Combine Your Love For RVing & Biking With This New Cross Country Bike Trail
RVing and biking go hand in hand when it comes to traveling and exploring. RVs take us to popular destinations and uninhibited wide open spaces.
Bikes help us scout out all the nooks and crannies in these special locations. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy or RTC, the nation’s largest trails organization, has made RV and bike pairing even more enticing with their ambitious biking initiative, the first cross-country multi-use trail, the Great American Rail-Trail.
What is the Great American Rail-Trail?
With more than 52% of the trail completed, the Great American Rail-Trial will ultimately connect existing multi-use paths, greenways, trails, and towpaths over a 3,700 mile stretch from Washington, D.C., across 12 states to the Pacific Ocean, west of Seattle. There are almost 100 trail segments pending, but once finished, it is estimated that almost one in six Americans will live within 50 miles of the route. Many Americans will have easy access to other communities through this nationwide network of public trails.
The trail is largely set up atop or next to abandoned railway lines with surfaces ranging from crushed stone to smooth asphalt. Pedestrians, runners, long-distance cyclists, and everyone in between can access this trail that will eventually provide safe, car-free passage for miles. The current route is about 80% off-street.
The vision of the Bike Trail
“I want rail-trails to be America’s Main Street,” the RTC’s co-founder David Burwell said.
The series of trails will fit together, connecting diverse landscapes, communities, cultures, and historical landmarks. Travelers moseying their way along the trail will have the opportunity to meet new faces and explore rural townships and bustling cities.
The trail will ultimately serve as a catalyst for local economic development, providing all manner of services for visitors. Many nearby communities have construction projects in the works like campsites, eateries, and other adventure companies along the route .
Sections of the trail
The RTC plans to complete the bike trail’s final segment in 2040, but this shouldn’t deter folks like RVers from visiting and biking segments of the route. There are many noteworthy historical landmarks, scenic landscapes, and popular destinations along this route to explore.
Plus, RVers can utilize online trip planning sources like RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan out points of interest and RV LIFE Campgrounds to research and select RV parks to stay at while visiting a given section.
The trail crosses through places like:
- Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Maryland/D.C.– Lockhouses situated along the canal housed supplies for troops during the Civil War. They were homes to lock keepers who collected tolls on goods like lumber and coal during the westward expansion.
- Swartzentruber Amish Country in Ohio– This community has deliberately avoided modern-day comforts and technology to continue long-time cultural customs, including speaking Pennsylvania German as their first language.
- Historic Coeur d’Alene Trail in Idaho– Visitors may encounter moose and other wildlife in this once gold prospector’s paradise.
- Olympic National Park– One of the largest temperate rainforests in the nation, this park was home to several Native American settlements.
“The trail connected me to [the US’] revolutionary and industrial history, as every town is filled with historical areas,” mentioned Ryan Gardell, a frequent bicyclist along the Great American Rail-Trail. “Most of the towns on the trail were once important areas to the future of America, only to be forgotten in time.”
See more locations that intersect with the cross-country bike trail in the video below.
Support the Bike Trail
There are many ways interested parties can help support the efforts and timeline to complete this massive undertaking. The RTC lists these ways on their Support Us page, including becoming a member of the organization and making a donation.
More information on RVing and biking
For more ways to enhance your biking experience on your next RV trip, check out the article 7 Essential Tips for RVing with a Bike. If you are in the market for a new bike and some accompanying essentials, check out Save RV Space With These Five Folding Bikes and Three Perfect Bike Racks for RVs that are Cheap and Durable.
It’s always a good idea to get feedback from other RVers, and what better place than the convenience of online forums like iRV2. There are already discussions going on about suggested bikes for RVing and campgrounds with bike trails.
Natalie Henley is a freelance writer and has also been full-time RVing with her husband and pets since 2015. She covers a wide range of topics from RV lifestyle, RVing tips, DIY projects, RV news, and more.