June 3, 2022 |The Conservation Fund | Land

Time to Hit the Trail! Celebrating National Trails Day

6 4 22 NC AldenHiking c Stacy FunderburkePhoto by Stacy Funderburke.

National Trails Day® celebrates not only national scenic and historic trails, but also advocating for, maintaining, and appreciating all trails on public lands. It is difficult to choose a favorite from the many trails we’ve helped establish and protect, so we won’t even try! But we will spotlight a few for inspiration and hope that you get out and explore a trail near you.

Sassafras Mountain Trail
North & South Carolina

Sassafras Mountain is the highest point in South Carolina, rising 3,554 feet above sea level. A popular hiking destination, this mountaintop rests on the border of North and South Carolina and offers spectacular views. Just last month, a long-awaited 2-mile hiking trail was built through North Carolina’s Headwaters State Forest to the peak of Sassafras Mountain, giving hikers a direct way to access the observation platform that South Carolina built atop the mountain in 2019. This effort represents a longstanding partnership between the two states and The Conservation Fund. Over roughly twenty years, we helped protect 40,000 acres around Sassafras Mountain at both the Headwaters State Forest in North Carolina and the Jocassee Gorges Management Area in South Carolina.

We were honored to attend the trail opening in late May 2022—learn more about the celebration and trail access options.

6 4 22 Sassafras Trail Allen Forrest FlickrPhoto by Allen Forrest/Flickr.

6 4 22 Sassafras Trail map 2


Pinhoti Trail

Thanks to the work of The Conservation Fund and our partners, the Pinhoti Trail is now 339 miles long and connects, through the Benton MacKaye Trail, with the Appalachian Trail in Springer Mountain, Georgia. Designated as a Millennium Legacy Trail, the Pinhoti Trail is best accessed at its southern terminus, the Flagg Mountain Trailhead, which offers an open-air shelter, kiosks and parking area for explorers to set out on their trek within the beautiful Alabama wilderness. Look for light blue blazes with the logo mark of a turkey track, chosen because “Pinhoti” is a Creek Indian word meaning “turkey home.”

6 4 22 Pinhoti Trail AL c Ivan LaBianca201809077 6 4 22 Pinhoti Trail Sign GA c Stacy Funderburke
Photos by Ivan LaBianca (left) and Stacy Funderburke (right).


Fort to Sea Trail (part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail)

Captain Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their Corps of Volunteers for Northwest Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean on the present-day border of Oregon and Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River, where they built Fort Clatsop. The 6.5-mile Fort to Sea Trail winds through the woods south of Fort Clatsop to Sunset Beach on the Pacific Ocean, cutting through deep woods, muddy bogs and windswept beaches. To date, through our Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Initiative, the Fund has helped conserve more than 25,000 acres along the famous route, including land protected at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Oregon and Washington.

Want to virtually hike the Fort to Sea Trail with The Conservation Fund and Google Trekker? Just click this photo to experience it for yourself:
6 4 22 Fort to Sea trail


Fiery Gizzard Trail

The Fiery Gizzard Trail is approximately 17 miles long, stretching from Tracy City to Foster Falls in Marion County, Tennessee, and is one of the top hiking trails in the nation. Half the trail had been privately owned, and The Conservation Fund worked with partners to protect it permanently. Located in the heart of the South Cumberland Plateau, Fiery Gizzard is more than just fun to say! It is one of the most intact, biologically diverse natural landscapes remaining in the eastern United States, and home to some of Tennessee’s most beautiful natural areas and incomparable recreational opportunities.

6 4 22 FieryGizzard Tennessee ClaireRobinette0036 4 22 FieryGizzard Tennessee TNDepartmentofAgriculture006Photos by Claire Cooney (left) and Tennessee Department of Agriculture (right).

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York

Does a trail have to be on solid ground? Not necessarily! You can row or paddle the waters of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which travels nearly 3,000 miles across the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers through several states. The Conservation Fund led the creation of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the first entirely water-based trail in the National Trail System. Officially launched in 2007, the trail has been expanded to include rivers beyond the reach of Smith’s historic travels. This trail provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn about Native American history, early English settlement and the Chesapeake Bay’s natural resources through trail maps and guidebooks, classroom and field experiences, museum and website exhibits and interpretive buoys.

Paddle along with The Conservation Fund on a virtual exploration with Google Trekker by clicking this photo:
6 4 22 Screen Shot 2022 05 23 at 2.12.23 PM


Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

Not all trails are hikes through the forest! The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail follows the route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama, which began in Selma and continued 54 miles until the Alabama state capitol building in Montgomery. The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail consists of three National Park Service Interpretive Centers: Selma Interpretive Center in Selma; Lowndes Interpretive Center in White Hall; and Montgomery Interpretive Center, in Montgomery on the campus of Alabama State University.

6 4 22 Selma to Montgomery campsite 1 sign

If you live nearby, you can attend a screening of the documentary “54 Miles to Home” at the Lowndes Interpretive Center on Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 12 p.m. This film is an intimate portrait of three extraordinary individuals and their families who remain the owners and stewards of campsites along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail where marchers stayed along the way.

6 4 22 selma to montgomery map

Written by

The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.8 million acres of land.