The East Coast Greenway (ECG) traverses the Atlantic Coast of the United States linking Calais, Maine at the Canadian border with Key West, Florida. In Virginia, the trail goes south from the Mall in Washington, D.C. crossing the Memorial Bridge to the Mount Vernon Trail through Fredericksburg to Richmond and then south via the planned Virginia Tobacco Heritage Trail to Raleigh, North Carolina. An alternate trail, the Historic Coastal Route, follows the Virginia Capital Trail to Jamestown and then on to Virginia Beach and coastal North Carolina along the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail.
The ECG is a blend of paved greenways, well maintained crushed gravel paths, urban streets and rural bike routes. The trail can be traversed by foot or bicycle anywhere along its length, and accessed by wheelchairs, inline skaters, horseback riders and other non-motorized means in select areas. Eighty percent of the route will be off-road, but it is anticipated that some on-road segments will be utilized in sparsely populated areas and in some urban centers. The route has been selected to take advantage of the relatively flat terrain of the coastal plain to provide a safe and nonstrenuous corridor that is appropriate for thru-hikers, touring cyclists, casual recreation and family trips.
The ECG is a unique product that can excite potential users, government officials and funding agencies. The audacious scope of this 3,000 mile traffic-free project can be compared to both the Appalachian Trail as well as to the Interstate Highway System. It is a bold national scale project that provides important local and regional services. Also see, Adventure Cycling's Atlantic Coast route.