The Great American Rail-Trail, part of the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the nation’s largest trails, walking and biking advocacy organization, is five years old!

RTC pointed to the far-reaching demand from people for safe spaces to walk, bike and be active outside, and communities leveraging outdoor recreation for economic development. The trails are cited in the need to create dedicated, sustainable federal funding sources to connect trail and active transportation systems nationwide.

“The Great American Rail-Trail represents the potential of active transportation infrastructure that connects the nation,” said Ryan Chao, president of Rails to Trails Conservancy. “It magnifies the opportunity for connected trail systems to deliver economic prosperity, quality of life and safe mobility to millions of Americans. It also makes clear the significant need we have to create dedicated and sustained funding so we can adequately invest in creating, connecting and maintaining trails and walking and biking infrastructure in every community.”

The Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program is a new program that provides dedicated funding for the planning and construction of safe and connected active-transportation networks and long-distance spine trails. The program was authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and received its first appropriation in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 federal funding bill. RTC, Congressional champions and partners across the country are continuing to advocate for full program funding in the FY 2025 federal budget.

At the anniversary event, RTC was joined by partners at Warrior Expeditions, REI Co-op, members of Congress and state offices of outdoor recreation in celebrating the progress that’s been made to connect the trail, as well as the tangible benefits it provides to the 50 million people who live within 50 miles of its route and the millions who will use it from around the world.

The Great American Rail-Trail is Rails to Trails Conservancy’s flagship project to connect a cross-country, multi use trail, stretching 3,700 miles across 12 states between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. For more details about the Great American, including photos and video for press use, visit and follow @greatamericanrailtrail and #GRTAmerican on social media. For information about the Warrior Bike Ride, visit