National Trails System Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Monday Oct. 1st, 2018

On October 2, 2018, America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. With the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968, America was given a gift – the creation and protection of some of America’s most iconic places. Today there are 19 National Historic Trails, 11 National Scenic Trails, more than 1,200 National Recreation Trails, and more than 2,000 rail-trails. The National Trails System touches all 50 states and Puerto Rico, crossing rural, suburban, and urban communities. Millions of people enjoy the trails for recreation, physical activity, historical studies, and active transportation each year.

One of the most famous trails in the National Trails System, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) runs 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada. As it winds its way along the spine of the Rocky Mountains through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, the CDT passes through alpine meadows, desert canyons, quaking aspen forests, and imposing mountain ranges, making for a truly beautiful journey through some of America’s most dramatic and rugged terrain. Designated by Congress in 1978, the CDT is the highest, most challenging and most remote of the 11 National Scenic Trails.

This year, the non-profit Continental Divide Trail Coalition partnered with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, youth conservation corps, and volunteers from across the country to mark the entire length of the CDT for the first time in its history – making the Trail easier to find and follow. “We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this important anniversary than by bringing people together to make the CDT more accessible to the American public,” said Brenda Yankoviak, U.S. Forest Service Administrator for the CDT.

For five decades, the National Trails System Act has preserved and protected the trails that lead people into new worlds on foot, by bike, and on horseback. The trails showcase routes as ancient as the Ice Age and as recent as the Selma to Montgomery March. Trails can take you into the deep backcountry or through the center of Washington, D.C. Anniversary celebration events are taking place across the country; visit to find an event near you.

About the Continental Divide Trail
The CDT is one of the world’s premiere long-distance trails, stretching 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Continental Divide. It provides recreational opportunities ranging from hiking to horseback riding to hunting for thousands of visitors each year. While 95% of the CDT is located on public land, approximately 150 miles are still in need of protection.

About the Continental Divide Trail Coalition
The CDTC was founded in 2012 by volunteers and recreationists hoping to provide a unified voice for the Trail. Working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies, the CDTC is a non-profit partner supporting stewardship of the CDT. The mission of the CDTC is to complete, promote and protect the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, a world-class national resource. For more information, please visit