National Millennium Trails are the 16 long distance trails, that represent defining aspects of Americas history and Culture. These Millennium 16 were chosen out of 58 nominees as true visionary trails of the United States.
The National Millennium Trails were selected on June 26th, 1999 before the new Millennium (Hence the name). They were announced by Rodney Slater the U.S. Transportation Secretary at the 2nd international Trails and Greenways Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.
Former First Lady Hillary Clinton stated:
“Through the Millennium Trails project, we are building and maintaining trails that tell the story of our nation’s past and will help to create a positive vision for our future. The 16 National Millennium Trails that [the Secretary of Transportation] designated today are all visionary projects that define us as Americans.”
Epic stuff and that makes these trails a uniquely defining part of the United States.
1. The Indian Trading Path (Unicoi Turnpike) – 68.8 miles (110.7 km)
National Millennium Trail: From Murphy, North Carolina west to Vonore, Tennessee exploring the historic Cherokee Trail of Tears.
The Indian Trading Path or Warriors Path as it is also known, is a corridor of roads and trails stretching from the Chesapeake Bay region (mostly Petersburg, Virginia area) to the Cherokee, Catawba. It also includes the Piedmont region (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia) and other Native American groups in the area.
The Indian trading path, was used for you guessed it trading! It was part of the native Americans vast trading network for many centuries before adoption by the Europeans and U.S founders. With various settlements along key points of the trail this was a true trading highway.
It was mainly used for commercial cargo carriages. In addition, this millenium trail allowed Virginia traders to easily travel to Native American towns in the southwest, Waxhaws region during the colonial period.
The Virginians, led vast caravans of horses which were loaded up with weapons such as knives, gunpowder and guns to goods such as jewelry, hatchets and blankets. They exchanged an array of European goods for native furs and deerskins in the region, which is today called Mecklenburg County.
This trail was expertly laid out through the complicated topography of the Piedmont area linking together the crossings (or fords) of many streams. Due to this it was later followed by the 19th century rail road and then later by interstate 85.
Piedmont Urban Crescent:
The towns that grew up alongside the Indian trading trail such as: Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Salisbury etc, were perfectly placed to develop the states three large scale manufacturing industries and then the tobacco, textiles and furniture.
This area is known as Piedmont Urban Crescent, (a semicircular band of cities and towns extending from Raleigh to Charlotte) which developed following the Indian trading path.
Back in 1955, the counties following the Piedmont Urban Crescent, employed around 45% of the states industrial workers. It became the most urban and industrial region of the state.
By the time the 1980’s came around its 10 counties from Wake (Raleigh) to Mecklenburg (Charlotte) held 32% of the state’s population on just 10 percent of its land!
Why you should visit?
These days you can still spot many of the early towns along the route and many historic remnants of the Trading Path are still visible.
In addition, the Indian trading trail and the modern day Piedmont Urban Crescent is a thriving hub. With the states most influential television stations and newspapers located there.
The Piedmont Urban Crescent is also home to the “Research Triangle” which is on the eastern end between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. This area has greater number of college graduates and has seen greater economic growth.
Other names for this historic piece of America history include: Warriors’ Path, Occaneechi Path, the Catawba Road, The Path to the Catawba,
2. Cascadia Marine Trail – 160 miles (260 km)
Millenium Trail: From Olympia, Washington to Point Roberts, Washington.
The Cascadia Marine Trail traces along the Canada–United States border and follows early Native American trade routes in the Puget Sound region. Back in 1994, it was designated a National Recreation Trail.
Why you should visit?
The Cascadia Marine Trail has over 50 campsites and is great for day or multi day trips. You can it even take a boat to the camp sites from many of the public launch sites or even from the shoreline trailheads.
3. Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
Length of Trail: 1,200 miles (1,900 km)
National Millennium Trail: Stretching from Nogales, Arizona northwestward to San Francisco, California.
The Juan Bautista De Anza Trail, is the route of the Spanish explorers and settlements which was led by Juan Bautista de Anza.
This Millennium Trail is a real commemoration to the Spanish commander Juan Bautista de Anza who took the (1775–1776 trail) from the Sonora y Sinaloa Province of New Spain in Colonial Mexico all the way through to Las Californias Province.
The goal of the route was to setup a mission and Spanish fort (Presidio) on the San Francisco bay. The idea of the Spanish commander was to create a smooth trail which would help with the Spanish colonisation of California.
