National Trails Fund

National Trails Fund Grants are made possible by generous support from

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund offers Micro-Grants to active organizations of our Alliance of Hiking Organizations.  Once a year, Alliance Organization Members have the opportunity to apply for a Micro-Grant (value between $500 and $3,000) in order to improve hiking access or hiker safety on a particular trail.  If your organization is interested in applying, but is not yet an Alliance Organization Member sign up here.

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund is the only privately funded, national grants program dedicated solely to building and protecting hiking trails. Created in response to the growing backlog of trail maintenance projects, the National Trails Fund has helped hundreds of grassroots organizations acquire the resources needed to protect America’s cherished hiking trails. To date, American Hiking Society has funded 217 trail projects through 170 organizations by awarding over $698,000 in National Trails Fund grants.


Information on how to apply for a National Trails Fund Grant.


Frequently Asked Questions

Questions, Scenarios, and Support for National Trails Fund Grant Program.



Previous years' grant recipients and summary of National Trails Fund Grant Projects.


Grant Recipients

Previous years' grant recipients and summary of National Trails Fund Grant Projects.

Grant Guidelines

Prerequisites for application

  • Only AHS Alliance Members are ELIGIBLE to apply
  • Only 501(c)(3) non-profits are ELIGIBLE to receive funding.  If your organization is a member of the Alliance but lacks 501(c)(3) accreditation, the use of a fiscal agent is allowed.
  • Your organization must submit its application by 4:00 PM (EST) on February 16th, 2017. Late submissions will not be accepted under any circumstance.


What types of projects will be considered for the grants?

  • Those that have hikers as the primary constituency, though multi-purpose human-powered trail uses are eligible
  • Those that secure trail lands, including the acquisition of trails and trail corridors and the costs associated with acquiring conservation easements.
  • Projects that will result in visible and substantial ease of access, improved hiker safety and/or avoidance of environmental damage. Higher preference is often given to projects with volunteer labor.
  • Projects that promote constituency building surrounding specific trail projects – including volunteer recruitment and support.


Funding Details and Grant Accountability

  • Award amounts range from $500 to $3,000.
  • Applicants must be a current member of AHS’s Alliance of Hiking Organizations to apply.
  • Applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and must submit their IRS determination letter to receive funding.  The use of a 501(c)3 fiscal agent is acceptable.
  • Except for land acquisition programs, acceptable projects should be completed in one year. Multi-year projects will be considered only in exceptional cases.
  • Grants will not be awarded to (a) religious organizations for religious purposes, (b) private foundations or (c) political causes, candidates or legislative lobbying efforts.
  • The grantee must complete a final report on the project’s progress, successes and failures, funds dispersal and what role the grant played in the project, due November 30, 2018.
  • A declined request does not imply that the applicant’s program is not needed or valued, but it does not fall within our giving guidelines or priorities or that funds are not available.
  • An Alliance Member may only apply for 1 grant per year of dues paid.  If you signed up as a member mid-application cycle, then you will have to renew your membership before you may apply again.



  • January 15, 2018: Application is available online here.
  • February 16th, 2018: Application must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. (EST)
  • May 2018: Board of Directors approves American Hiking Society Trail Grant recipients and applicants are notified.
  • November 30, 2018: Final Report due to American Hiking Society.



Have the following ready to upload:

  1. IRS Tax Exempt/501(c)(3) documentation of applicant organization or fiscal agent.
  2. Project Budget – Please include, at a minimum, the amount of detail provided in the example budget.
  3. Project Timeline
  4. Photographs or Map of project site

View to prepare your application before you submit.

View to prepare your budget before you submit.

Frequently Asked Questions

National Trails Fund Application

Thank you for taking the time to apply for a grant from American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund.

  • The next Grant application cycle will open January 15th, 2018.
  • Applying for a National Trails Fund grant is an Alliance member benefit.  As such, only AHS Alliance Members are ELIGIBLE to apply. If your organization is not a member or if your membership has expired, please click here to join/renew your Alliance Membership.
  • Your organization must submit its application by 4:00 PM (EST) on February 16th, 2018. Late submissions will not be accepted under any circumstance.
  • This application form will NOT save your progress.  To preview all of the application questions, please review the example application:


Fill out my online form.


If you were awarded a grant and have finished your project, please fill out a final report.

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