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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. See more trails designated as National Recreation Trails in 2010.


James F. Hall National Recreation Trail - Newark, Delaware

The popular cross-town pedestrian and bicycle trail in downtown Newark has an eight-foot wide hard surface and is lighted for 24-hour use. The trail passes through three city parks, over two streams, througha pristine wetland area, and links residential neighborhoods, University of Delaware student housing, the Delaware Technology Park, and a shopping center.


Delaware Map

photo of trail bridge

Lewis Park Bridge. on the James F. Hall Trail

The James F. Hall Trail is named for the late and long-time Newark Parks and Recreation Director. The trail is 1.76 miles long and runs east to west across the City of Newark in New Castle County, Delaware. Located adjacent to the Amtrak and Penn Central rail lines, the trail is a unique example of the rails to trails concept.

For its short length, the trail is jam-packed with a variety of distinctive features and is itself a popular downtown destination. Open for public use since 2003, the trail passes through three City parks which feature a variety active recreation facilities including tennis and basketball courts, children’s playground equipment, picnic pavilions, a softball field and parking. Each parking lot provides direct access to the trail.

It also passes through a pristine wetland area and the Old Newark Train Station, which is home to the Newark Historical Society. The trail features footbridge crossings of two tributaries of the White Clay Creek, a designated National Wild & Scenic River.

The trail provides safe and easy access to the outdoors for more than 28,000 residents of Newark and the surrounding suburbs, 20,000 students, faculty and staff of the University of Delaware with access to student housing units, a child care facility, the Delaware Technology Park , several residential neighborhoods, the College Square Shopping Center and is within two blocks of three local schools.

photo of walker on paved trail

The trail is lighted for 24 hour use

The trail is hard surfaced and relatively flat, ADA accessible, allows for intermodal access to Amtrak and SEPTA rail service, lighted for 24 hour use and is equipped with emergency call boxes which are link directly to the local police department dispatch center.

A unique features of this urban trail is that one can travel the entire length without having to stop to cross a street and it can be accessed from several streets that dead end at or near the trail. The trail was constructed on properties owned by the City of Newark and permanent easements provided by the University of Delaware and Amtrak. Newark’s Parks and Recreation Department manages and maintains the trail.

While the trail is used predominantly by individual and family walkers, joggers, bicyclists and roller bladders, several charity run/walk and bicycle events are conducted on all or part of the trail each year.

In addition to now being a National Recreation Trail, the Hall Trail recently became part of the East Coast Greenway Trail System, a Atlantic Coast greenway corridor linking Maine to Florida, and was an important element of consideration for Newark’s recent designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

photo of trail in park

James F. Hall National Recreation Trail in Newark, Delaware

Thanks are due to the many partners that helped make the trail a reality. The City of Newark partnered with the Newark Bike Committee, University of Delaware, Amtrak, and Delaware’s Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to make the project happen.

The Newark Bike Committee was an early driving force, developing the trail concept in 1996. $1.95 million in funding was provided by the City of Newark, Federal Highway Administration TEA-21 Program, Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund, and Delaware Department of Transportation.

A new 2-mile trail addition, which will be known as the Pomeroy and Newark Rail Tail (currently under development), will connect to the Hall Trail extending north through Newark into the White Clay Creek State Park and Preserve in northwest Delaware and southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.

For more information:

Please contact Charles Emerson, City of Newark Parks and Recreation Director at (302) 366-7060 or e-mail or go to and click on “Parks and Trails.”

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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