TrailLink Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between the TrailLink website, the Unlimited subscription, and the TrailLink app?

TrailLink website: A signature endeavor of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is, which provides a searchable database of more than 40,000 miles of trail around the country. Registration for the TrailLink website is free and allows you to:

  • view our interactive maps online,
  • save your favorite trails to your account,
  • share your trail photographs, as well as reviews of your trail experiences, and
  • submit new trails to the website or edit existing trail descriptions.

TrailLink app: TrailLink now has an iPhone app available in the App Store and an Android app available in the Google Play Store. These apps offer all of the features of in an easy-to-use format for mobile devices. They also provide the ability to purchase and download offline maps for offline and waypoints for use out on the trail. The TrailLink app itself, as well as your first trail map download in the app, are free.

TrailLink Unlimited: In addition to all of the basic features of, the TrailLink Unlimited annual subscription allows you to download an unlimited number of maps (40,000 miles of trail maps) for offline use in the iPhone or Android apps, or in GPS units plus access tens of thousands of waypoints & Google Places for trail-side businesses. It also provides the ability for you to create your own custom digital trail guides and custom routes on the website. The cost is $29.99 per year.

Does an RTC membership include TrailLink Unlimited?

No, RTC membership is a tax-deductible donation that not only helps support the mission of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, but entitles the donor to benefits such as an RTC t-shirt and a subscription to our quarterly Rails to Trails magazine. TrailLink Unlimited is a digital product that we are offering for sale to help support the expansion of the TrailLink platform, including website and app development.

How do I download the TrailLink app?

The TrailLink iPhone app is available in the iTunes store. Open iTunes, go the iTunes Store, and search for TrailLink on your PC or laptop. On your iPhone or iPad, you can open the App Store icon on your home screen and search for TrailLink to install the app.

The TrailLink Android app is available in the Google Play Store.

How much does it cost to download a trail map in the TrailLink app?

The TrailLink app itself, as well as your first trail map download in the app, are free. You only need to register or login with your TrailLink account to redeem your free trail map. After you redeem your first free map, a map upgrade screen will automatically appear for TrailLink Unlimited, a digital subscription for $29.99 per year, which not only allows you to download unlimited maps for offline use in the TrailLink app or GPS units, but also provides the ability for you to create your own custom digital trail guides and custom routes on

What devices are compatible with the TrailLink iPhone app?

The TrailLink app is designed primarily for the iPhone, but can also be installed on an iPad or iPod touch if the device has the latest iOS operating system installed.

However, note that because the iPod touch does not have a GPS chip, there will be some navigation limitations in the app (for example, the map with a location marker won’t function out on a trail). Much of the TrailLink app functionality will work in an iPod touch, though, and you'll be able to download TrailLink’s offline trail maps and view our trail map downloads using Apple Maps.

I downloaded an offline map in the TrailLink app, but can't find it. Where is it?

Go to the menu screen in the TrailLink app and select My Trails. Once your offline map is downloaded, it will be listed under the "Downloaded" section on the My Trails screen. The trail map that you purchased in a previous version of the app should be listed in the "Unlocked" . Select it. You should now see a green "View Map" button on the trail detail screen, select it and click of the Offline map layer in the map legend,

I downloaded a trail map in the TrailLink app, but now I see that the trail has been extended and so its map has changed on TrailLink. Do I have to download a new offline map for the trail?

No, once you have purchased a trail map with map credits (or redeemed your first free map) in the TrailLink app, you own that trail map forever. It will always appear in the Unlocked column of the TrailLink app. To download the updated trail map for offline use:

  • First, go to the My Trails menu screen and select the Downloaded column. This will provide you with an Edit option to delete the outdated trail map that you previously downloaded.
  • Next, go to the Unlocked column, where the trail will still be listed, and re-download its map, which will be the new version.

I want to use my Unlimited subscription to download map data to my GPS device. What is the file type for TrailLink maps?

The file type for TrailLink map downloads is .GPX and includes the trail line and amenity waypoints.

How do I download TrailLink maps into my GPS device?

Downloading a TrailLink map into a GPS device is a two-step process:

  • First, log in to TrailLink, find the trail you want, then click the "Download GPS" button on that trail's web page. The map data will now be saved to your computer.
  • Next, you will need to transfer the map data from your computer to your GPS device using mapping software, such as MapSource for Garmin devices.

How do I create a custom guidebook in TrailLink?

