The National Trails System

The National Trails System Act of 1968, as amended, calls for establishing trails in both urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities. The National Trails System promotes the enjoyment and appreciation of trails while encouraging greater public access. The system includes national scenic trails, national historic trails, and national recreation trails.


National Trails System Maps

Story Map
An illustrated guide to all the trails in the system, with links to maps, supporting organizations, and more

National Trails System Act Legislation

Administration and Management

The National Trails System: A Brief Overview, CRS Report, updated February 6, 2023

"The 30 national scenic and historic trails are administered by either the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the land management agencies. The NPS administers 21 of the 30 trails; the FS administers 6 trails; the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers 1 trail; and the NPS and BLM jointly administer 2 trails. The administering agency typically develops the trail management plan, oversees development of trail segments, coordinates trail marking and mapping, develops maintenance standards, coordinates trail interpretation, administers cooperative and interagency agreements, and provides financial assistance to others for trail purposes, among other functions."

National Park Service
USDA Forest Service
Bureau of Land Management
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service
Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program

"The RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from nonhighway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-highway light trucks."

Partnership for the National Trails System


Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Pacific Crest Trail Association
Continental Divide Trail Coalition

American Trails

National Recreation Trail Database

Federal Trails Data Standards
Standardizes data about trails across the four agencies that administer national trails


Updated February 2023


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