Where will you hike this weekend?

51 years ago this year, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Trails System Act into law, which called for establishing trails in urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities. The act established four classes of trails: national scenic trails, national historic trails, national recreation trails, and side and connecting trails.

Four Classes of National Trails

The National Park Service describes each category: scenic trails are continuous and wind through protected corridors; the first two scenic trails designated under the act were the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. National historic trails recognize original trails or routes of travel of national historic significance, including past routes of exploration, migration, and military action.

The designation of national recreation trail is given to an existing local or regional trail when it has been recognized by the federal government, with the consent of the private or public owner of the land. Today, almost 1,300 national recreation trails have been designated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Side and connecting trails provide additional access to and between components of the National Trails System. To date, seven have been designated.

Celebrating National Trails Day

To deepen the connection between people and land, in 1993, the American Hiking Society established National Trails Day with the aim of uniting hikers, cyclists, equestrians, and paddlers in improving and repairing trail systems around the country. It’s an opportunity for people to try something new, explore wild spaces, and leave a trail better than they found it.

Now held annually on the first day of June, National Trails Day is a day for everyone to get out and about and enjoy public lands – undoubtedly one of this country’s greatest national treasures.

Here are three ways you can celebrate this weekend:

  1. Take a Hike. Click here to find a trail event near your ZIP code. Or check out events in Boulder, Broomfield, Superior (June 2), Erie, Arvada, Lakewood, Loveland, or Larkspur
  2. Sign the Pledge. Celebrate your love of all things trails by signing the American Hiking Society’s pledge to clean up or volunteer on a trail service project on June 1, or beyond. (Or, you can just buy the commemorative t-shirt.)
  3. Share a Photo. Share your National Trails Day photos on Instagram and tag @AmericanHiking with the hashtag #NationalTrailsDay and you could win a gear package full of everything you need to hit the longest trail this summer, and beyond. You’ve got until June 19 to enter.

Of course, you never need an organized event to head out on the trails or to help keep them pristine. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a taste for adventure. (Sunscreen and a bottle of water are a good idea, too!)

See you out there on the trails, Colorado!