While its biking season for some of us, others are skating a lot. While the focus for inline skaters tends to be shorter races, after training for an Elfstedentocht and logging a lot of miles in inline skates, I wondered where the longest paved multi-use trail was in the USA. There are many bike trails and converted rail trails now in the US, but many of these are crushed limestone (suitable for wider, hybrid or mountain bike tires) but fewer paved trails (and even fewer trails with smooth pavement, but that's a more subjective judgment that requires first-hand observation).
A few paved multi-use trails come to mind for being long paved trails, here's a partial list:
Silver Comet (near Atlanta, GA) 61 miles (98 km)
Chief Ladiga Trail (AL) 33 miles (53 km) (note it connects to the Silver Comet trail)
Little Miami Scenic Trail (OH) 78 miles (126 km)
(like several of these, part of a larger network of trails)
Mesabi Trail (MN) 75 miles (121 km)
Central Lakes Trail (MN) 55 miles (89 km)
Lake Wobegon Trail (MN) 62 miles (100 km) (connects to Central Lakes)
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes (ID) 72 miles (116 km)
Iron Horse Trail (CA) 33 miles (53 km)
Please send any thoughts or comments -- I'm probably missing at least a few great, paved trails and I don't know what the texture of the pavement is. "Paved multi-use trail" can mean a lot of things, from super-smooth "black ice" to rough, almost gravel-like pavement. Also, several trails have added extensions or additional paved mileages so this list may shortly be out-of-date. Finally, I'd never want to say which trail is the "longest", because, like amusement park claims about the _____-est roller coaster, there is a lot of room for variation given that some of the trails connect, others may have short gaps in the paved sections, or some other qualification.
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.