National Recreation Trails

National Recreation Trails logo
National Recreation Trails logo. © American Trails

The term national recreation trail is given to an existing local or regional trail when recognized by the federal government, with the consent of any federal, state, local, nonprofit, or private entity having jurisdiction over these lands. Today almost 1,300 of these trails have been designated throughout the country. They are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

For more information about national recreation trails, please visit the national recreation trail web site hosted by American Trails, our lead nonprofit partner for this program.

National Water Trails logo
National Water Trail logo. NPS

National Water Trails System

Over the years, a variety of local, state, and federal organizations have identified and developed numerous water trails on rivers, lakes, and other waterways throughout the United States. The new National Water Trails System (NWTS), a subset of the national recreation trails, serves to bring existing and newly identified water trails together into one cohesive national network of exemplary water trails. The National Water Trails System is a network of water trails the public can explore and enjoy, as well as a community of water resource managers that can benefit from information sharing and collaboration.


For more information about the national water trails system, please visit the national water trails system web site.

Last updated: January 16, 2018