The trail was in service for around five years before being closed by the Quechan (Yuma) Indians in 1781 and kept closed for the next 40 years.
Why you should visit?
Visitors and tourists have plenty to experience these days along the Juan Bautista de Anza (National Historic Trail).
Firstly, you can relive the vast array of landscapes which the original Spanish expedition forged. Then to take you even more back in time you can learn the ancient stories from the expedition events, members and even descendants!
Activities and Museums:
The National Park Service has been very helpful in creating a printed & online a professional Brochure Map. The brochure map details:
- Driving guides for auto tours
- Hiking routes
- Historic sites
Anza Celebrations and Guides:
Schedules have also been put together of Anza celebrations and various other historic events. There is also a detailed Anza Trail Maps by County showing extra points of interest, trailheads, and local knowledge.
Driving the Millennium Trail?
In addition to the driving guides provided by the National Park Service, there is also various sign posts along the trail route so you can follow it easily.
Popularity of the Trail Increasing:
In recent years the Juan Bautista de Anza (National Historic Trail), area and project has really been growing in popularity.
The National Park service should be given a lot of credit for this, by establishing extra trails, setting up signs and even interpretive programs. There is also a whole host of other inspiring activities at close by municipal parks. For more info see the official website.
Overall this Millennium trail, will really help you to understand the Native American cultures more and help you to appreciate the influences of the Spanish colonialism in modern day Arizona and California.
4. Freedom Trail – 2.5 miles (4.0 km)
National Millennium Trail: From Boston Common to Bunker Hill Monument in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Freedom Trail connects 15 sites of great significance in the Colonial history of the United States. The freedom trail is marked with a series of painted bricks on a series of sidewalks between Boston Common to Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.
There are a variety of interesting stops along the way from churches and notable landmarks to signage explained interesting information and even naval warships and graveyards!
Back in 1951, a local journalist named William Schofield had the great suggestion of building a public trail to link notable local landmarks. Then the Boston Mayor (John Hynes) decided to adopt Schofields idea. It was hugely successful with over 40,000 people following the trail annually in 1953.
National Park Service:
The National Park service has a visitors center located on the first floor of Faneuil Hall. From here you can sign up for tours, and also get your hands on some free maps of the freedom trail.
If your into reading they also sell a selection of interesting books on Boston History.
However, many tourists have noted that the standard Freedom trail offered by the National park service omits a few historical locations such as the Boston tea party to the Liberty trail.
Fun Fact: Boy Scouts who hike or camp along the Freedom Trail can win the Historic Trails Award.
Why you should Visit?
The freedom trail offered a real insight into the History of the United States and Boston. With a variety of interesting trail sites along the way, see the full list below (Laid out south to north)
- Boston Common
- Massachusetts State House
- Park Street Church
- Granary Burying Ground
- King’s Chapel and Burying Ground
- Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School
- Old Corner Bookstore
- Old South Meeting House
- Site of the Boston Massacre
- Old State House
- Faneuil Hall
- Paul Revere House
- Old North Church
- Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
- USS Constitution
- Bunker Hill Monument
- The Boston Irish Famine Memorial
There is also the Black Heritage trail which crosses the Freedom Trail between the Massachusetts State House and Park Street Church.
Audio Tour of the Trail (Self Guide):
If you head to the visitor center, you can down load the freedom trail tour guide app, these works with your GPS to give you a walking tour of the whole route, with narration of the story and directions.
For example, as you walk along and come near the map pin, the story will automatically start playing (Recorded by a knowledgable local guide). The great benefit of this system is you don’t have to keep to a tour schedule and will not be caught in the crowded tour groups.
Important note: You MUST purchase the password to access the tour/app from the visitor centre or online via Viator.
Cost of the Freedom Trail:
In general most of the sites along the Freedom trail are free, with some having a place for donations.
Due to the Freedom Trail been ran by the City of Boston’s Freedom Trail Commission which is supported in part by grants from various nonprofits and foundations including the Boston National Historical Park.
However, in spite of this a small number of sites charge admission, these include: the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House.
5. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Length of Trail: 4,900 miles (7,855 km)
National Millennium Trail: Starts at Camp DuBois at Wood River, Illinois then moves westward to Les Shirley Park, Oregon.
This Millennium trail commemorates the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 -1806. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is administered by the National park service. However, many of the sites along the route are managed by state, tribal and even private agencies.
