The American Discovery Trail

by Dave on June 9, 2008

Hundreds of thousands of people annually take a dip in the ocean off of the coastline of Cape Henlopen State Park. It is as much a part of summer in Delaware as crab eating and outlet shopping. But for some, Cape Henlopen State Park represents the culmination of a journey most people would consider unfathomable or the beginning of the trip of a lifetime — The American Discovery Trail.

With Cape Henlopen and California’s Point Reyes National Seashore serving as endpoints, the American Discovery Trail bills itself as “the nation’s only coast-to-coast, non-motorized trail. Stretching across 6,800 miles and 15 states, the ADT links some of the country’s most spectacular natural areas-mountains and prairies, deserts and canyons-with historic forts, small towns, and city greenways, and allows people to hike, bike, or ride horses for an afternoon, a weekend, a month-long vacation across a state, or a coast-to-coast adventure.

“The ADT passes through 14 national parks and 16 national forests and connects five national scenic trails, 10 national historic trails, 23 national recreation trails, and many local and regional trails, and passes some 10,000 points of historic, scenic, cultural or natural significance. The route was first scouted on a 14-month expedition in 1990-91 by a three-member team recruited by the American Hiking Society and Backpacker magazine. The ADT was named one of 16 Millennium Trails by the U.S. Department of Transportation and recommended by the National Park Service as the first of a new category of National Discovery Trails.”

The route takes travelers across states in varying distances, from just 44.6 miles in the First State to 912 miles across Colorado. The ADT incorporates many other trails and parks along the journey, from Rock Creek Park outside Washington, DC to the National Frontier Trails Center in Missouri to Utah’s Kokopeli Trail.

The first coast-to-coast trek was completed by Joyce and Peter Cottrell (both over 50!) on August 18, 2003. They left Cape Henlopen on March 5, 2002. The first complete trek of the ADT in the same year was completed by Ken and Marcia Powers (also over 50!), who left Lewes on February 27, 2005 and completed their journey in California on October 15, 2005.

The American Discovery Trail is an amazing asset to our country, and another thing that makes Coastal Sussex great.

Comments on this entry are closed.

[CoastalSussex] on Twitter[Coastal Sussex] on Facebook[Our] RSS Feed[Our] Email