National Trails Day is Coming—Go Take a Hike!

Whether you plan to take a long-distance hike, ride your bike across the state, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk, summertime offers many opportunities to get outside and experience nature.

Each year, the American Hiking Society celebrates National Trails Day on the first Saturday in June with a series of outdoor activities to promote and celebrate America’s trail system. Planned events include hikes, bike rides, horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects, and more.

In recognition of National Trails Day we are sharing some of our favorite GAI trail projects throughout Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia—we encourage you to get outside and check them out this weekend if you have the opportunity.

Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail, Putnam County, FL

Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail

This trail journeys more than 25 miles to Keystone Heights through well-canopied forests, pine flatwoods, picturesque countryside and wet prairies. Travelers might see black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats, turkeys, snakes and even one of Florida’s most famed inhabitants, alligators.

East Central Regional Rail Trail, Central FL

East Central Regional Trail

Serving cyclists, hikers, and other recreational users access, the East Central Regional Rail Trail is part of the overall Shared-Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail System throughout the state of Florida. Segments of trail make up part of the larger Coast-to-Coast Trail System, which covers 250 miles from the Space Coast (Atlantic Ocean) to St. Petersburg (Gulf of Mexico), and stretches through both urban and untamed areas.

BC&G Rail-With-Trail, Clay County, WV


Running along the Buffalo Creek, the BC&G is an 18.6-mile-long former coal-hauling shortline that operated primarily from 1904 through 1965. Through a repurposing strategy called ‘rail-with-trail,’ the Clay County Business Development Authority (BDA) is now maintaining the BC&G as an excursion train and recreation trail. Rail-with-trail sees recreational trails built directly adjacent to active or inactive railroads—some trails run parallel to high-speed and high-frequency trains, and others, like the BC&G, alongside tourist railroads and excursion trains.

North Park Lake Multi-Use Trail in Allegheny County, PA

north park lake

The 3,075-acre North Park is the largest of Allegheny County’s nine regional parks. The multi-use, Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible 5-mile trail wraps around a beautiful 75-acre lake. Recent upgrades to the trail have improved safety for users while providing an opportunity to explore and experience the park’s varied ecology.

Sanford Riverwalk Trail in Sanford, FL

Sandford Riverwalk trail

The beautiful Sanford Riverwalk Trail follows the shoreline of Lake Monroe and is considered one of the most scenic paved trails in Seminole County. The path connects Lake Monroe with several historic and tourist sites, as well as the restaurants and shops of downtown Historic Sanford. This trail is perfect for walking, jogging, fishing, or enjoying a sunset over Lake Monroe!

Pike River Pathway in Mt. Pleasant, WI

Pike River Pathway

Over the past decade, the Village of Mt. Pleasant constructed over 4.5 miles of paved multi-use trails in conjunction with the Pike River Improvements project to provide recreational opportunities and direct access to the Pike River and its environmental corridor. The Pike River Pathway is linked to existing County trails in the City of Racine, Village of Sturtevant, and other regional trail systems. Enjoy viewing abundant wildlife in the adjacent wetlands while walking, jogging, or biking along this peaceful trail.

Lake Apopka North Shore Trailhead in Lake County, FL

North Shore Trailhead
The Lake Apopka North Shore Trailhead, which opened to the public in late 2014, was the result of a joint effort between Lake County, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Green Mountain Scenic Byway Commission. This trailhead offers breathtaking views of Lake Apopka. In addition to catering to cyclists who traverse the challenging terrain of County Road 455 in Ferndale, this trailhead provides amenities for hikers who use the fully accessible trail, which traverses down Sugarloaf Mountain from an elevation of 150 to 60 feet.

Johnny Appleseed Trail in Fort Wayne, IN

Johnny Appleseed Trail

This beautiful trail connects Johnny Appleseed Park to Indiana University—Purdue of Fort Wayne, allowing students and the community to walk between the park and campus. Historic Johnny Appleseed Park marks one of the key starting points of the 24-mile Rivergreenway on the northeast side of the City. Overall Fort Wayne boasts more than 90 miles of multi-use trails to provide residents with recreation, health and fitness, and active transportation opportunities.

The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) in Pittsburgh, PA


The GAP offers 150 miles of recreation between Pittsburgh, PA and Cumberland, MD, where it joins the 185-mile Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath to create a continuous, 335-mile-long, vehicle-free corridor all the way to Washington, DC. Enjoy bicycling, hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and horseback riding (where permitted).

Other Trails

If you’re not near any of these six trails, check out the below network of 11 National Scenic Trails throughout the country, established by The National Trails System Act of 1968. These extended trails and their locations are intended to provide for maximum outdoor recreation, conservation, and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities. They’re administered and managed by The National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers, and are funded, in part, by the Federal Highway Administration.


We hope you find an opportunity to get outside this weekend and celebrate National Trails Day! For questions or additional information about GAI’s parks and trails planning and landscape architecture services, contact Assistant Vice President and Senior Director Frank Bellomo, PLA at 321.319.3057.

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