As the second longest of the 23 National Scenic and Historic Trails…it passes through 16 States. Starting at Camp Dubois, Illinois, it heads through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
As of 2019, John D. Dingell, (Conservation Manager) extended the Trail to an additional 1,200 miles. This extra portion of the route streches along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois.
Why you should visit the trail?
Although not a hiking trail officially, this National Millennium trail provides ample opportunities for hiking, horse riding and even boating!
For the visitor centre for the trail and official headquarters, head to the National Park Service Midwest Regional Headquarters, in Omaha, Nebraska. The National Millennium trail visitor center offers exhibits about the great explorers (Lewis and Clark) and their historic trip. For the interactive visitor map check out, the nps website.
6. Underground Railroad Trail – Slave escape routes!
The Underground Railroad trial, covers an array of trails dotted through eastern U.S.A, Texas, Oklahoma, Southern Canada and even Mexico and the Caribbean. These historic railroads were underground escape routes for people held in slavery during the American civil war.
History of the Slave Escape Route:
These network of trails were formed in the late 1700s and ran north to the free states and Canada. Historians suggest it reached its peak of slave runaways between 1850 and 1860. With approximately 100,000 slaves escaping by 1850!
The economic impact of the escaped slaves was small, however the psychological affect on the slave traders was immense! At a rate of around 1000 escapees annually, over 5000 court cases were recorded.
A lot of the slave runaways heading to Canada (or British North America) as it was formerly known. The runaways called Canada the “Promise land” and the Ohio River as the “River Jordan” following biblical references.
Canada was the perfect place with it’s long winding border access points were plentiful. Most of the slaves settled in Ontario.
The runaway slaves were helped by allies and abolitionists, who were sympathetic toward their cause and were humane and helpful towards the escaped slaves as a result.
How the Underground Railroad Route Worked?
The Underground Railroad trail was not literally underground or even on a railroad!
The term “Underground” comes from the fact it was helped from a “underground” resistance. The route consisted of, secret trails, meeting spots, transport links and even safe houses.
With assistance throughout the route carried out by abolitionist sympathizers, Church Clergy, free born blacks, Native Americans and even former slaves.
These humane people were known as “Conductors” in Railroad terminology and helped the escaped to move along the route in between various “stations” or Rest points.
Both former slaves and free blacks were keep to help out for many reasons. But also due to the fear they still had even being free. For example, free blacks and former slaves were kidnapped and then sold back into slavery.
The slave would have to produce his “Certificates of freedom,” these were signed, notarized statements acknowledging the free status of individual blacks. However, as they could be easily stolen or destroyed the protection was minor.
Sometimes these brave conductors pretended to be a slave in order to enter a plantation. Once embedded in a plantation, the conductor would direct the slave runaways to the North.
Stations or Rest Points:
Following the rail road analogy, the slaves were helped to get between different “Stations” along the route. These were resting points such as barns, under church floors, caves and even hollowed out river banks. Mostly the runaway slaves traveled at night with around (10-20 miles) in between each station.
Stockholders & other terminology:
Stockholders were people along the route which gave money or supplies for assistance. Other terminology included: Escaped slaves whom were referred to as “passengers” or “cargo” and the Slaves would be expected to obtain a “ticket”.
7. Civil War Discovery Trail – 500 sites in 27 states
The Civil War Discovery Trail, honors the sacrifices and great hardships of the American Civil War. This heritage tourism program was setup up to link 600 U.S. Civil War sites in more than 30 states.
The sites on this National Millennium Trail include: battlefields, historic landmarks, forts cemeteries and museums.
If your to learning more about the American Civil War, this is definitely trail to check out and a real achievement if you could visit all 500 sites! The Civil war trust would probably give some sort of award!
Be sure to let us know at Town and Tourist if you visit any of the sites, in the Comments below.
8. International Express Trail (Line 7)- 5 miles (8.0 km)
IRT Flushing Line 7 and 7 Express, was a New York Subway line opened in the early 1900s to distribute the vast number of immigrants who entered the U.S.A.
The route ran from Flushing, Queens, to Times Square, Manhattan between 1915 and 1928. In 2015, a western extension was opened up to Hudson Yards in west Manhattan. So now the line stretches from Flushing to Chelsea, Manhattan.
These days the nationalities represented may have changed on the international express line, but a ride on the 7 train is still a great journey into American immigration, past or present.
Why you should visit?
