Colorado is a huge biking state and it seems crazy to think that our state is being bypassed by the cross-country bike trail linking Washington state with Washington, D.C.

The Great American Rail Trail is a proposed 3,700-mile bike trail running from coast to coast, but it doesn't look like Colorado will be part of the trail.  The route from east to west will start in Washington, D.C, then through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and ending 35 miles from Seattle, Washington.

The cross-country trail will utilize 1900 miles of existing rail-trail systems through 12 states, which means the project is over halfway completed. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has spent a great amount of time dealing with state agencies and local partnering organizations, and, of course, analyzing routes across the nation.

The idea of  Great American Trail was conceived in the late 1980s and is designed to keep bicyclists off the highways and out of traffic, making it a much safer option for cyclists who want to trek across the country. Organizers wanted to implement a route that would "provide the highest-quality experience for all types of trail users." Traveling over Colorado's Rocky Mountains does not fit the criteria. Ultimately, the entire trail will be bikeable and walkable.

Fundraising efforts are underway to raise an undisclosed amount of finances needed to complete the project. While a target completion date has not been set, it's hoped completion will come within "the next few decades."

[RAILS TO TRAILS]