A sampling of National Recreation Trails in the news or recently designated. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.
Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.
Search all of Washington's designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database
Cascadia Marine Trail beckons paddlers along Puget Sound
(photo by Stuart Macdonald)
Bennington Lake Trail System - 20 miles of trails at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mill Creek Project (designated 2012).
Cascadia Marine Trail — This Puget Sound water trail is a network of 55 shoreline campsites for people traveling the Pacific Northwest inland sea in human or wind-powered, beachable watercraft.
Foothills Regional Trail - Pierce County rail trail with paved paths as well as unpaved equestrian trails (designated 2012).
Icicle Creek Nature Trail — This 1-mile interpretive nature trail winds along a beautiful historic channel located on the site of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. This accessible trail meanders through a spectacularly scenic meadow and leads to quiet areas with wildlife viewing blinds and views of salmon habitat. In addition to its scenic features, trail users enjoy outdoor activities such as biking and cross country skiing (designated 2005).
Lena Lake Trail — The Olympic National Forest is home to this scenic 4.5 mile trail which climbs through second growth Douglas fir and into old growth forest. Numerous switchbacks lead the hiker up over a thousand feet of elevation gain to Lena Lake.
North Cascades National Park/Ross Lake NRA Segment of the Pacific Northwest Trail — This 60-mile trail segment is part of a continuous 1,200-mile trail route that runs from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. The trail path includes the Rocky and Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and the Wilderness Coast. In addition to its many scenic gems, the trail also provides recreation for people who enjoy activities like hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife observation (designated 2002).
Shadow of the Sentinels Trail in Mt. Baker-
Snoqualmie National Forest
(photo by Stuart Macdonald)
Oaks to Wetlands Trail — Located in the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, this 6-mile nature trail offers a natural haven for residents of the nearby Portland/ Vancouver metropolitan area. A major highlight of the trail is the nationally recognized archaeological site of the village of Cathlapotle, part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Other trail features include wetlands, native flora, and a host of waterfowl. In addition to its natural and cultural resources, trail users enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. This trail offers a place for area residents to keep in touch with their "wild" neighbors and appreciate the beauty of the type of natural areas that once were common along the lower Columbia River (designated 2005).
Pacific Northwest Trail, Olympic National Park Segment is a 103-mile trail segment that is part of a continuous 1,200-mile trail route that links the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (NST) and Pacific Crest NST with the Pacific Ocean. This section of the trail is significant, because it serves as an east-west backbone to the predominantly north-south trail system within Olympic National Park. The trail takes users through a variety of significant ecosystems and provides stunning views as it travels through the Olympic, Cascade, and Selkirk mountain ranges. In addition to its many natural features, the trail also provides recreational opportunities including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing (designated 2003).
Shadow of the Sentinels — Huge Douglas fir and cedar trees tower above a forest floor of ferns, moss, and berry bushes. There are signs along the route explaining the dynamics of this 500-year-old ancient forest. The trail is constructed of asphalt and boardwalks with grades no greater than 8%. The trail is managed by the USDA Forest Service Mount Baker Ranger District (designated 1979).
Spokane River Centennial Trail follows the beautiful, historic Spokane River for 37 miles from the Idaho state line to Nine Mile Falls, Washington. The paved trail is used both for commuting to work and for pleasure. Annually, more than two million people walk, run, bike, in-line skate, enjoy nature, observe wildlife, picnic on the river’s edge, launch canoes, or just sit and contemplate the rhythmic flow of the river. It is a valued community asset, a free resource for the community, and a destination location (designated 2010).
John Wayne Pioneer Trail — This trail is 108 miles long and links the heavily populated Puget Sound region of western Washington over the Cascades to the more rural and agricultural lands of eastern Washington. This multi-use trail is an essential link in the emerging cross-state trail that will eventually connect Idaho to the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the time of year, visitors can enjoy a number of recreational opportunities including biking, hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. The interesting railroad history, proximity to Seattle, high levels of use, and links to other trails, make this trail a well deserving candidate for designation (designated 2002).