So apart from taking a journey into American immigration history, there are many other modern day reasons to follow the international express line. From great international food to art & jazz museums.
Your best bet, is to start your journey on the number 7 in Grand Central Station. Then check out Long Island City (Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue) as first stop.
Check out the industrial area rapidly turning into an eastern extension of Midtown. Head to Jackson Avenue a few blocks to PS 1 Contemporary Art Center. This is a cool spot.
Hop back on the 7 line and head to the next stop:
Sunnyside (40th Street / Queens Boulevard)
The north strip of Queens Boulevard is a really diverse place, where you can sample spicy Korean BBQ (Shin Chon Kalbi), kitschy Roumanian (Casa Romana, quirky Asia-Chinese (Tangra Masala), tasty Turkish (Hemsin) and some of course some classic Italian (Dazie’s).
Other great stops along the great 7 International Express trail include:
- Jackson Heights – 74 Street-Broadway (Little India)
- Corona – Louis Armstrong and Lemon Ice King of Corona
- Mets-Willets Point
- Flushing-Main Street (The Best Chinatown in New York!)
- Woodside – 61st Street (Chowhound Spot)
9. Iditarod National Historic Trail – 938 miles (1,510 km)
National Millennium Trail: As the only Alaskan trail in the shortlist, it runs from Seward, Alaska north west to Nome, Alaska. This is the only Historic Trail commemorating the vital role played by “mans best friend” in America’s last great gold rush.
This route is the United States only remaining frontier trail, the route of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and even the human migratory trail across the Bering Land Bridge.
The Iditaroad National Historic trail, began as merging of trails setup by the native Alaskans. The route ran through many mountain ranges, valleys and my historical settlements.
In 1910, the gold was found in Alaska attracting thousands of people over the route and as a result, stop off houses for people and dogs were setup every 20-30 miles!
After the iconic Gold rush, the trail resulted in less travel and by 1918 it was nearly forgotten. However, due to the diphtheria outbreak in Nome in 1925, the route Was seen as a life saving pathway! Dog sleds and 20 drivers brought with them a life saving serum across 674 miles (1,085km) in just 127 hours! It what came to be called the “Serum Run”.
This is one reason why the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was set up, as a real way to commemorate the efforts played by the dog sleds in the development of Alaska.
Iditarod Dog Sled race:
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, commemorates the critical role the dogs played in the settlement and development of Alaska. In 1973 Joe Redington setup the race with a goal of bringing historic tradition of dog sledding back to the Alaskan villages.
Why you should visit?
Who wouldn’t wan’t to relive the great pathways of the gold rush and the famous “serum run”. In addition, there is the popular Iditarod dog sled race and even an alternative race for for humans called the iditarod Trail Invitational.
The Iditarod trail invitational, is great for bikers (with the fatter tires!), runners and even skiers. This route follows the Trail from Knik to McGrath with a 350 mile race and also to Nome in the 1000 mile race extravaganza.
When the races aren’t on, you can explore the National Millennium Trail all year round by foot, car, or rail. A common route is between Seward and Knik, Alaska, with popular spots being the Chugach National Forest (Kenai Peninsula) & Chugach State Park just outside of Anchorage.
Winter Transport – Dog sled vs Snow mobile?
Take a ride across this National Historic trail via dog sled or even snow mobile! Bring along some skis aswell as there are some great slopes to try out..especially in the more remote sections in the north of the Iditarod trail.
Check out the number of community museums as you follow the Iditarod Trail, which have interesting features from historic photos, equipment and even artefacts, which represent the trials of the great Iditarod trail.
Traveling by Water? Pack rafting!
The Summer is a great time to follow the rivers used by the people of the “gold rush” and even check out the swamps, sand bars and lakes. If you have heard of the hot new trend pack rafting (a backpack with raft attached) Alaska, was voted one of the best places in the United States to try it out! For more info on Pack rafting check out this epic article.
There is also a few races in February and March, for recreational users and professionals.
10. Appalachian National Scenic Trail – 2,180 miles (3,508 km) –
The Appalachian Trail, is a real piece of all American history, with over a 2,180 mile foot path stretching through the wild and scenic Appalachian Mountains.
The National Millennium Trail stretches from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine and is the largest natural public trail in the world!
The original pathway started to be built in 1921 by private citizens, it was finally finished in 1937. For our State by state guide on the Appalachian trail check out this magnificent & informative article, written by Christine from Town and Tourist.
