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Featured National Recreation Trails

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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. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.


Guadalupe River Trail, San Jose, California

The Guadalupe River Trail serves as a primary spine linking Downtown San Jose, to the Airport and housing and commercial developments in the heart of Silicon Valley.


California Map

photo of paved trail and underpass

Looking across the river at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge


Along the Guadalupe River Trail, users can access parks and open space, points of historical interest and the many attractions head throughout the year in Downtown San Jose. Surveys indicate that nearly 1,000 people use the Guadalupe River Trail on a daily basis, and of that number, over 50% are commuting to and from work.

Travel along the Guadalupe River Trail offers the user a variety of experiences. Starting from near the San Francisco Bay, the trail user can travel through the Alviso community, with many historic structures from its 19th century boom as San Jose’s port. Further south, the trail user will view Silicon Valley’s many major employment sites and serve to provide access to companies like Cisco, EBay, IBM and others.

Passing along San Jose Norman Y. Mineta International Airport, views of planes landing and departing can be seen. Through the Guadalupe River Park, the trail user can take spur trails to view the nation’s largest collection of antique roses and many other points of interest, dining, and cultural activities can be found in downtown San Jose, and the newest 0.4 mile extension links historical neighborhoods to the trail and park.

photo of people with big trees and buildings

Walkers enjoying the Guadalupe River trail between Woz Way
and Virginia Street


The City partners with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to develop trails along area waterways.  Other partnerships with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Friends of the Guadalupe River & Gardens ensure that annual counts of trail users are conducted. Programming along the Guadalupe River Trail is sponsored by the Friends organization for residents and visitors to learn new skills, gain knowledge or attend events.  Festivals conducted throughout the City help to enliven the trail systems year round.

The City of San Jose is strategically developing a 100-mile trail network by unifying 35 trail systems to provide active transportation and recreation for pedestrians, bicyclists, equestrians and other users. The City has secured NRT designation for 16.4 miles over three trail systems.

A long-term plan is in place to further develop the trail upon completion of flood protection improvements (managed by the Army Corp of Engineers and Santa Clara Valley Water District) through central San Jose and link to existing reaches of the trail (4 miles) in South San Jose with an existing connection to the 6 mile Los Alamitos Creek Trail and Lake Almaden Regional Park. 

photo of downtown and trail

Walkers along the Guadalupe River Trail near Santa Clara Street


The Trail Program has taken several steps to coordinate with the health care industry and encourage healthy living:

 During the summer of 2008, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office developed a “Walk your Own Marathon” program to encourage and support the community in joining department staff for lunch time walks along the City’s downtown trails and streets. Program Staff lead a walk along the Guadalupe River Trail and provided insights about the trail’s design elements and flood control features. 

For more information:

City of San Jose, Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services
200 East Santa Clara Street, 9th Floor, San Jose, CA 95113


photo of airplane art on trail photo of asphalt rollers on trail

trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Trail managers can update online trail information in the NRT database. You may also e-mail information on minor changes or to update Featured NRT pages.



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


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Promote your trail through the National Recreation Trails Program


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