Group Travel Pros Spend More Time on TRIPinfo Than Any Travel Site
 
Trails Across the USA

The Montana Dinosaur Trail

Montana Dinosaur Trail
Roam the land before time where the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops lived only a few million years ago by following The Montana Dinosaur Trail. Visit museums with a definite wow-factor as they showcase huge dinosaur skeletons, replicas, other fossils as well as paleontology displays and interpretations. Field digs, educational programs and guided tours are available along the trail.

Among the trail's many stops are:
  • 10+ different dinosaur species including Triceratops and the rare Thescelosaur have been found in Makoshika State Park in Glendive; the Makoshika Dinosaur Museum displays fossils;

  • The Fort Peck Interpretive Center and Museum in Fort Peck features one of the most complete Tyannosaurus rex skeletons ever found, discovered just 20 miles from Fort Peck. A life size model greets visitors as they enter in the lobby;

  • Garfield County Museum in Jordan showcases Creatceous fossils, a full-size Triceratops replica and a full T. rex skull;

  • The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum and Field Station in Malta displays rare fossils plus the mummy dinosaur named the 'best preserved' by the Guinness Book of World Records;

  • Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum is home to the first baby dinosaur bones found in North America and other dinosaur displays. Educational programs and hands-on dinosaur research; some programs give college credit.

  • Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman houses one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world including the largest T. rex skull in the world and the first identified female dinosaur.



The Texas BBQ Trail

The Texas BBQ Trail
Far from the predictable fare of chain restaurants are the one-of-a-kind BBQ restaurants in Central Texas who serve the Texas trinity of barbecue: brisket, ribs and sausage. Withstanding the test of time are the famous barbecue restaurants in these towns. Each has delicious food and a strong barbecue heritage:
  • Elgin, the Sausage Capital of Texas, is home to the oldest barbecue restaurant in Texas – the Southside Market & Barbeque, established in 1882. Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, founded in 1949, has been named the Best BBQ in Central Texas for 15+ years. Both restaurants are famous for their sausage and families who brought their recipes and expertise to Texas from their native homeland of Germany.

  • Proclaimed the “Barbecue Capital of Texas by the Texas Legislature, Lockhart has 4 BBQ restaurants who estimate 250,000 people eat BBQ in the town each year – not bad for a town with a population of ~12,000. The restaurants are: Black's Barbecue is one of the oldest continually-owned and family-operated BBQ restaurants in Texas since 1932. Kreuz Market, pronounced "Krites," opened in 1900 and serves beef, sausage and pork on brown butcher paper with no sauce or forks. Since 1999, Smitty's Market serves sausage & brisket smoked over seasoned oak firewood. Chisholm Trail BBQ began serving briskets, ribs, sausages and fish in 1978.

  • The barbecue stars in Luling are City Market, opened in 1958 and famous for ribs, sausage, brisket and the tasty thin yellow mustard sauce, and Luling Bar-B-Q, established in 1986 and known for sausage, burgers, chicken, pork and brisket.

  • Taylor is home to Louie Mueller Barbecue, established 1949, serves brisket, sausage, ribs, pork, chopped beef and turkey. Today's chef and owner Bobby Mueller received a James Beard Award in the "America's Classic" Division in 2006.

  • The barbecue restaurants in Austin receiving rave reviews include: Franklin Barbecue, Iron Works BBQ, and Stubb's Bar-B-Q, Lamberts Downtown Barbecue and La Barbecue.

  • If you are in San Antonio, good stops for some Texas 'cue are: Texas Pride Barbecue, The Big Bib, The Granary 'Cue & Brew.

Pictured right: The Central Texas trinity of barbecue is brisket, ribs and sausage. The meat is often smoked over seasoned oak firewood.




The Southern Literary Trail

Southern Literary Trail
In April 2005, Southern Literature enthusiasts met in the Montgomery, AL home of F. Scott Fitzgerald to discuss the creation of a pathway uniting the homes of writers from the South with the landmarks that inspired their great Southern novels and plays. After 3 years of meetings in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, the group mapped a journey stretching from Natchez to Savannah and created the The Southern Literary Trail, America's only tri-state literary trail. Its purpose is to celebrate the great novelists and playwrights of Classic Southern Literature and to connect and preserve the homes of these writers and the southern places that inspired their classic works of the 20th Century. Since 2008, visitors have been able to experience these literary destinations:

  • Mississippi: Clarksdale - Tennessee Williams; Columbus - Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty; Como - Stark Young; Greenville - Walker Percy, Shelby Foote; Jackson - Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Margaret Walker Alexander;
    Natchez - Richard Wright; New Albany - Borden Deal, William Faulkner; Oxford - William Faulkner;

  • Alabama: Demopolis - Lillian Hellman; Hartselle - William Bradford Huie; Mobile - Eugene Walter, William March, Albert Murray; Monroeville - Truman Capote, Harper Lee; Montgomery - Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald; Tuskegee - Ralph Ellison, Albert Murray;

  • Georgia: Atlanta - Margaret Mitchell, Joel Chandler Harris; Blairsville - Byron Herbert Reece; Clayton - Lillian Smith; Columbus - Carson McCullers; Milledgeville - Flannery O'Connor, Alice Walker; Moreland - Erskine Caldwell; Savannah - Flannery O'Connor.

