Historic trails featured in new book

by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc
Adapted from a news release

From the battlefields of the American Revolution to the trails blazed by the pioneers, lands explored by Lewis and Clark and covered by the Pony Express to the civil rights marches of Selma and Montgomery, “America’s National Historic Trails: Walking the Trails of History” is now available and is a gift that celebrates the 19 trails that make up this system. 

These trails range from 54 miles to more than 5,000 and feature historic and interpretive sites to be explored on foot and sometimes by paddle, sail, bicycle, horse, or car on backcountry roads. Totaling more than 37,000 miles through 42 States, our entire national experience comes to life on these trails—from American Indian history to the settlement of the colonies, westward expansion, and civil rights—and they are beautifully depicted in this large-format volume with photography by Bart Smith, the first person to walk all 11 national scenic trails and 19 national historic trails—more than 35,000 miles of America’s landscape.

As author Karen Berger writes in her introduction, “All of (the trails) offer opportunities to experience the varied environments that have played a role in the American narrative. But even more, these trails place us at the intersection of story and landscape. When we touch the wooden walls of a frontier fort, step in the ruts of wagon wheels, look down at a river from a bridge that wasn’t there a hundred years ago, or consider what it would be like to walk, ride a horse, drive a wagon, or march in military formation over an expanse of land, we understand the past in a physical, visceral way. Our forebears passed through these lands for many different reasons: for freedom, for a king, for God, for a protest, for economic opportunity, for adventure, for war. We all have our reasons, both then and now. The national historic trails give us points of intersection across time and distance—a way to connect ourselves to those who came before through our common humanity and our experience of the land.”

Berger is also the author of 18 other books on hiking, including “America’s Great Hiking Trails” and “Great Hiking Trails of the World.” She has also hiked more than 18,000 miles all over the world—including thru-hikes of the Triple Crown trails (the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide National Scenic Trails). A portion of proceeds from book sales will help support the work of the Partnership for the National Trails System.

Unless otherwise indicated, all material in Pathways Across America is public domain. All views expressed herein are perspectives of individuals working on behalf of the National Trails System and do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of the Federal agencies.