11. Great Western Trail – 3,100 miles (5,000 km)
The Great Western Trail is a north to south National Historic Trail, which stretches from Canada to Mexico through five western states of the U.S.A. This includes Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
Origins of the Millennium Trail:
Back in 1776, two Spanish priests, named (Dominguez and Escalante), camped with Native Americans (Paiute) at the base of the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona.
The Natives showed them a trail known as the (Mormon Honeymoon/Jacob Hamblin trail) which still exists today in addition to Beale’s Wagon Road and the Moqui Stage Station.
These days, the route is still as it was historically when cattle ranchers and pioneers first took it, from jaw dropping rock formations, and an abundance of wildlife and exotic plants…there is plenty to take in.
How to take the trail?
Both trails can be visited today by various methods from foot, bicycle, horseback to ATV’s, 4×4’s. And even snow mobiles! Are you into off roading? Then your in luck, the Great Western trail Association has teamed up the Arizona 4 wheel drive club to designate 350 miles of the trail specifically for 4×4 off roading!
This run stretches from Phoenix to the Utah border.
The Great Western Trail – Arizona.
In Arizona, the great western trail starts in Phoenix around the south desert basin and range area. This area has little vegetation but a series of cacti, and sage brushes can be seen growing before you reach the Arizona mountain forests.
The Arizona mountain forests is at 5000-10,000 foot elevation, with scorching temperatures throughout the year. Expect to see, Apache fir trees, golden aspen trees and piñon trees
Following along will bring you to the Colorado Plateau area, where you will find a great series of Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine trees.
12. North Country National Scenic Trail – 4,600 miles (7,400 km)
The North County National Scenic trail is a foot path which stretches from Lake Sakakawea State park, North Dakota east towards Port Henry, New York.
The actual route passes through seven U.S states; New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. It is officially the Longest of the 11 National Scenic trails officially authorised by Congress.
As a result the trail is a hikers paradise with an array of sights including; Northern hardwood forest, farmers fields, small mountains, sand dunes, boreal forest, lakes, prairie and quaint towns. These all combined truly define the northern rim of America.
U.S Trail by State:
- Superior Hiking Trail
- Border Route Trail
- Kekekabic Trail
- Mesabi Trail
Wabash Cannonball Trail
Finger Lakes Trail
Why you should visit?
Most sections of this National Historic Trail are limited to foot travel only and you can hike, try snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It is also popular with cycling and horseback riding.
The North Country National Historic trail has a huge backing from various organisations from the North Country Trail Association to the Superior Hiking trail association amongst others.
13. Hatfield–McCoy Trails System – 2,000 miles (3,200 km)
The National Historic trail run west through West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, along the mountain ridges and through the abandoned coal mining fields of south, West Virginia. This Millennium trail is really popular for it’s off road auto trails.
Why is it called Hatfield-McCoy?
The name Hatfield-McCoy stems from the two rival families (Hatfields and McCoys) who infamously had an ongoing feud close by to the West Virginia and Kentucky Border, following the Civil War.
The trail route, heads through multiple counties including the West Virginia counties of Wyoming, Logan, Kanawha, Mercer, Lincoln, Mingo, Wayne and Boone.
Why you should visit?
If your into off roading the Hatfield-McCoy Millennium Trail is heaven. The network of trails makes it perfect for ATV, UATV, dirt bikes and even Mountain bikes. If you would prefer something a little more relaxed, then your in luck as the trail is also suitable for hikers and horse riders.
The Hatfield-McCoy National Historic Trail is really well maintained and has a team of staff which caters for visitors from all 50 states and nine different countries! From maps and other helpful information, the route is well staffed and manned.
They also have a partnership with law enforcement to prevent any off road injuries or accidents, this has resulted in a top notch safety record…despite an increase in ATV injuries across the U.S.A.
14. East Coast Greenway – 3,000 miles (4,800 km) –
This immense walking and very popular biking route stretches from Key west, Florida to north Calais. Maine and connects together 15 of Americas major cities on the eastern seaboard.
The nonprofit organisation, East Coast Greenway Alliance was setup in 1991, with a goal of creating a great off road trail and eventually having it all off road. As of 2017 approximately 32% of the route (900 miles) is off road on traffic protected green ways.
