The possibility of a rail-trail that spans the country has been known since the mid-1980s. The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy (RTC) leads the way in planning and inspiring this dream and has committed its expertise and resources to complete this project. The Great American Rail-Trail is a cross-country trail that will run 3,700 miles between Washington D.C. and Washington State and cross 12 states. The preferred route connects 145+ existing rail-trails, greenways and other multiuse paths spanning more than 3,700 miles. The planned trail is already more than 53% complete with over 2,000 completed miles on the ground and will be within 50 miles of 50 million Americans.
RTC worked with communities, organizations and public agencies in Montana to identify the most likely successful route through the state. Currently the route will generally run from Yellowstone Park, to Livingston, Bozeman, Three Forks, Butte, Anaconda, Ravalli County, Missoula and along the Route of the Olympian and connect with the Route of the Hiawatha in Idaho! Many other trails in Montana will serve as connectors with this route and be important parts of the system. For more information and the preferred map go to https://www.railstotrails.org/greatamericanrailtrail/route/.