|Click to enlarge.|
- The AT was the dream of Benton Mackye. He published “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning” proposing the trail in 1921.
- The trail was completed August 14, 1937.
- The first thru-hike (hike from end to end in one trip) was completed by Earl Shaffer in 1948.
- 2,181 miles separate the southern terminus, Springer Mountain Georgia, and, Mount. Katahdin, in Maine.
- There are over 240 shelters along the trail, with an average of one shelter ever 10 miles.
- The trail passes through 14 states. From South to North: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.
- The trail is marked by 2 inch x 6 inch "white blazes." These blazes are painted on trees, rocks, signs, walls, bridge support beams, etc to guide hikers.
- Nearly 2,000 people attempt the trail each year, and only 1 in 5 complete the entire trail hike.
For more information visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's website. The ATC recently published a great brochure about the Trail that you can view, here.
Appalachian Trail State-by-State
The following information is from the AT wikipedia article.
Georgia has 75 miles (120 km) of the trail, including the southern terminus at Springer Mountain at an elevation of 3,280 feet (992 m). At 4,461 feet (1360 m), Blood Mountain is the highest point on the trail in Georgia. The AT and approach trail, along with many miles of blue blazed side trails, are managed and maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. See also: Georgia Peaks on the Appalachian Trail.
North Carolina has 88 miles (142 km) of the trail, not including more than 200 miles (325 km) along the Tennessee Border. Altitude ranges from 1,725 to 5,498 feet (525 m to 1676 m). The trail enters from Georgia at Bly Gap, ascending peaks such as Standing Indian Mountain, Mt. Albert, and Wayah Bald. It then goes by Nantahala Outdoor Center at the Nantahala River Gorge and the Nantahala River crossing. Up to this point, the trail is maintained by the Nantahala Hiking Club. Beyond this point, it is maintained by the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club. 30 miles (48 km) further north, Fontana Dam marks the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Tennessee has 71 miles (114 km) of the trail, not including more than 200 miles (325 km) along or near the North Carolina Border. The section that runs just below the summit of Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is along the North Carolina and Tennessee border and is the highest point on the trail at 6,643 feet (2019 m). The Smoky Mountains Hiking Club (Knoxville, TN) maintains the trail throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Davenport Gap. North of Davenport Gap, the Carolina Mountain Club (Asheville, NC) maintains the trail to Spivey Gap. Then the remaining Tennessee section is maintained by the Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing Club (Kingsport, TN).
Virginia has 550 miles (885 km) of the trail, including about 20 miles (32 km) along the West Virginia border. With the climate, and the timing of northbound hikers, this section is wet and challenging because of the spring thaw and heavy spring rainfall. Substantial portions closely parallel the Blue Ridge Parkway and, in Shenandoah National Park, the Skyline Drive. Parts of the trail near the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive are often considered the best for beginner hikers. In the southwestern portion of the state, the trail goes within one half mile of the highest point in Virginia, Mount Rogers, which is a short side-hike from the AT.
West Virginia has 4 miles (6 km) of the trail, not including about 20 miles (32 km) along the Virginia border. Here the trail passes through the town of Harpers Ferry, headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Harpers Ferry is considered the "psychological midpoint" of the AT.
Maryland has 41 miles (66 km) of the trail, with elevations ranging from 230 to 1,880 feet (70–570 m). Hikers are required to stay at designated shelters and campsites. The trail runs along the C&O Canal Towpath route for 3 miles (4.8 km).
Pennsylvania has 229 miles (369 km) of the trail. The trail extends from the Pennsylvania - Maryland line at Pen Mar, a tiny town straddling the state line, to the Delaware Water Gap, at the Pennsylvania - New Jersey border. The Susquehanna River is generally considered the dividing line between the northern and southern sections of the Pennsylvania AT, and Pine Grove Furnace State Park the halfway point of the entire AT. The AT passes through St. Anthony's Wilderness, which is the second largest roadless area in Pennsylvania and home to several coal mining ghost towns, such as Yellow Springs and Rausch Gap.
|More detailed view of the Trail.|
New Jersey is home to 72 miles (116 km) of the trail. The trail enters New Jersey from the south on a pedestrian walkway along the Interstate 80 bridge over the Delaware River, ascends from the Delaware Water Gap to the top of Kittatinny Ridge in Worthington State Forest, passes Sunfish Pond (right), continues through Stokes State Forest and eventually reaches High Point State Park, the highest peak in New Jersey (a side trail is required to reach the actual peak). It then turns in a southeastern direction along the New York border for about 30 miles (48 km), passing over long sections of boardwalk bridges over marshy land, then entering Wawayanda State Park and then the Abram S. Hewitt State Forest just before entering New York near Greenwood Lake. Black bear activity along the trail in New Jersey increased rapidly starting in 2001. Hence, metal bear-proof trash boxes are in place at all New Jersey shelters.
