• When was the First Rail Trail?

  • General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.
General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.

Moderator: railtrailbiker

  by donredhead
 
Could it be---Alexandria to Roslyn in DC? or The Bike and Hike Trail in Cleveland that opened up in 1972? Or the trail that Follows Chicago's waterfront that was old railroad wharves on Lake Michigan that was done in the 1960s
  by CarterB
 
I guess it depends on whether you mean 'official' rail trail. (meaning state or local gov't funded or approved)
Many abandoned ROW's became 'trails' just by being abandoned, and then used by local residents. For example, many parts of the North Jersey Rapid Transit ROW in NJ has been used as a trail since it's abandonment in 1928. Many parts of its ROW still are unofficially used as 'trails'.
  by Munchabunch
 
The Cathedral Aisle Trail in Aiken, SC has been open since September 1939.
  by SemperFidelis
 
People in Lake Ariel, PA talk about thier parents and parent's parents having used the grade of the old Gravity Railroad for hiking (an old Boy Scout spoke about this once referencing the 1910s) and horse riding (stable owners) since it was replaced by a conventional rail line in the 1850s. As an unofficial trail, I'd imagine it would be hard to get much older than that.
  by Scalziand
 
Through the years the prosperity of the [New York and New England Railroad] rail line ebbed and flowed, but by 1931 passenger service had run its course. Fifty years after it began, it was discontinued. Freight traffic, including the regular milk trains, hung on through the 1930s but finally fell victim to the depression. The line was abandoned in 1939.

In 1943, four years after the abandonment, a 10.3 mile section [from Naugatuck to Southbury] was purchased and gifted to the State by Dr. Charles L. Larkin. His gift was for the express purposes of establishing a state park and bridle trail – recreation for the very animals the railroads worked so hard to keep off the tracks 60 years earlier.
http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=434808" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Not the oldest trail in this thread, but it's up there.
  by electricron
 
The J. Manley Robbins Trail is a former railroad line for the "Montour," a 10-ton narrow gauge locomotive used for carrying iron ore betwen deposits and furnaces. The line was converted to a bicycle path in the 1890's, making it the oldest 'Rails to Trails' in the country. The trail now connects with additional trails and recreation amenities at the Hess Field Complex.
http://susquehannagreenway.org/danville" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
1890s will be hard to beat. :wink: