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Check Out the 9 New National Recreation Trails Announced for ‘Great Outdoors Month’

The Secretary of the Interior announced on June 2 that they were expanding the National Trails System by 340 miles.

Iron Hills Trail System, Utah; (photo/BLM)(Photo/BLM)
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The weather is getting warmer, trails are open, and shorts are re-emerging from their months-long hibernation. That means it’s hiking season! And this year, the National Park Service is adding hundreds of miles to its National Trails System.

It’s a move meant to celebrate Great Outdoors Month, which kicked off on June 3 with National Trails Day. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced on June 2 that the National Park Service was designating nine new National Recreation Trails in 10 states across the U.S., totaling over 300 new miles of trail.

“This National Trails Day, I encourage everyone to explore one of the national scenic, historic, or recreation trails that make up the National Trails System,” Secretary Haaland said in a press release. “These trails offer an abundance of opportunities to experience the breathtaking landscapes of our country, all while supporting outdoor recreation activities and boosting local economies.”  

The National Trails System

Fabulous Fox Water Trail; (photo/Karen Miller)
Fabulous Fox Water Trail; (photo/Karen Miller)

Across the U.S., in every state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, the National Park Service recognizes a network of more than 1,300 trails as part of its National Trails System.

“National recreation trails, including these new designations, are some of our country’s highest-caliber trails and provide close-to-home recreation opportunities and the benefits of spending time outdoors,” Chuck Sams, National Park Service Director, said. “They can be used by everyone and provide for the ever-increasing recreation needs of our growing population, especially in urban areas.”  

The National Trails System was the result of the National Trails System Act of 1968. It aims to make hiking trails accessible — to establish trails in urban and rural areas that appeal to people of all different skill sets, ages, and ability levels. It includes scenic trails, historic Trails, and national recreation trails.

Existing local and regional trails can apply to become a national recreation trail through the American Trails website. They’re announced by either the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Agriculture and are managed and coordinated collaboratively between the National Forest Service, National Park Service, and a host of  federal and nonprofit partners.

New National Recreation Trails

The nine new trails announced by Secretary Haaland add over 340 miles of trails to the existing network. Some of them are as short as a mile. Some are paved multiuse paths that connect urban parks and communities, and some span state boundaries or meander across large swaths of uninhabited BLM land.

The added National Recreation Trails are as follows:


Vernon Bush Garden Trail
Passing by lake views and picnic areas, this 1-mile trail is an easy, accessible tour through some of the lushest foliage and flowers in Jackson County, Alabama.


Razorback Greenway
This 40-mile shared-use trail is often referred to as the “Backbone of Northwest Arkansas.” It connects communities and winds through the gorgeous Ozark Mountains. From it, you can access many local businesses, entertainment districts, art museums, and, of course, outdoor recreation areas.


Harris Greenway Trail
This 5-mile multiuse trail accesses local businesses, and parks, and connects with other hiking, biking, and walking trails.

Illinois and Wisconsin

Fabulous Fox Water Trail
Without a doubt, this is the longest and most unique trail added to the National Trail System this year. It’s 145 miles of interconnected waterways with 70 different access points. It spans from southeast Wisconsin to northeast Illinois passing through Northwest communities and traversing the varying landscapes of that region.


Crown Zellerbach Trail
This mostly gravel trail is 22 miles long and connects Scappoose and Vernonia, Oregon. It passes through the Orgon Coast Range and Columbia River wetlands. Users can hike or bike it, and fish or paddle at numerous spots along its length.


Enterprise South Nature Park  
Seventy miles of walking and biking paths make up the Enterprise South Nature Park near Chatanooga, Tennessee. Beginner to advanced trails branch off into heavily wooded areas and varying terrain — all within hiking distance of the city.


Wilson Creek Trail
This semi-urban 10-mile trail connects McKinney, Texas to a host of local parks, community resources, and local open space. Users can access disc golf courses, playgrounds, and an outdoor fitness court as they walk or bike along Wilson Creek.


Iron Hills Trail System
If you’re into mountain biking, you’ll like the 29-mile Iron Hills Trail System, which accesses some premiere riding terrain. the system is located on BLM land and is also open to hikers, trail runners, horseback riders, and others who want to access the beautiful desert landscapes of southwest Utah.


Old Highway 131 Trail
As the name implies, the Old Highway 131 Trail in Wisconsin follows an old highway in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The 4.5-mile trail is popular among snowshoers and cross-country skiers in the wintertime, and hikers and bikers in the summertime. It also offers access to some culturally and historically rich Indigenous lands.

Even if you missed National Trails Day, there’s plenty more time to check out the trail nearest to you this month.

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