National Trails System

  • Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

America’s National Trails System consists of the 30 national scenic and historic trails, more than 1,000 recognized regional and local recreational trails, and several side or connecting trails.


32 National Scenic and Historic Trails (National Trails) are congressionally designated corridors that contain significant recreational, scenic, historic, natural and cultural elements. These 30 trails — stretching for a hundred or thousands of miles each and more than 55,000 miles in total — connect with 70 wildlife refuges, 80 National Parks, 90 Bureau of Land Management areas, 90 National Forests, 123 Wilderness Areas, and 100 major metropolitan areas.

These National Scenic and Historic trails traverse wilderness, rural, suburban and urban areas in 50 states connecting with every distinct ecological area or biome in the US. They protect crucial conservation areas and provide wildlife migration corridors, as well as education, recreation, & fitness for people of all ages.

Set up as collaborative projects by the National Trails System Act of 1968, hundreds of nonprofit organizations, assisted by a variety of state and federal agencies, support the National Trails System and offer recreational and heritage identity to thousands of communities nationwide.

Stewards of the National Scenic and Historic Trails
The Partnership for the National Trails System brings together the non-profit stewards of the National Scenic and Historic Trails, as well as the 5 Federal agency partners who have jurisdiction over the trails. Since 2001, the Partnership has embodied the collaboration of the National Trails System Act and has advocated for these trails. Today, the Partnership has 34 member and 8 affiliate organizations.

What is a ‘national trail?’

America’s National Trail System today

Threats to the National Trail System

Decade for Trails