To use the custom guidebook feature, you must first have a TrailLink Unlimited subscription. Once you are logged in to TrailLink, here are the steps for creating your custom guidebook:

  1. Click "My TrailLink" at the top of the website.
  1. In the "My TrailLink" menu, click the gold button that says "Create a Guidebook."
  1. The "Create a Trail Guidebook" screen will open. In the first box, give the guidebook a name (such as "Minneapolis Rail-Trails").
  1. Enter a keyword or location to begin your search for trails to include in your guidebook. When you click the green "Search" button, a list of trails matching your criterion will appear.
  1. Click the "Add" button for each trail that you want to appear in your guidebook. When you're done making your selections, click "Save & Continue."
  1. In the next screen, you will be able to add additional trails by searching for different criteria, but if you're all set, you can just click "Finish."
  1. Now, you will come to a screen where you can either print your guidebook or save it electronically as a PDF. The information that will be included for each trail in the guidebook is: its description, parking information, trail facts, and overview map.

How do I turn off auto-renew on my Unlimited subscription?

Although the Unlimited subscription is set to auto-renew annually, you can cancel your subscription at any time. To cancel: First, log in to TrailLink. Then, at the top of the TrailLink homepage, click "Settings" to enter your TrailLink profile. If you're enrolled in Unlimited, there will be a gold button that says "Manage Your Subscription" in your profile. Click that and you'll arrive at a screen where you can click "Discontinue Future Payment," which will end your Unlimited subscription.

If I cancel my TrailLink Unlimited subscription, will all the trail maps that I downloaded disappear from my phone?

No, once you have purchased a trail map with map credits (or redeemed your first free map) in the TrailLink app, you own that trail map forever.

How do I reset my TrailLink password?

Go to the Forgot Password page on and enter your email address. You'll be emailed a link to change your password. Note that the link will expire a few hours after it's sent, so if you see an error message when you click the link, go back to the Forgot Password page and begin the process anew. Note that passwords are case sensitive and must be a minimum of 8 characters.

I didn't receive the reset password email. What should I do?

First, check your junk mail folder; it's possible that the email was delivered there. If you still don't see the message, you can change your password in your TrailLink profile if you remember your old password (see the instructions to do so below). If you don't remember your password and haven't received the reset password email, contact [email protected] for assistance.

To reset your password in your TrailLink profile: First, log in to the website with your username and current password. Once logged in, click on "Settings" at the top of the TrailLink homepage. In the next screen, enter your current password and the new desired password where indicated. Note that TrailLink passwords are case sensitive and must be a minimum of 8 characters. When finished, click the green "Save profile" button at the bottom of the screen.

How do I change my TrailLink username?

Unfortunately, at this time our system does not support updating usernames after they have been registered. We understand that this can be an inconvenience for some users, and hope to add this feature in the future. Until that time, if it is critical for you to change your username, we suggest re-registering with your preferred username using a different email account.

The TrailLink website won't recognize my email address. What should I do?

If your email address has recently changed, or you have more than one email address (such as a work email and a personal email), try logging in with your old or alternate email address. Once you log in, you'll be able to update your email address in your TrailLink profile. If that doesn't work, please contact [email protected] for assistance.

My email address has changed. How do I update my contact information?

You can update your contact information in the TrailLink settings screen. First log in with your username and password. Once logged in, click on "Settings" at the top of the TrailLink homepage, then make the change to the email address listed for you. When finished, click the "Save profile" button at the bottom of the screen.

I'm logged in to TrailLink, but it keeps asking me to reset my password when I try to view a map. What should I do?

Try clearing out the cache and cookies in your internet browser, then log in again. You should be able to find instructions for clearing your browser's cache and cookies in your browser's Help menu at the top of your screen. Instructions for a variety of internet browsers can also be found online.

When I try to use TrailLink, I get an error message that says I need to activate my account, but I haven’t received the activation email. What should I do?

Send an email to [email protected], letting us know that your TrailLink account needs to be activated. We can activate your account manually, then you’ll be all set to access the website.

The buttons on TrailLink are being unresponsive. What should I do?

The Internet Explorer version 11 update is not working properly with Specifically, the problem lies with JavaScript, which our website buttons use. If you're using that internet browser, please add our site to IE 11's "Compatibility View Settings," which should resolve any problems with our website buttons not working. The instructions for doing so can be found online. Alternatively, you can use in other internet browsers that are compatible with our site.

How do I delete my TrailLink account?

To stop using the free TrailLink website, simply click the "Log out" button in the top right-hand corner of the website.  

To opt out of our email communications, please send a message to [email protected] that you wish to unsubscribe.

I'm an RTC member, but I can't log in to TrailLink; why?

Your RTC online membership credentials are different than our TrailLink website credentials. Therefore, the login that you use for our member website ( doesn't provide access to To obtain login information for TrailLink, simply fill out the brief online registration form.

Does my donation allow me access TrailLink?

