Press release: BIKEPACKING.com
After several years of planning, the 5,000+ mile Eastern Divide Trail is nearing completion. The off-road-centric bikepacking route will start in Newfoundland, Canada, and end in Key West, Florida, connecting the grand vistas and ecosystems of the eastern mountains via gravel, dirt roads, bike paths, quiet backroads, and singletrack. The route will be divided into eight carefully designed segments that can be ridden sequentially or independently.Background
Back in 2015, the Eastern Divide Trail (EDT) was conceived to link the two great Eastern Continental Divides and create a bikepacking-specific route akin to the legendary long-distance hiking trail in the same region, the Appalachian Trail (AT). Similar to the AT, the EDT will connect the scenic eastern mountains and their seemingly infinite ecosystems via the historical and cultural landmarks, natural wonders, and beautiful backcountry that thread through some of the oldest mountains in the world. What this region lacks in oxygen-deprived, high-altitude passes, it makes up for with boundless folded mountain vistas, bristling clear streams, lush forested vegetation, ever-changing ecosystems, and layers of history. Indeed, traversing these landscapes can provide an experience that rivals the one many bikepackers seek out on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. About the route
Once complete, the 5,000+ mile Eastern Divide Trail will be the longest contiguous off-road-centric bikepacking route in the USA. The route will run from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, the easternmost point in North America, to Key West, Florida, the end of the road going south in the United States. The EDT will follow as much of the St. Lawrence and Eastern Continental Divides as possible, without compromising our focus on quality off-pavement riding and connecting the most incredible sights, landmarks, and landscapes in the eastern mountains. The route will ultimately wind its way through dozens of national and state forests, numerous ecozones, and countless places of Indigenous, geographical, and historical significance.
Our goal is to make the Eastern Divide Trail route feature as much off-pavement, mixed-terrain riding as possible. Using the best of several established routes and a wealth of new ones, this mix will include gravel, dirt roads, and mellow singletrack with the aim of providing a similar riding experience, level of difficulty, and surface variation as the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
The Eastern Divide Trail is made up of eight carefully designed segments that can be ridden sequentially or independently. Each segment starts and stops at a significant town or city where lodging, transport, and other such amenities are accessible. This provides bikepackers with the option to set out on a single ambitious adventure or take in the route over a lifetime by riding each segment individually. Additionally, the team is working on several network alternates that will provide opportunities for loops.
The route segments will be published on BIKEPACKING.com as individual guides. Each will provide highlights of the route segment, in-depth and educational information, maps, logistical data, and plenty of great photography to inspire people to get out and experience this unique adventure.The team
Originally conceived by Brett Davidson, the Eastern Divide Trail has been slowly percolating for over six years. Over the last three years, efforts to plan, scout, and finalize the project have ramped up, with a team of individuals at the helm who are deeply enmeshed in the East Coast bikepacking scene. The Eastern Divide Trail board consists of five Route Directors (below) with the direct oversight of each segment managed by one or two Route Stewards. There will also be local Route Stewards selected to represent each of the eight segments of the route. Directors:
Brett Davidson, Logan Watts, Jess Daddio, Joe Cruz, and Karlos Bernhart.What’s next?
Route segment guides are expected to be published in the fall of 2021 with most of the additional guides completed in 2022 and the full project finalized in 2022-23. Here is a rough schedule:Spring/Summer 2021:
Engage local Route Scouts and finalize Route StewardsSummer/Fall 2021:
Publish guides for segments 4-6Winter/Spring 2021/22:
Publish guides for segments 7 and 8Spring 2022:
Finalize segments 1-3Summer 2022:
Publish guides for segments 1-3Fall 2022-Summer 2023:
Modifications, advocacy, and route refinementJuly 2023:
Possible group grand departPublic involvement
So far, the Eastern Divide Trail has mostly been a passion project. To bolster the effort in 2020, BIKEPACKING.com adopted the route among its Collective Routes—a member-funded project set up to develop, cultivate, and promote a collection of quality bikepacking routes around the world. After putting in thousands of hours planning, scouting, and designing, as well as committing a portion of funds into the project, there is still plenty of work to be done. The Eastern Divide Trail team is looking for financial support from cyclists and the industry, as well as scouting efforts and local knowledge from the bikepacking community up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
In short, the planning stage of the route is about 85% complete, but there is still a lot of documentation, photography, and videography that needs to be completed. To close the gap, BIKEPACKING.com is currently offering a limited run of Eastern Divide Trail bandanas and stickers as a premium for donations. After printing, shipping, and handling expenses, all proceeds will go directly to pay for photography, writing, scouting, and video creation to help complete the route.
Additionally, the team is looking for potential Route Scouts to help provide feedback, waypoints, photography, and valuable insight on several segments of the Eastern Divide Trail. Find out how to help at https://bikepacking.com/edt
I've had em there.. IMO the farther south, the better they get. Dothan is pretty good. Bonifay takes the crown.
Literally anything though.
If you look up "Trevor Garbow" on YouTube he has a good video on our first trip from Pittsburgh to DC on the GAP/C&O. You can see our set ups, his is pretty dialed and I literally got ready the night before the ride.