United States/National Trails System

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This page is a work in progress! The content is likely incomplete, inaccurate or empty.

This page details National Scenic and Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails for use in OpenStreetMap in the United States

National Scenic and Historic Trails

National trails are officially established under the authorities of the National Trails System Act (16 USC 1241-51). There are several types:

National scenic trails are 100 miles or longer, continuous, primarily non-motorized routes of outstanding recreation opportunity. Such trails are established by Act of Congress.

National historic trails commemorate historic (and prehistoric) routes of travel that are of significance to the entire Nation. They must meet all three criteria listed in Section 5(b)(11) of the National Trails System Act. Such trails are established by Act of Congress.

National Recreation Trails

For National Recreation Trails there is no designated Federal oversight responsibility, investment, management, or other involvement beyond the designation recognition. The program allows locally managed trails to be recognized for their contribution to the Nation’s system of public trail access and outdoor enjoyment. Many agencies, communities, and States pursue NRT designation to highlight the trail for tourism marketing, promote public access, and to recognize trails as a recreation amenity value for communities.

In OpenStreetMap

How to Map

Mapped Trails

National Historic Trails

information sign

National Historic Trails in the United Sates generally aren’t trails, but rather Auto Routes that follow routes taken by historic individuals. Some of them should be mapped if verifiable, but some may be challenging because they may follow rivers.

For now, please tag the auto route trails with network=US:NHT

National Historic Trails
Trail Name OSM Relation Well Mapped? Type
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail 175 mile route, Has some ways mapped, but no route relation. Auto
California Trail 5,600 mile route; Problems of Verifiability may arise mapping this one, but valid auto routes seem to exist. Auto
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail 3,000-mile route, Only a water route, also may be difficult to verify. Marine
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail 2,600-mile route, Doesn't appear to be mapped at all, but does seem to follow existing roads. Auto/Walking
Camino Real de Tierra Adentro 404-mile route, Doesn't appear to be mapped. Auto
Iditarod Trail relation 7208153 2,400-mile route Special
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail 1,200-mile route Auto/Walking
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail 4,900-mile route Auto/Marine
Mormon Trail 1,300-mile route Auto
Nez Perce National Historic Trail 1,170-mile route Walking
Old Spanish Trail (trade route) 2,700-mile route Auto/Walking
Oregon Trail 2,170-mile route Auto
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail relation 3087601 330-mile route, appears to be in progress Walking
Pony Express#National_Historic_Trail 2,000-mile route Auto
Santa Fe Trail 1,203-mile route Auto
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail relation 13302056 54-mile route Auto
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail 560-mile route Marine
Trail of Tears 5,045-mile route includes roads and rivers Auto
Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route 700-mile road route Auto

National Scenic Trails

National Scenic Trails
Trail Name OSM Relation Well Mapped?
Appalachian National Scenic Trail relation 156553
Arizona Trail relation 2804113 Completely mapped as a single relation
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail relation 921198
Florida National Scenic Trail relation 1163455 Mapped in August 2022 by user:mycota
Ice Age National Scenic Trail relation 2381423
Natchez Trace Trail needs a single relation created, segments are present in OSM
New England National Scenic Trail relation 3672563
North Country National Scenic Trail relation 8808051
Pacific Crest Trail relation 1225378
Pacific Northwest Trail relation 11225405
Potomac Heritage Trail relation 1623950

National Recreation Trails

Because National Recreation Trails can have a diverse meaning, and there are tens of trails per state, it is recommended to work on mapping recreational trails at a statewide level. The search function on the NRT Database is useful for finding all the trails in your state. if you have a page for the trails in your state, link it in the table below.

National Recreation Trails - almost 1300 trails and counting
State Progress
American Trails Database
Alabama Incomplete
Michigan Incomplete
National Water Trails

National Water Trails are a sub-set of the National Recreation Trails Program.


Trail Name Relation
Alabama Scenic River Trail relation 14222682
Arkansas River Water Trail
Bayou Teche Paddle Trail
Black Canyon Water Trail
Bronx River Waterway
Chattahoochee River NRA Water Trail
Chippewa River Water Trail
Flint River Water Trail
Great Miami Watershed Water Trail
Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway
Hudson River Greenway Water Trail
Huron River Water Trail
Kanakakee River Water Trail
Kansas River Water Trail
Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Water Trail
Mississippi River Water Trail
Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail
Mojave Water Trail
Musconetcong Watershed National Water Trail
New York State Canalway Water Trail
North Carolina Smoky Mountain Blueways
Ohio River Water Trail
Okefenokee Wilderness Canoe Trail System
Red Rock Water Trail
Rock River Water Trail
Shiawassee River
South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail
St. Louis River Estuary Water Trail
Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
The Island Loop Route
Trinity River Paddling Trail
Tualatin River Water Trail
Waccamaw River Blue Trail
Willamette River Water Trail

External Links

NPS National Trail System