Historic Hiking Trails

by Steve Rajtar

Historic Hiking Trails Over 1000 hiking, biking and canoeing trails throughout the U.S. have been recognized by various organizations as having historical importance. Some retrace the route of an important pioneer migration or troop movement during a battle, some commemorate an important event, and others connect several historical sites within a community.

To encourage individuals to hike, bike or canoe these trails, these organizations have established awards for those who wish to purchase them. A person who completes a trail can order an embroidered patch for about $3 to $6 or a medal for $4 to $8, or several other souvenirs of the trail. An avid historical hiker can build up quite a collection.

Most of the trails are sponsored by affiliates of the Boy Scouts of America, generally boy scout troops, local councils or individual adult scouters. Despite their affiliation with boy scouting, the trails and awards are generally open to all, including girl scouts, other youth groups, and anyone who wishes to experience the history of an area.

A problem in the past has been the difficulty in finding out where these trails are and what awards are available, and in obtaining copies of the written hike plans. To provide hikers with this information, I've assembled a comprehensive directory on the subject.

Entitled "Historic Hiking Trails", it includes information on over 1000 current trails, and includes lists of over 370 similar trails which no longer offer awards. For each current trail, information is included which will enable the hiker to decide if the trail is right for him or her, and obtain a copy of a written hike plan to use on the trail itself.

My previous published works on the subject include "Hiking Trails, Eastern United States" and "Hiking Trails, Western United States", both published by McFarland & Co. Each of those books contains information about the historic trails and available awards, but not in as much detail as "Historic Hiking Trails".

If you have an interest in hiking, biking, canoeing, history, or collecting patches and medals, click on the following: