The Great American Rail Trail will span from coast to coast!

Pump up your bike tires, dust off your running shoes, or get out your hiking boots: you're going on a 4,000-mile long adventure.

Starting in Washington, D.C., and ending in the other Washington (yup, that's Washington state, folks), the Great American Rail Trail will guide adventurers, outdoor lovers, and exercise enthusiasts across 12 states and connect with several other already established trails. This is going to be pretty great, too, because it's been in the works for 30 years and will continue to be for years to come.

So, why get excited about it now? 

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy plans to drop route information this spring so you can get planning and packing! Bonus: the project is already halfway done! RTC was waiting to make an official commitment to the project until this point so that their dream became a tangible reality.

I'm already giddy thinking about miles of "seamless" trails to venture. Road runners and cyclists know too well how dangerous it can be when a trail abruptly stops and then picks up again a mile or so down a busy street. It changes the mood of the workout, the flow of the pace, and can jar you out of your mindset.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Courtesy of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

After D.C., the states included on this trail will be Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. So if you haven't had the opportunity to visit some of those places or you haven't had the opportunity to travel cross country, now's your chance. RTC claims that the Great American Rail Trail will take its place among the country's national treasures. You'll get a taste of trails like Capital Crescent Trail, the C&O Canal, and the Casper Rail Trail along the way.

Ultra runners, cyclists, and weathered hikers already know this, but be sure to pack smart! This means lots of nutrient-dense food, extra moisture-wicking clothes, first aid, and water, water, water. You may even want to pack this stuff even if you plan on turning around after a short while. The temptation of the open, endless road may be too much to resist!

The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness in and around Annapolis, MD.

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