Browse Common Topics
Search our Website

Benefits of NRT Designation

Hosted by


THE NATIONAL RECREATION TRAILS (NRT) program works to preserve and celebrate our nation's pathways. We invite you to explore America’s great national system of trails and greenways.

arrow Search over 1,000 National Recreation Trails in the online database

arrow See the annual designations index of new National Recreation Trails

What are the benefits of becoming a National Recreation Trail?


National Recreation Trails benefit from the prestige and increased visibility of being a part of the National Trail System. New designations are announced annually by the Secretary of Interior and recognized every two years at the National Trails Symposium. See annual designations for new National Recreation Trails.

Other national publicity includes such events as the annual NRT Photo Contest, sponsored by American Trails, which has attracted hundreds of entries from across the country.


NRT logoSuccessful applicants receive a letter and certificate, designating their trail as an NRT. Trail managers are entitled to use the NRT logo in appropriate settings and trail publications. New 3.5" x 3.5" and 8"x 8" NRT logo signs are now available at a nominal cost from American Trails.

arrow Order signs online from the American Trails Store

All NRTs will be included in the online searchable database of trails (sponsored by includes descriptive information, maps, and pictures for trail users. Trail managers provide information about their NRTs for the site. Keep it up to date by sending corrections and additions by e-mail to

A web page for each state highlights Featured Trails with links to more information. For trails without a website, we are providing a page with photos, history, and useful facts about the project.

Other benefits include:

State Trails funding encouraged for NRTs

The Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding for trails to each state through the Federal Highway Administration, provides this guidance on NRTs: "In consultation with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture through the Federal Interagency Council on Trails, States are encouraged to give extra project evaluation credit to projects on National Scenic Trails, National Historic Trails (provided the project provides a recreational purpose), and trails designated as National Recreation Trails."

Where do I go for more information on National Recreation Trails?

Trails for All Americans

NRTs also support the goals of Trails for All Americans. In 1990, the National Trails Agenda Project created a task force of 15 trails leaders who solicited advice from a broad cross section of the trails community nation wide. The resulting Trails for All Americans report was published by American Trails. It calls for a vast, interconnected network of private local, state and federal trails linking neighborhoods, communities, towns and cities, businesses, parks, and states throughout the country. According to the report, "most Americans would live and work within 15 minutes of this system."


trail noteEach year nominations for designation of new National Recreation Trails may be submitted. Details of the program may be found on the NRT website hosted by American Trails: ( The National Recreation Trail Program recognizes trails that provide opportunities for all Americans to enjoy the out-of-doors and improve the quality of life of our communities.



trail database


Facebook Twitter

Stay up to date on legislative issues for trails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


trail database

The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails:


The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training


Promote your trail through the National Recreation Trails Program


PDF  Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  Download Acrobat Reader


section 508 logo American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.