The American Discovery Trail is billed as this nation's first coast-to-coast "nonmotorized" trail. Translation: more than 6,300 miles of walkable and bike-able paths.
The trail, dedicated Sept. 2 at a ceremony in San Francisco, stretches from Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware. Along the way, it divides into two trails and ultimately crosses 15 states, 14 national parks and 16 national forests. In California, it includes parts of the Pacific Crest Trail, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Muir Woods National Monument.
About one-third of the trail is composed of routes designated as "urban greenways," such as bike trails and railroad rights of way; one-third consists of low-traffic back-country roads; and one-third consists of hiking paths through park and forest land.
The trail, a complex cooperative project that was a decade in the making, is overseen by the nonprofit, Maryland-based American Discovery Trail Society. Maps, starting at $10, are available from the organization, telephone (800) 663-2387. Not all the trail is yet marked.