A festival of the Trail, the biennial Trailfest – the nation's only tri-state literary festival – returns to Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia from February through May 2015 with free events, theatrical performances and heritage tours.
Pictured above: The Wren's Nest was the home of Joel Chandler Harris from 1881 to 1908. He wrote many of the Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit tales on this very front porch. Storytellers perform every Saturday at 1pm.


The Great Wisconsin Cheese Trail

Wisconsin Cheese Trail
Looking for a culinary adventure? Try the Wisconsin Cheese Trail. You might expect to find award-winning cheese from the state that leads the U.S. in the production of cheese – providing 40% of the nation's cheese. And Wisconsin, nicknamed the Dairy State, doesn't disappoint. The trail showcases the 60 artisan cheese makers who currently produce 600 different types of cheese including hundreds of complex, one-of-a-kind artisanal, farmstead and organic varieties made by hand in small batches.

Epicurean visitors may also experience:
  • Restaurants featuring local farm-fresh ingredients, wine pairings, gourmet German sausage, and native beer;

  • Farmers’ markets and culinary shopping venues;

  • Tours of cheese makers, breweries, and wineries;

  • Food history lessons, cooking classes & demonstrations.

The Southwestern Itinerary of the trail features Madison, Green County, Prairie du Sac, Sauk City, Plain, and Spring Green, while the Eastern Itinerary includes Milwaukee, Cedarburg, Theresa, Adell, Kohler, Elkhart Lake, & Appleton.
Pictured right: Fromagination Cheese Market - one of the state’s premier cheese shops.

Photo Courtesy TravelWisconsin.com


The Coal Heritage Trail

View of the New River Gorge Bridge on the Coal Heritage Trail
The Coal Heritage Trail tells an American story recognizing the importance of coal to West Virginia and the nation as it fueled the Industrial Revolution. The trail blends history and heritage together with the area’s natural beauty as it winds through 13 counties and 187+ miles of the Appalachian Mountains.

Trail highlights include the Canyon Rim Visitor Center featuring photographs, exhibits, and beautiful views of the New River Gorge and Bridge. Another great stop is the Journey Beneath the Earth inside a coalmine. Authentic “man cars” carry visitors 1,500 feet under a hillside at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.

Don’t miss the well-preserved Victorian and Tudor mansions of Bramwell, the “Town of Millionaires.” It had the largest number of millionaires per capita of any town in America in the late 1800s. Other stops include train stations, murals, and farms plus recreational opportunities like golfing, hiking, biking, and bird watching.


The Johnny Appleseed Trail

A view of quaint New England near the Johnny Appleseed Trail
The Johnny Appleseed Trail in North Central Massachusetts follows Route 2 between the Freedom Trail and the Mohawk Trail. The scenic Appleseed Trail winds through historic and quaint New England cities and towns in the region that is the birthplace of John Chapman – the American legend who became known as Johnny Appleseed as he traveled across the nation planting apple trees.

From July through the fall harvest, many orchards produce scores of shiny varieties of apples. And that’s not all. Throughout most of the year, growers encourage visitors of all ages to pick their own fruit or vegetables like peaches, strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, beans and pumpkins and enjoy hayrides, animal petting and baked goods.

Stop by the Johnny Appleseed Trail Visitor Center in Lancaster, about 45 minutes from Boston, to pick up a copy of the Guide to the Johnny Appleseed Trail and check the many seasonal offerings.


The Trail of Time

Follow the bronze markers along the Trail of Time
where 1 meter = 1,000,000 years!
No other place in the world gives a better perspective on Time than the Grand Canyon. Now, visitors can see the largest geoscience interpretative exhibit, the Trail of Time, along the heavily visited South Rim of the Grand Canyon, AZ – between the Yavapai Observation Station and Grand Canyon Village.

Since opening in 2010, this 1,800 meter (~1.2 miles) paved interpretive walking timeline trail has helped millions of visitors explore and understand the magnitude of geologic time and the stories of the rock layers and landscapes.

The trail is scaled so that one meter = one million years of earth history. From the trail, visitors enjoy spectacular vistas and features of the young Grand Canyon carved by the Colorado River only 6 million years ago – that’s very recent in geological terms. However, the real “rock” stars are the 2 billion year old rocks that had been buried for millions and millions of years and are now being exposed by erosion.

