this former railroad, which uses virtually its entire right-of-way. The AVR operated for nearly ...

Astoria Riverwalk History

OREGON
6.4 miles
Today’s Astoria Riverwalk trail was created during the mid-1990s using primarily the former right-of-way of the Burlington Northern. The corridor runs along the waterfront of the Columbia River nearly its entire length, allowing for incredibly ...

Banks-Vernonia State Trail History

OREGON
22.7 miles
The Banks-Vernonia State Trail, named for the two towns it links, has an interesting history as a railroad corridor. During its earliest years, the property was part of an interurban network known as the United Railways (UR), which attempted ...

Burke-Gilman Trail History

WASHINGTON
18.8 miles
Today’s Burke-Gilman Trail follows a former right-of-way of one of Seattle’s first railroads: the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway (SLS&E). Because transcontinental lines building from the east were still struggling to reach Puget Sound, ...

Willapa Hills Trail History

WASHINGTON
56 miles
The Willapa Hills Trail uses the former corridor of the Northern Pacific Railway’s South Bend Branch, or Willapa Harbor Line, from Chehalis to South Bend along the banks of Willapa Bay. The branch was built during the late 19th century to serve ...

Chief Ladiga Trail History

ALABAMA
33 miles
What is today known as the Chief Ladiga Trail is named after a famous passenger train by the same name operated by the Seaboard Air Line (SAL), once one of the South’s largest railroads. The “Silver Comet,”which debuted on the SAL in the late ...

Genesee Valley Greenway History

NEW YORK
68.8 miles
Many years ago, before the creation of the Genesee Valley Greenway running between Black Creek and Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park, the corridor hosted trains of the large and powerful Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). The route once constituted ...

Illinois Prairie Path History

ILLINOIS
61 miles
The Illinois Prairie Path follows nearly the entire right-of-way of the former Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (CA&E), once a prominent and important interurban serving the western suburbs of the Windy City. The CA&E was affectionately known ...

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail History

ALASKA
11 miles
Although most of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail does follow a former railroad grade, for about a mile it follows the active Alaska Railroad (ARR) line south out of Anchorage. The ARR is Alaska’s primary freight carrier but provides service to ...

Katy Trail State Park History

MISSOURI
237.7 miles
If it seems like the Katy Trail State Park goes on and on, seemingly forever, you would not be far off in that assessment! The park is the largest unbroken rail trail corridor in the country, stretching nearly 240 miles across most of central ...

Little Miami Scenic Trail History

OHIO
73 miles
While you may not realize it, the popular Little Miami Scenic Trail maintains the same name as the railroad that originally built the corridor. The Little Miami Railroad (LMRR) was once one of Ohio’s first chartered lines and instrumental in ...

Richard Martin Trail History

ALABAMA
10.2 miles
The history of the Richard Martin Trail as a corridor for trains, located north of Athens, Alabama, can be traced back to the pre-Civil War days when a small railroad opened the route for service. After the war, the company merged with two others ...

Monon Trail History

INDIANA
19.7 miles
The Monon Trail follows more than 18 miles of the former Monon Railroad north of Indianapolis. Its complete name was the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railway, and it became fondly remembered in Indiana so much so, that its slogan was “The ...

Pere Marquette Rail-Trail History

MICHIGAN
30 miles
The Pere Marquette Rail-Trail offers the chance to hike a section of what was once Michigan’s largest independent railroad—the Pere Marquette Railway (PM). The trail runs between Midland (west of Bay City) and Baldwin and lies along the PM’s ...

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail History

NEW YORK
21.2 miles
The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail follows about two-thirds of a former railroad corridor originally built and operated as the Wallkill Valley Railroad (WV), first established directly after the Civil War. Any hopes of the WV to continue extending ...

Sussex Branch Trail History

NEW JERSEY
18 miles
The Sussex Branch Trail is named after the rail line by the same name that once ran between Branchville and Waterloo. This particular corridor began as a small, privately owned mining operation during the mid-19th century and was originally ...

Silver Comet Trail History

GEORGIA
61.5 miles
What is today known as the Silver Comet Trail, running from Smyrna, Georgia (just outside of Atlanta), to Esom Hill along the Alabama border, is named after a famous passenger train by the same name operated by the Seaboard Air Line (SAL), once ...

Snoqualmie Valley Trail History

WASHINGTON
31.5 miles
Today’s Snoqualmie Valley Trail uses more than half of what was once the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific’s Everett Branch (CMStP&P), once an important source of timber and related freight on the railroad. The CMStP&P was better known ...

