The American Discovery Trail

The American Discovery Trail (ADT) is the nation’s first coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreation trail. The ADT was conceived in 1989 and initially led by the American Hiking Society. In 1996 the ADT Society (ADTS) was created and has been the prime advocate for the completing a continuous trail across the United States. The ADTS considers it the east-west “backbone” of our country’s national trails system, connecting to the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, East Coast Greenway Trails and 50 other national scenic, historical and recreational trails. In the Midwest, two options are possible: either thru northern Illinois and Indiana, or a route thru the southern parts of these states.

Visit Discoverytrail.org for information on the entire 4673 mile route, including stories of those who have hiked or biked it.


Openlands is the northern Illinois representative of the American Discovery Trail. The route, which crosses into Illinois from Munster, Indiana utilizes the Thorn Creek Trail, Old Plank Road Trail, I&M Canal Trail, Hennepin Canal Trail, and a final stretch on the Great River Trail in Rock Island before crossing into Iowa. Autumn and spring are excellent times to take a walk across Illinois!

View a map of the northern  route.

For more information, please contact trails@openlands.org.