Anniversary Events

Events took place around the country throughout 2018 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Here are just a few of the hundreds of events. You can learn more about the celebration in our highlighted media coverage.


National Trails Day

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System, American Hiking Society encouraged trail enthusiasts nationwide to "Join the Party" on National Trails Day and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System. A goal was set to improve 2,802 miles of trail, the distance across the U.S. in a single day. Overall 108,947 participants at 1,203 events across the country improved nearly 4,000 miles of trail in a single day. Prior to National Trails Day, the public was encouraged to pledge to improve a trail in celebration of the 50th Anniversary. Overall 24,192 volunteers performed work valued at $2.65 million. 


Available Online

Two Sister Trails, One Celebration. On October 2, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the designation of our nation’s first two National Scenic Trails: the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. Watch the webcast!

Doppelt Family Rail-Trail Champion Award

On the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda, Maryland, the Rails to Trails Conservancy honored Pete Raynor as the 2018 Doppelt Family Rail-Trail Champion!  One of the most important moments in the history of the rail-trail movement happened behind the scenes, with little fanfare or notice when National Park Service staffer Peter Raynor drafted the 1983 Railbanking Act. With just two sentences, simple yet specific, he helped make thousands of miles of trails a reality by enabling railroad corridors to be “banked” for future use through interim use as trails. Click here to see a video of the award presentation.

Walking Down a Dream


On October 2, family, friends, and trail fans welcomed photographer Bart Smith to Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri, as he took the final steps of his decades-long journey to thru-hike all 30 of the National Scenic and Historic Trails. He received a Proclamation from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. Click here to read more about Bart’s adventures, and visit to see Bart’s beautiful trail photos.

AZT in a day

On Saturday October 6, 2018, hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians gathered on the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) to collectively complete the entire length of the 800-mile trail in a single day. They amazingly completed 96% of the trail, missing out on that last bit due to severe weather and road closures. Good news! AZT in a Day is returning on October 12, 2019, so save the date!

National Trails Festival

The Florida Trail Association celebrated the anniversary with 450 of their closest friends in Deland, Florida. Attendees, presenters, tabling organizations, workshop instructors, and FTA staff and volunteers gathered to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. See photos from the October 2018 event here.

ALDHA Anniversary Hikes

During 2018, the Appalachian Long Distance Hiking Association (ALDHA) created 11 National Scenic Trails teams of hikers with each member hiking or biking at least 50 miles on their team’s NST in honor of the 50th Anniversary.  In total, ALDHA members hike/biked over 11,000 miles.