Panhandle Trail History

PENNSYLVANIA,WEST VIRGINIA
29 miles
The Panhandle Trail uses a short segment of what was once a primary component of the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad’s (PRR) main line to St. Louis and secondary route to Chicago. The history of this corridor traces back to the mid-19th century ...

Deckers Creek Trail History

WEST VIRGINIA
19 miles
Morgantown, West Virginia, is home to three recreational trails that trace their histories back to former rail corridors, all once part of the historic Baltimore & Ohio. The Deckers Creek Trail extends southeast away from the city as it travels ...

Wood River Trails History

IDAHO
33.7 miles
Idaho’s Wood River Trails follows the northern periphery of what was once a railroad grade owned by the Union Pacific. The line skirted the banks of the Big Wood River much of the way. It was originally built in the early 1880s to serve the ...

Cedar Valley Nature Trail History

IOWA
67.8 miles
During the height of the interurban industry, the state of Iowa was home to the most mileage west of the Mississippi River, behind only Texas and California. This is interesting because most interurban roads were located in the eastern half ...

Tunnel Hill State Trail History

ILLINOIS
55.6 miles
The Tunnel Hill State Trail is named for the railroad tunnel in the small Illinois town where it is located. The corridor was originally built during the early 1870s by a predecessor system that eventually became part of the massive New York ...

Thermal Belt Rail-Trail History

NORTH CAROLINA
8 miles
The Thermal Belt Rail-Trail follows about 8 miles of a former Southern Railway line located in southwestern North Carolina. The history of the corridor dates back to a predecessor who constructed the route during the 1880s. However, financial ...

Great Allegheny Passage History

MARYLAND,PENNSYLVANIA
150 miles
The Great Allegheny Passage through Pennsylvania is primarily made up of two former railroad corridors stretching from McKeesport (just south of Pittsburgh) to Cumberland, Maryland, and spans more than 150 miles. The rights-of-way once belonged ...

Island Line Rail Trail History

VERMONT
14 miles
Long ago, the state of Vermont was once home to, and was served by, several different railroads. One of these was the Green Mountain State’s own Rutland, which once linked much of Vermont and its notable dairy industry. What is now known as ...

Mon River Trail North History

WEST VIRGINIA
6 miles
Both the north and South sections of today’s Mon River Trail, located near Morgantown, West Virginia, follow a former right-of-way once operated by the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), formerly an important railroad to the state’s northern communities. ...

John Wayne Pioneer Trail History

WASHINGTON
253 miles
The John Wayne Pioneer Trail is one of several rail trails created after the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (a.k.a., the “Milwaukee Road”) abandoned its Pacific Coast Extension in 1980. The trail uses much of the former rail ...

Olympic Discovery Trail - Spruce Railroad Trail History

WASHINGTON
19.6 miles
Railroads have not operated on Washington’s beautiful Olympic Peninsula since the mid-1980s, but today part of a former right-of-way is now a section of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Much of the history of this property can be traced back to ...

Wilderness Road Trail History

VIRGINIA
8.5 miles
The Wilderness Road Trail travels a segment of a former coal branch built and operated by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, one of the South’s best recognized systems. The L&N, also known by its slogan as “The Old Reliable,” competed against ...

Western Reserve Greenway History

OHIO
42.8 miles
The Western Reserve Greenway follows much of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s (PRR) former branch line, extending to the shores of Lake Erie at Ashtabula, Ohio. The route’s earliest history dates back to the mid-19th century, although delays in construction ...

Hockhocking Adena Bikeway History

OHIO
20.3 miles
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway offers relaxing and scenic views of southwestern Ohio, winding its way along the Hocking River and what remains of the Hocking Canal. Much of the trail uses a former branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, which ...

Northern Rail Trail History

NEW HAMPSHIRE
58 miles
The history of today’s Northern Rail Trail can be traced well back to the 19th century when the corridor was constructed by the Northern Railroad. This system was one of New Hampshire’s earliest behind such names the Nashua & Lowell and Nashua ...

Tanglefoot Trail History

MISSISSIPPI
43.6 miles
While the Tanglefoot Trail was only recently opened as a recreational corridor, the right-of-way dates back to the early 20th century when a small Mississippi railroad intended to connect the Gulf of Mexico with important northern cities. Eventually, ...

American Tobacco Trail History

NORTH CAROLINA
22.2 miles
The American Tobacco Trail is located on roughly half of the right-of-way of what was a branch once owned by the original Norfolk Southern Railway (NS). But the property predates even the NS, having been developed by a small railroad that hoped ...