How to get there: Shuttle buses go to either end of the Trail of Time, from either the Yavapai Observation Station or the Verkamps building. Stop by the remodeled geology museum at the Yavapai Observation Station.


The Music Highway

Elvis Statue
Travel the Music Highway – a 222-mile section of I-40 from Memphis to Nashville – celebrating America's musical heritage in the birthplace of rock n' roll, country, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B. The Highway traces the music, lives and contributions of the numerous singers and songwriters who were born or lived along I-40. Here are some Highway highlights:

In Memphis, experience Elvis at Graceland; tour the 3 blocks of restaurants, night clubs & shops on Beale Street where legendary blues performers such as B. B. King perform. Learn more about Beale Street's history at the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Hear the renowned R&B label Stax Records' story with their performers like Aretha Franklin and Isaac Hayes at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Tour Sun Studio where legends like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich launched their careers. Visit Gibson's Memphis guitar factory and the home of the "father of the blues" W. C. Handy at the W.C. Handy House.

East of Memphis on I-40 in Southwest Tennessee, visitors learn more about the region's powerful musical history as they get to the home of Sleepy John Estes, one of the most famous blue musicians, in Brownsville. The International Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame Museum is in Jackson. Another Music Highway attraction includes the Patsy Cline Memorial in Camden.

One of the first things everyone wants to do in Nashville is stop by the Grand Ole Opry for a backstage tour or a concert. Stroll Music Row and visit the historic RCA Studio B where 35,000+ songs were recorded including 260 songs by Elvis. Take a tour or see a concert at the Ryman Auditorium, known as the "Mother Church of Country Music." Visit the newly-expanded Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the largest popular music museum in the world, see exhibits featuring country music legends and pick up gifts, clothing and music at one of the 4 retail stores. Other sites to see include the Johnny Cash Museum, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum – honoring all music genres, Bluebird Cafe, the Wildhorse Saloon and a host of other clubs featuring talented singers & songwriters.
Pictured right: Statue of Elvis Presley in Memphis


The Lewis and Clark Trail

Columbia River
The Lewis and Clark Trail encompasses some of the most beautiful and rugged areas of North America.

The trail follows the approximate path of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their historic journey from the plains of the Midwest to the Pacific Ocean. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the uncharted West, Lewis and Clark left Washington, DC in 1803, made their way across the country to the Pacific Ocean, then returned in 1806.

Today, this cultural destination covers more than 4,600 miles spanning the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Historic markers, forts, replicas, museums along the trail tell this amazing story of discoveries, obstacles and challenges.

Visitors also enjoy the wide open outdoors – ready for scenic drives, hiking, canoeing, birding & more.
Pictured right: Lewis and Clark ended their western journey by establishing Fort Clatsop at the mouth of the Columbia River as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. The river is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, forming most of the border between Washington and Oregon.


The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Golf
Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones (RTJ) Golf Trail is a collection of 468 championship holes and 26 golf courses on 11 different sites across Alabama. This award-winning trail is a golf mecca and home to several major tournaments including the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville and the Barbasol Championship in Auburn/Opelika. The courses and cities on the RTJ Golf Trail are:

  • Cambrian Ridge, Greenville

  • Capitol Hill, Prattville

  • Grand National, Auburn/Opelika

  • Hampton Cove, Huntsville

  • Highland Oaks, Dothan

  • Lakewood, Point Clear

  • Magnolia Grove, Mobile

  • Oxmoor Valley, Birmingham

  • Ross Bridge, Hoover

  • Silver Lakes, Anniston/Gadsden

  • The Shoals, Muscle Shoals

Pictured right: The award-winning golf courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail are offering extremely valuable Summer and Fall Golf Specials.


The Holiday Trail of Lights is the only holiday tour
of its kind, spanning two states and several cities.

The Holiday Trail of Lights

Two states + hundreds of events + thousands of people +
millions of lights = The Holiday Trail of Lights.

For years, the Louisiana cities of Natchitoches, Shreveport-Bossier City, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe and Alexandria/Pineville and the east Texas cities of Jefferson, Kilgore and Marshall celebrated the holiday season with outstanding local holiday celebrations. In 1987, they organized and invited the world to experience their amazing holiday light displays, parades, fireworks and more.

Interstates 20 and 49 connect the cities - all within an easy drive of each other. The festivities run from mid-November thru December and include a variety of recurring and one-time events within each city. The events listed below represent just a few of the unique holiday celebrations on the Holiday Trail of Lights:

  • The Christmas Festival in Natchitoches
  • Christmas in Roseland in Greenwood
  • Fasching Festival in Minden
  • Holiday Trail of Lights & Enchanted Forest in Jefferson
  • Christmas Parade in Kilgore
  • Wonderland of Lights in Marshall

Reprinted from TRIPinfo.com's Spring 2009 Resource Atlas & Handbook; revised 2015.