Bucket List 2021 - A Path to Reconnect: The Great American Rail-Trail
What if I told you a grassroots organization of over 1 million strong has been developing a path to reconnect America and put 2020 behind us?
Since 2019, members of this country's largest trails organization have dedicated themselves to a Grand Vision of America connected by trails - through a nationwide network of public trails, many of them former rail lines. Now that it is well over half-way complete, 2021 may be the perfect time to experience the Great American Rail-Trail - on an ebike!
Image: Rails to Trails
Ending 2020 with over 2,000 on-the-ground miles, this signature project of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) envisions a trail for everyone to explore, separated from vehicle traffic and spanning more than 3,700 miles from Washington, D.C., to Washington State. The route will ultimately connect 145+ existing rail-trails, greenways and other multiuse paths, making this trail perfectly suited for the usability and benefits of riding an ebike.
“As the Great American Rail-Trail connects more towns, cities, states and regions, this infrastructure serves as the backbone of resilient communities, while uniting us around a bold, ambitious and impactful vision.”
- Ryan Chao, President of RTC.
If you're one of the nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route, or live in one of the 12 states the Great American traverses, you have no excuse but to add this one to your Bucket List. And with Ebike-escapes situated in the heartland of one of the host states: Indiana, we're making plans to utilize our mobile rental fleet of Rad Power Bikes to allow our fellow Hoosiers access to the more than 113 completed miles of trails. The rail-trail is hosted by these nine existing trails throughout the Hoosier state:
Image: Rails to Trails
Cardinal Greenway - 62 Miles
The longest rail-trail in Indiana which connects Marion, Muncie, Losantville, Richmond and other small towns in rural northeastern Indiana was named after the passenger train, Cardinal, that once regularly ran this route.
Sweetser Switch Trail - 4 miles
A paved rail-trail joins the 2-mile Converse Junction Trail in the west and a segment of the Cardinal Greenway in the east, named from the installation of a 0.5-mile railroad switch in 1869 that spawned the community.
Converse Junction Trail - 2 miles
Smooth asphalt along a former Penn Central railroad line, linking the small Indiana communities of Converse and Mier.
Cardinal Greenway, IN. Image: Leifschon Walker
Nickel Plate Trail - 36.9 miles
Traverses rural Indiana from Rochester south to the outskirts of Kokomo, with a short gap in the middle in Peru. The rail-trail runs along the former corridor of the Peru & Indianapolis Railroad chartered in 1846.
Monterey Erie Trail - 0.6 miles
Paved pathway that occupies the same railbanked corridor as the longer North Judson Erie Trail to its west, with plans to link the two rail-trails in the future.
North Judson Erie Trail - 9 miles
Occupies the railbanked right-of-way of the former JK Line Railroad, and passes through a landscape of hardwood forest, sand prairies and wetlands.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail and John Wayne Trail, WA. Image: Amy Connell McGrath
Veterans Memorial Trail - 1.2 miles
When complete, the Veterans Memorial Trail will stretch close to 12 miles, connecting a series of memorials honoring US veterans from every era.
Erie Lackawanna Trail - 17.7 miles
The paved path follows a railroad corridor that had been in use since the late 1800s and connects Crown Point and Hammond. Despite traveling through the densely populated Chicago metropolitan area, the trail is bordered by green space and traverses wetlands and parks along the way.
Pennsy Greenway - 12.5 miles
Stretches between Calumet City, Illinois, to Rohrman Park in Schererville Indiana. The trail runs on the former Penn Central Railway, and is currently incomplete, but is paved at segments in Lansing, Munster, and Schererville.
C&O Canal Towpath, MD. Image: Tonya Pogoretskaya
We've added these trails to our bucket list for 2021, but with just over 50% complete of the 220 connecting miles, there's still 108 gap miles left to go. Thankfully, with current revenues stronger than expected, Governor Holcomb recently announced the state will proceed with the approximately $65 million Next Level Trails grant program and $110 million of deferred maintenance projects. Until the project is fully completed, those gaps won't be a problem for Ebike-escapes brightly-wrapped truck. Capable of hauling 8 ebikes, we can deliver our ebikes to trail-heads along your preferred route. If you'd love to Get Out and Ride the Great American Rail-Trail, but don't have an ebike, connect with us as we reconnect our Great America!