Candy Mountain Express Bike Trail History

UTAH
16 miles
Trains were still plying the rails south of Richfield, Utah, along what is now the Candy Mountain Express Bike Trail until the early 1970s. The corridor was once the property of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), stretching as ...

Cardinal Greenway History

INDIANA
62 miles
The Cardinal Greenway in Indiana used more than 60 miles of what was once the Chesapeake & Ohio’s (C&O) main line to Chicago. The corridor was constructed by a predecessor company at the turn of the 20th century and was soon acquired by the ...

Homestead Trail History

NEBRASKA
40 miles
Both the Homestead Trail and Jamaica Trail, running south of Lincoln, Nebraska, use nearly 50 miles of a former Union Pacific (UP) branch line. The history of this corridor traces back to the late 1870s, constructed by a UP subsidiary as a means ...

Redbank Valley Rail Trail History

PENNSYLVANIA
50.6 miles
The Redbank Valley Rail Trail is located on former railroad right-of-way and follows Redbank Creek much of the way, extending to Sligo via Lawsonham. All of this property was long-owned by the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad, which tapped the region’s ...

Tobacco Heritage Trail History

VIRGINIA
22.1 miles
Once completed, the Tobacco Heritage Trail will offer a through-corridor across much of central Virginia following abandoned rail grades formerly owned by three of the state’s best remembered railroads. Beginning to the west, the trail will ...

Olympic Discovery Trail East - Port Townsend History

WASHINGTON
7.3 miles
Railroads have not operated on Washington’s beautiful Olympic Peninsula since the mid-1980s, but today part of a former right-of-way is now a section of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Much of the history of this property can be traced back to ...

High Bridge Trail History

VIRGINIA
32.4 miles
Today’s breathtaking High Bridge Trail runs along 32 miles of the former Norfolk & Western Railway (N&W) in central Virginia. Its signature feature is the nearly half-mile-long bridge that spans the Appomattox River, more than 100 feet below. ...

High Trestle Trail History

IOWA
25.6 miles
The history of the High Trestle Trail as a rail corridor dates to two different railroads: the popular trestle for which it is named was owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (CMStP&P, a.k.a., the Milwaukee Road), whose main line ...

Flint Hills Nature Trail History

KANSAS
117 miles
The Flint Hills Nature Trail is located on the former right-of-way of the Missouri Pacific in central Kansas. The MP, or “MoPac” as it was affectionately known, was a large Midwestern railroad that operated a formidable system from St. Louis ...

Ke Ala Hele Makalae History

HAWAII
7.3 miles
It may seem hard to believe, but the Hawaiian Islands were not only once home to one, but many railroads. Except for the Hawaii Consolidated Railway located on the Big Island, all of the chains’ railroads used narrow-gauge track and were constructed ...

Olympic Discovery Trail - Blyn to Elwha River History

WASHINGTON
34.7 miles
Railroads have not operated on Washington’s beautiful Olympic Peninsula since the mid-1980s, but today part of a former right-of-way is now a section of the Olympic Discovery Trail. Much of the history of this property can be traced back to ...

Sacramento River Rail Trail History

CALIFORNIA
11.1 miles
The Sacramento River Trail provides a chance to enjoy the incredible scenery afforded along Northern California’s Sacramento River near Redding. The corridor’s history can be traced back to a subsidiary of the Central Pacific (CP), which helped ...

Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Trail History

UTAH
23.5 miles
The aptly named Denver & Rio Grande Western Rail Trail spans the very western segment of the railroad for which it is named. Although the D&RGW was not a large system in terms of overall mileage, it pieced together a network of trackage across ...

Willard Munger State Trail (Hinckley-Duluth) History

MINNESOTA
70 miles
Today’s Willard Munger State Trail runs along a section of what was once the Northern Pacific Railway’s (NP) main line linking the Twin Cities with Duluth and following the St. Louis River much of the way. The history of the route dates back ...

Discovery Trail History

WASHINGTON
8.3 miles
The former railroad corridor that now makes up much of the Discovery Trail has not seen a train since the era of the Great Depression. However, it was nevertheless a fascinating operation that provided the Long Beach Peninsula with an important ...

Guild-Hardy Trail History

TENNESSEE
5 miles
The Guild-Hardy Trail has one of the more interesting histories of all recreational corridors converted from a former railroad grade. The right-of-way dates back to the 1880s, when the route’s express purpose was to handle passenger traffic ...