An Award winning route:
The East Coast Greenway has won a series of awards, apart from being designated as a national Millennium Trail. A variety of others have been won, see below:
- Kodak American Greenway Award in 1999 by The Conservation Fund in Washington, DC (National Geographic Society)
- GoSmart Golden Modes Community Impact Award in 2015
- GSK IMPACT Award in 2015
- Bicycle Friendly Business for 2016 – 2020 by the League of American Bicyclists
Major cities along the “spine route” include:
Section 1 (Maine-New Jersey):
- Calais, Maine
- Bangor, Maine
- Augusta, Maine
- Portland, Maine
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Newburyport, Massachusetts
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Worcester, Massachusetts
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Hartford, Connecticut
- New Haven, Connecticut
- Bridgeport, Connecticut
- Norwalk, Connecticut
- Stamford, Connecticut
- New Rochelle, New York
- New York, New York
- Jersey City, New Jersey
- Newark, New Jersey
- New Brunswick, New Jersey
- Trenton, New Jersey
Section 2 (Pennsylvania-Florida):
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Annapolis, Maryland
- Washington, D.C.
- Richmond, Virginia
- Durham, North Carolina
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Fayetteville, North Carolina
- Wilmington, North Carolina
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Savannah, Georgia
- Brunswick, Georgia
- Jacksonville, Florida
- St. Augustine, Florida
- Daytona Beach, Florida
- Titusville, Florida
- Melbourne, Florida
- Fort Pierce, Florida
- West Palm Beach, Florida
- Boca Raton, Florida
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Miami, Florida
- Key West, Florida
15. Mississippi River Trail – 3,000 miles (4,800 km)
The Mississippi River Trail or U.S. Bicycle Route 45, is another great U.S cycling route and honours one of the worlds longest rivers.
The National Historic trail stretches from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the mouth of the Mississippi in Venice, Louisiana. If your not into cycling, no worries..alot of the route is also suitable for motor vehicles and can make a nice drive.
The trail is split into three parts: Northern, Central, and Southern.
Northern Section consists of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa.
Starting in Itasca State Park, Minnesota. Itasca state park contains more than 20 miles (32km) of paved bike trails.
Upon leaving the park, the winds northwards along the river and heads through county roads to the city of Bemidji. From there the Mississippi River trail merges with the Paul Bunyan trail ( a rail – trail conversion) . Then head through the cities of Little Falls and St. Cloud.
For the Bicycle trail for Wisconsin, check out this link.
Central Sections consists of Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky
Southern section- Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana.
The trail enters at Obion County, Tennessee from Kentucky following Tennessee State Route 157 which then merges right onto Tennessee State Route 22 heading southwest.
A great section of this route is along the edge of Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge and Reelfoot Lake State Park. These are really nice scenic spots to head through. Canada also has some amazing national parks like Banff National Park
16. American Discovery Trail – 6,800 miles (10,900 km)
A Coast to Coast Millennium Trail!
This great National Millennium Trail, connects together a series of trails and roads to form an epic coast to coast hiking, bike and horse trail across the middle of the United States. The National Historic trail runs from Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware west towards Point Reyes National Seashore, California.
There are two north and south alternative routes, one through Chicago and the other through St Louis.
If your looking for a real scenic trail you won’t be disappointed with this one! The American Discovery Trail heads through 14 national parks, 16 national Forrests and links together with 5 National Scenic trails, 10 National Historic trails and 23 recreational trails!
The first hikers to complete the entire trail in a continuous walk were husband & wife team from Pleasanton, California named Marcia and Ken Powers.
Husband & Wife Team:
Their immense hike started on the 27th February and didn’t finish until 15th October, 2005! Talk about a long walk!
They set of from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and ended at Point Reyes, California. Where they managed to trail 5,058 miles (8,140 km) by foot, averaging approximately 22 miles (35 km) a day!
The first person to cross the entire 6,800 miles in one continuous hike was Mike “Lion King” Daniel. His route even included the north and south section! He began from Cape Henlopen State Park on June 17, 2007, and finished at Point Reyes, California on November 5, 2008.
Interesting spots along the way:
There is a vast series of notable spots which can be discovered along the American Discovery trail. Here is a short list of the favourites though:
- Cape Henlopen State Park, the eastern end of the trail in Delaware.
- Argentine Pass, Colorado, (13,207 ft (4,025 m)) the highest point in the trail where it crosses the Colorado Rockies.
- Limantour Beach, Point Reyes, the west end of the trail in California.