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|American Discovery Trail|
|Length||6800 mi (10944 km)|
|Trailheads|| Cape Henlopen, Delaware;|
Limantour Beach, California
|Use||Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking|
|Highest point||Argentine Pass, 13,207 ft (4,025 m)|
|Lowest point||California Delta between Isleton and Antioch, −17 ft (−5.2 m)|
|Trail difficulty||Easy to Strenuous|
|Sights||National Parks, National Forests|
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. 6,800 miles (10,944 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.The coastal trailheads are the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and 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
The trail passes through 14 national parks and 16 national forests and uses sections of or connects to five National Scenic Trails, 10 National Historic Trails, and 23 National Recreation Trails. For part of its distance, it is coincident with the North Country Trail, the Buckeye Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Colorado Trail.
The trail passes through the District of Columbia and the following 15 states:
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 hikers to complete the trail in one continuous walk were Marcia and Ken Powers, a wife and husband team from Pleasanton, California. Their trailwalk lasted from February 27 to October 15, 2005. They started out from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and ended at Point Reyes, California. They trailed 5,058 miles (8,140 km) by foot, averaging 22 miles (35 km) a day.
The first person to backpack the entire 6,800 miles (10,944 km) (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 to cover the entire equestrian route on horseback was Matt Parker. He undertook the journey between May 2003 and November 2005.
At Cedar Rapids, a mural was posted on Greene Square in 2019 to mark both the American Discovery Trail which passes through downtown and the Cedar Lake-Smokestack Bridge project.
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.
The following locations are found along or adjacent to the route of the American Discovery Trail. They are divided into categories within each state, organized by state from east to west.
National Millennium Trails are 16 short- and long-distance trails selected from 58 nominees as visionary trails that reflect defining aspects of America's history and culture. The trails were chosen on June 26, 1999, by the White House Millennium Council and announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater at the second international Trails and Greenways Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests is an administrative entity combining two U.S. National Forests into one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. The forests cover 1.8 million acres (7,300 km2) of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Approximately 1 million acres (4,000 km2) of the forest are remote and undeveloped and 139,461 acres (564 km2) have been designated as wilderness areas, which eliminates future development.
The Shasta–Trinity National Forests are federally designated forests in northern California, United States. Combined, they are the largest National Forest in California and are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2,210,485 acre combined-forest encompasses five wilderness areas, hundreds of mountain lakes and 6,278 miles (10,103 km) of streams and rivers. Major features include Shasta Lake, the largest man-made lake in California and Mount Shasta, elevation 14,179 feet (4,322 m).
The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) is a long-distance trail for hiking and backpacking, that traverses North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail's western endpoint is at Clingman's Dome, where it connects to the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its eastern endpoint is in Jockey's Ridge State Park on the tallest sand dune on the east coast. The trail is envisioned as a scenic backbone of an interconnected trail system spanning the state. As such, the trail's route attempts to connect as many trail systems and natural scenic areas as practicable. A little over half of the trail is complete in multiple segments across the state.
Iron Horse State Park, part of the Washington State Park System, is a 1,612-acre (7 km2) state park located in the Cascade Mountains and Yakima River Valley, between Cedar Falls on the west and the Columbia River on the east.
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 to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach. Also known as the Florida National Scenic Trail, 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.
The Red Buttes Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Klamath and Rogue River national forests in the U.S. states of Oregon and California. It comprises 19,940 acres (8,070 ha), approximately 16,190 acres (6,550 ha) of which is located in California, and 3,750 acres (1,520 ha) in Oregon. It was established by the California Wilderness Act of 1984 and the Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984.
The Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness is a wilderness area located on the northern side of Mount Hood in the northwestern Cascades of the U.S. state of Oregon, near the Columbia River Gorge and within Mount Hood National Forest. Prior to Wilderness designation it was known as the Columbia Gorge Recreation Area.
There are many diverse trails within Olympic National Park. These trails traverse many different biomes, allowing hikers to explore from the coast of the Pacific Ocean to the summit of Mount Olympus. The trails vary in length from less than a mile and a few minutes hike to many miles and multiple days. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail traverses the park from east to west, and has approximately 135 miles within its borders. The trails are divided into five separate areas, Staircase/Dosewallips Trails, Hurricane/Elwha Trails, Quinault/ Queets Trails, Hoh/Bogachiel/Sol Duc Trails, and Coastal Routes.
The Bay Circuit Trail and Greenway or Bay Circuit is a Massachusetts rail trail and greenway connecting the outlying suburbs of Boston from Plum Island in Newburyport to Kingston Bay in Duxbury, a distance of 200 miles (320 km).
Mountain Lake Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The wilderness area is located next to privately owned Mountain Lake, and consists of 8,314 acres (3,365 ha) in Virginia and 2,721 acres (1,101 ha) in West Virginia.
This is a list of notable long-distance trails in the United States, with a minimum length of 30 miles.
Devil's Den State Park is a 2,500-acre (1,000 ha) Arkansas state park in Washington County, near West Fork, Arkansas in the United States. The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, beginning in 1933. Devil's Den State Park is in the Lee Creek Valley in the Boston Mountains, which are the southwestern part of The Ozarks. The park, with an 8 acres (3.2 ha) CCC-built lake, is open for year-round recreation, with trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Devil's Den State Park also has several picnic areas, a swimming pool and cabins, with camping sites ranging from modern to primitive. Fossils of coral and crinoids can be found along the banks and within Lee Creek at Devil's Den State Park.
The Grand Portage State Forest is a state forest located near the community of Hovland in Cook County, in extreme northeastern Minnesota. The forest encloses Judge C. R. Magney State Park, Swamp River Wildlife Management Area, Hovland Woods Scientific and Natural Area, and Spring Beauty Hardwoods Scientific and Natural Area. It borders the Grand Portage Indian Reservation to the east, the Superior National Forest to the west, and Ontario to the north. The forest is named after the Grand Portage, a historic trade route between the Great Lakes and the Northwest.
The Nature Coast State Trail (NCST) is a 31.7-mile long segment of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails System built along abandoned railroad tracks, and designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Recreation Trail. It has two primary sections following unused rail lines that were originally built by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. It includes historic sites such as an old train trestle bridge over the Suwannee River near Old Town and train stations in Trenton, Cross City, and Chiefland. At Wilcox Junction abandoned rail tracks cross and connect with several communities. The trail is available to hikers, cyclists, and horse riders.
Minneapolis is often considered one of the top biking and walking cities in the United States due to its vast network of trails and dedicated pedestrian areas. In 2020, Walk Score rated Minneapolis as 13th highest among cities over 200,000 people. Some bicycling ratings list Minneapolis at the top of all United States cities, while others list Minneapolis in the top ten. There are over 80 miles (130 km) of paved, protected pathways in Minneapolis for use as transportation and recreation. The city's Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway parkway system accounts for the vast majority of the city's shared-use paths at approximately 50 miles (80 km) of dedicated biking and walking areas. By 2008, other city, county, and park board areas accounted for approximately 30 miles (48 km) of additional trails, for a city-wide total of approximately 80 miles (130 km) of protected pathways. The network of shared biking and walking paths continued to grow into the late 2010s with the additions of the Hiawatha LRT Trail gap remediation, Min Hi Line pilot projects, and Samatar Crossing. The city also features several natural-surface hiking trails, mountain-biking paths, groomed cross-country ski trails in winter, and other pedestrian walkways.
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