Thank you for your support! Your donation entitles you to all the member benefits that the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has to offer. However, since the TrailLink registration process is different than the RTC membership process, you'll need to register for TrailLink separately. To obtain a login for TrailLink, you will need to complete this brief online registration form.

How do I print the map I see on TrailLink?

Go to the File menu of your internet browser (upper left-hand corner) and select Print. This will print what is currently shown on your screen. You can zoom in and out of the map and then click Print again to print different sections of the map.

When I'm viewing a trail map, how do I see where any nearby trails are?

When viewing a trail's map on TrailLink, you can see nearby trails by checking the box for "Nearby Trails" in the Map Legend. The nearby trails will then appear on the map; uncheck the box in the legend to remove them from the map.

How do I obtain directions to a trail?

Visit the trail's page on TrailLink and click the trail's green "View Map" button. In the trail's map, click on any of the marked waypoints along the trail (the white round bubbles) that are closest to where you want to access the trail. When you click on the waypoint, a box will come up asking for the address of where you're coming from; enter a street name or address of your starting point, then select your mode of transportation (i.e., Driving), and click the green "Get Directions" button. Written turn-by-turn directions for how to get from there to the waypoint will appear, as well as a blue line in the map marking the route.

How do I find out what the distances are between waypoints on your trail maps?

When you’re looking at a trail map on TrailLink, you can click on any of the waypoint symbols (such as for parking or trailheads) and a “Get Directions” pop-up window will appear; enter a start/end point (such as a street intersection or major landmark like a park) and then select your mode of travel as “Bicycling.” Turn-by-turn directions as well as the mileage between the two points will then appear.

I'm planning a long-distance trip across the country. How can I plan my route using TrailLink?

You can use our national map to see how trails link up across the country to plan your route. To do so, go to and click on "Explore Trails" in the top menu, then click "Browse the Map." Our national map will come up centered on Washington, DC, but you can zoom out to see trails in other areas. At first, the map will only be populated with circular icons that you can click to find more information about a particular trail. To view all the trail routes in the national map, click the green "View All Trail Paths" button in the lower right corner of the map. The trail routes will then appear as red lines.

If you only want to see certain types of trails, such as only rail-trails or only paved trails, click the "Filter results by" button directly above the map, then check the box for whichever filters you want to apply to your search.

Additionally, you may wish to explore our Hall of Fame rail-trails, many of which are quite long.

How do I save trail information?

To use TrailLink's "Save to My Trails" feature, you must first be logged on to the website. Next, navigate to the trail that you're interested in and click the "Save to My Trails" link. The trail will then be saved in your TrailLink profile.

To access the trails that you've saved, navigate to your TrailLink profile by clicking on "Settings" at the top of the TrailLink homepage. Once you're in your profile, you can click the "My Trails" tab to view all the trails that you've saved; click on any trail in the list to navigate directly to that trail page.

I don't want to see all of the waypoints marked on the trail map; how do I get rid of them?

To suppress the waypoint symbols that appear on TrailLink maps: In the Map Legend on the left-hand side of the map, simply uncheck the boxes for any symbols that you do not wish to appear.

I don't see a trail that I know about listed on TrailLink. How do I suggest it for your website?

We welcome suggestions of trails to add to TrailLink! Please use our online trail submission form to do so. (Note that you will have to be logged on to the website to use the form.) Trails must meet certain standards to be included on TrailLink; these criteria are listed on the right-hand side of the submission form. For example, we're looking for multi-use trails that accommodate a variety of trail-goers; hiking-only trails will not be accepted. Trails must be a minimum length of 0.5 mile and we prefer trails with a fully developed surface, rather than rough-hewn dirt footpaths or single-track mountain biking trails.

Once the form is submitted, it typically takes staff about 2 weeks to process the submission and post the trail to TrailLink. If you have any questions about the process, please contact [email protected] for assistance.

I tried to submit a trail photo online, but it's not going through. What should I do?

Most often when photo submissions do not go through, it's because its file size is too large. Photos submitted to TrailLink must be 8 MB or smaller. Acceptable file types for TrailLink photos are: jpg, gif, png, and bmp.

Also note that photos are not automatically accepted for publication on TrailLink. They are manually reviewed by TrailLink staff during normal business hours, so there will be a delay between the time that you submit your photo and when it appears online.

Can I walk my dog on the trail?

Policies about dogs are up to each trail's managing agency, which is often a city or county parks and recreation department. On TrailLink, we typically list the websites for these types of organizations in the "Related Content" section on each trail's page, so that you can contact them for information. Additional resources for finding dog-walking trails are: Bring Fido and Hike With Your Dog.

Don't see your question answered here? You can send any TrailLink-related questions to [email protected].

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