Accessibility: The trail surface is paved concrete, smooth, and typically at least eight feet wide. The estimated grade is gentle (all 3% or less) so most wheelchair and stroller users will likely be able to navigate this trail.
This trail offers refreshing variety for hikers, bikers, joggers, and rollerblades alike as it connects Anderson Bonner Park, Harry S. Moss Nature Area, Fair Oaks Tennis Center, and eventually joins the white Rock Lake Park trail system. This is a concrete, 12'-wide (narrows at points to 8') path that runs along White Rock Creek in North Dallas.
Accessibility: The trail surface is paved concrete and between 8 and 12 feet wide. The grade is mostly gentle (all estimated under 5%) so most wheelchair and stroller users will likely be able to traverse the trail.
Katy Trail is a converted rail-line and has separate paved lanes for pedestrians and bikes. Accessibility: The trail surface is paved and typically at least six feet wide.
The grade is mostly gentle (all estimated under 5%) so most wheelchair and stroller users will likely find this trail navigable. Cotton Belt North Richland Hills, Texas Length: 15.6 mi • Est.
Accessibility: The trail surface is paved and typically at least six feet wide. When it's freezing cold up north, this trail makes a nice winter-time escape.
Roy Orr Trail DeSoto, Texas Length: 3.8 mi • Est. DeSoto's Roy Orr Trail extends alongside Tensile Creek from Westmoreland just south of Wintergreen to almost Belt line at I-35.
Such a path provides scenic views of Tensile Creek, connects several neighborhoods with the City's Town Center and with multiple retail areas and parks, and it almost makes it possible to travel from the City's western boundary to its eastern boundary without having to use a car. The trail originally consisted of two separate segments (from Westmoreland to the Town Center and from Polk to Murphy Hills Park) that had been built by the City.
The gentle cadence of steel wheels, the smell of creosote and the faint clanging of bells accompanied by a distant whistle have been part of the American fabric for years. The first commercially viable railroad to operate in Texas, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado was chartered in 1850 with the first public segment of track coming in 1856.
As alternative methods of travel emerged, the railroad industry began to decline, and today approximately 233,000 miles of track remain in the United States, many of them abandoned. For communities throughout the state, both rural and urban, these reclamation projects help restore economic prosperity to neighborhoods and underserved populations and preserve our railway heritage while promoting personal and environmental health to Texans far and wide.
The trail is open to hikers, cyclists and horseback riders, perfect for exploring, day tripping or longer excursions. In summer months, dusk tours allow visitors to watch bat flights from the Clarity Tunnel.
The greenbelt along the route was restored with county and state grants as well as public/private partnerships overseen by the aptly named Friends of the Katy Trail, a nonprofit founded in 1997. Once the major eastbound rail route through the most densely developed area of Dallas, the 3.5-mile-long section of the line now provides recreation to the more than 300,000 nearby residents and adjacent neighborhoods.
Various segments of the line continued operation until insufficient traffic forced its closure in 1992, but that wasn’t the end of the story. This scenic 130-mile railway stretches across seven counties and 19 rural towns and is the longest rail banked project in Texas.
In the 1990s the Union Pacific and Chaparral companies rail banked the tracks between Cartersville to the west and New Boston to the east. Cartersville is the western trailhead, nestled in the historic downtown, and an ideal place to begin your journey.
New Boston is the eastern trailhead and begins in the Texas and Pacific Railway (T&P) Trail Head Park. Join our movement and help us ensure a better future for America made possible by trails and the connections they inspire.
WHEN YOU CAN'T BIKE ANOTHER MILE Latter-day lumberjacks (and bills) can see photos and artifacts from the heyday of logging at the tiny Westwood Museum (311 Ash St.; 530/256-2233). TRIP TIP For a less strenuous ride, take a shuttle to Westwood and head east (downhill).
Or try the easy 14 miles from Danville to Devil's Corral and back; you'll still hit eight bridges and two tunnels. FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact the visitors' center in Danville (see above) or the Bureau of Land Management (530/257-0456; www.ca.blm.gov/eaglelake), which is responsible for the trail.
This gentle canter, 40 miles west of Fort Worth, passes horse ranches, wildflower meadows, and pastures where longhorns graze. STAY AT The Dancing Oaks Ranch (940/374-3804; www.dancingoaksranch.com; cabin with full kitchen from $150), outside Weatherford, offers horseback-riding lessons and trail rides.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park (940/328-1171; www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/lakemine; tent sites from $11, plus $3 per person 13 and older) has fishing, swimming, and cowboy-themed concerts. TRIP TIP To use the trail you need a pass ($2 per adult), on sale at entry points.