New York's 88 miles (142 km) of trail contain very little elevation change compared to other states. From south to north, the trail summits many small mountains under 1,400 feet (430 m) in elevation, its highest point in New York being Prospect Rock at 1,433 feet (438 m), and only 3,000 feet (800 m) from the border with New Jersey. The trail continues north, climbing near Fitzgerald Falls, passing through Sterling Forest, and then entering Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park. It crosses the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge, the lowest point on the entire Appalachian Trail at 124 feet (38 m). It then passes through Fahnestock State Park, and continues northeast and crosses the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line. This track crossing is the site of the only train station along the trail's length. It enters Connecticut via the Pawling Nature Reserve. The section of the trail that passes through Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks is the oldest section of the trail, completed in 1923. A portion of this section was paved by 700 volunteers with 800 granite-slab steps followed by over a mile of walkway supported by stone crib walls with boulders lining the path. The project took four years, cost roughly $1 million, and was officially opened in June 2010.
Connecticut's 52 miles of trail lie almost entirely along the ridges to the west above the Housatonic River valley. The state line is also the western boundary of a 480 acre Connecticut reservation inhabited by Schaghticoke Indians. Inside it, the AT roughly parallels its northern boundary, crossing back outside it after 2,000 feet. The trail proceeds northward through the Housatonic River valley and hills to its west, veering northwesterly and, at Salisbury, ascending the southern Taconic mountains, at Lion's Head affording a view northeasterly towards Mt. Greylock and other points in Massachusetts, and at Bear Mountain, reaching over 2,000 feet in elevation for the first time since Pennsylvania and yielding views across the Hudson River valley to the Catskills and across the broad expanse of the Housatonic valley and the Berkshire and Litchfield Hills to the east. Just north of Bear, the trail, as it crosses into Massachusetts, descends into Sages Ravine, a deep gorge in the eastern Taconic ridgeline which is home to a fragile old growth forest. As the trail crosses the brook in the ravine, it leaves the area maintained by the Connecticut section of the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Massachusetts has 90 miles of trail. The entire section of trail is in western Massachusetts' Berkshire County. It summits the highest peak in the southern Taconic Range, Mount Everett (2,602 ft.), then descends to the Housatonic River valley and skirts the town of Great Barrington. The trail passes through the towns of Dalton and Cheshire, and summits the highest point in the state at 3,491 feet (1,064 m), Mount Greylock. It then quickly descends to the valley within 2 miles (3 km) of North Adams and Williamstown, before ascending again to the Vermont state line. The trail throughout Massachusetts is maintained by the Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Vermont has 150 miles of the trail. Upon entering Vermont, the trail coincides with the southernmost sections of the generally north/south-oriented Long Trail (which is subject to a request by its maintainers to protect it in its most vulnerable part of the year by forgoing spring hiking). It follows the ridge of the southern Green Mountains, summitting such notable peaks as Stratton Mountain, Glastenbury Mountain and Killington Peak. After parting ways with the Long Trail at Maine Junction, the AT turns in a more eastward direction, crossing the White River, passing through Norwich, and entering Hanover, New Hampshire, as it crosses the Connecticut River. The Green Mountain Club maintains the AT from the Massachusetts state border to Route 12. The Dartmouth Outing Club maintains the trail from VT Route 12 Woodstock to the New Hampshire state line.
New Hampshire has 161 miles of the trail. The New Hampshire AT is nearly all within the White Mountain National Forest. For northbound thru-hikers, it is the beginning of the main challenges that go beyond enduring distance and time: in New Hampshire and Maine, rough or steep ground are more frequent and alpine conditions are found near summits and along ridges. The trail reaches 17 of the 48 four-thousand footers of New Hampshire, including 6,288' Mount Washington, the highest point of the AT north of Tennessee. The Dartmouth Outing Club maintains the AT from the Vermont border past Mount Moosilauke to Kinsman Notch, Woodstock New Hampshire, with the AMC maintaining the remaining miles through the state.
Maine has 281 miles of the trail. More moose are seen by hikers in this state than any other on the trail. The northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is on Mount Katahdin's Baxter Peak in Baxter State Park.
In some parts of the trail in Maine, such as the Mahoosic Notch, even the strongest hikers may only average 1 mph. There are other parts in which hikers must hold on to tree limbs and roots to climb and descend, which are especially dangerous and hazardous in wet weather conditions.
The western section includes a mile-long stretch of boulders, some of which hikers must pass under, at Mahoosuc Notch, often called the trail's hardest mile. Also, although there are dozens of river and stream fords on the Maine section of the trail, the Kennebec River is the only one on the trail that requires a boat crossing. The most isolated portion in the state (and arguably on the entire trail) is known as the "Hundred-Mile Wilderness", which heads east-northeast from the town of Monson and ends outside Baxter State Park just south of Abol Bridge.
The AMC maintains the AT from the New Hampshire border to Grafton Notch, with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club responsible for maintaining the remaining miles to Mt. Katahdin.