Favorite spots: the towering bluffs along the Missouri River and the V-shaped petroglyph on a cave east of Roche port. STAY AT You can sleep in a converted boxcar at the Katy O'Neil Bed & Bike fest (101 Lewis St., Roche port; 573/698-2453; www.katyoneil.com ; doubles from $110, including bike rental; small extra charges for kids).
WHEN YOU CAN'T BIKE ANOTHER MILE Watch Madagascar hissing cockroaches race at the University of Missouri's Ends Entomology Museum (Columbia; 573/882-2410; www.museum.insecta.missouri.edu). TRIP TIP The terrain is as flat as a pancake, so even a novice will be able to handle this trail.
Take a spin under lush maple, sycamore, and walnut trees beside Ohio's Little Miami River. Listen to the rushing water and smell the honeysuckle as you meander past farms, woodlands, and small towns.
Other choices: the Little Miami Scenic Trail Resort Village B&B (Loveland; 513/683-0090; cottages $145, including bike rental) or Morgan's Riverside Campground (Morrow; 513/899-9166; sites from $16). WHEN YOU CAN'T BIKE ANOTHER MILE Attention, aspiring archaeologists: you can learn about Hopewell Indians at Fort Ancient (6123 State Rte.
TRIP TIP For an easy ride, start at the trail's southern end, in Milford (10 miles northeast of Cincinnati), and bike downstream. Be sure to be in Clearwater at sunset, when artists, magicians, and jugglers entertain the crowds on Pier 60.
STAY AT The Best Western Yacht Harbor Inn & Suites (150 Marina Plaza, Dunedin; 800/447-4728; www.bestwestern.com ; doubles from $79, plus $10 per child 13 and older) is three blocks from the trail. Don't worry if you can't make it back to your starting point; all buses in Pinellas County are equipped with bike racks.
It's a glorious stretch from Abingdon, where a retired steam engine marks the trailhead, to White top Mountain, the state's second-highest peak. STAY AT The Martha Washington Inn (150 W. Main St., Abingdon; 276/628-3161; www.marthawashingtoninn.com ; doubles $325 for two nights, including breakfast), an 1832 estate, welcomes kids.
WHEN YOU CAN'T BIKE ANOTHER MILE Catch a kids' show at Abingdon's Barter Theater (276/628-3991; www.bartertheatre.com), or take a hike to see the wild ponies at Massive Gap in Grayson Highlands State Park (Rte. TRIP TIP If you have a shuttle drop you at the high point of the trail in White top, the 15 miles to Damascus sail by.
Call the Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau (800/435-3440) for the Guide to the Virginia Creeper Trail. Adam's Inn (1744 Lanier Place NW; 800/578-6807; www.adamsinn.com ; doubles from $115, including breakfast; additional guests $10 each) is five blocks from the Rock Creek rail trail, in northern D.C.
WHEN YOU CAN'T BIKE ANOTHER MILE Let the kids climb all over The Awakening, sculptures depicting an enormous man rising out of the earth, at Potomac Park (Chains Point; 202/485-9880). TRIP TIP To avoid parking nightmares, bike to the trail from your hotel.
FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail (www.cctrail.org) or the Washington Area Bicycling Association (www.waba.org). At its northern end, this bracing trail extends three miles into Lake Champlain on a narrow causeway.
Pitch your tent or park your RV at North Beach Campground (60 Institute Rd., Burlington; 802/862-0942; sites from $21) for direct access to the trail. For boneheads, the Ben & Jerry's factory (866/258-6877; www.benjerry.com), 26 miles from Burlington, offers tours and tastings.
TRIP TIP There are no services along the three-mile causeway, so bring snacks and make a pit stop before hitting that section. FOR MORE INFORMATION Local Motion, a nonprofit cycling organization, operates the Trailside Center (1 Steele St.; 802/ 652-2453; www.localmotionvt.org/center) on the Burlington waterfront.
Head for the former mining town of Jim Thorpe, in the western Poconos, and pedal the route once used to carry coal down to barges on the Leigh Canal. WHEN YOU CAN'T BIKE ANOTHER MILE Learn about the highs and lows of Jim Thorpe's history, from the hilltop ASA Packer Mansion (30 Elk St.; 570/325-3229) to the gallows of the Old Jail Museum (128 W. Broadway; 570/325-5259).
Or explore the Amish community in Cash ton, 10 miles south of Sparta, on your own or with a guide from Down a Country Road (608/654-5318; www.downacountryroadamish.com ; $40 for 1 1/2 hours, in your car).