Okay, nature nerds, this is for you. The Appalachian Trail is the country’s first national scenic trail that stretches over 2,000 miles through forests, farmlands, and mountain ranges of the Eastern United States from Maine to Georgia. While the trail attracts millions of hikers each and every year, only about 4,000 visitors attempt the entirety of the trail with even fewer completing it. White blazes, painted six inches long and two inches wide on rocks and trees, guide hikers through 15 states, eight national forests, six national parks, and several highland systems, let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
It Stretches Along the Entire Eastern US
The AT’s southern terminus is Springer Mountain, Georgia, and its northern terminus is Katahdin, Maine. The path travels through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine – hitting 10 out of the original 13 colonies. You can opt to catch a majestic sliver of the park if you happen to be traveling in or around these states, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, trek the whole trail and see a large portion of the country.
Big Conservation Project Energy
In fact, the AT is the largest and longest-running volunteer conservation project in the world. The entirety of the trail is maintained by a massive group of volunteers spanning over 30 distinct maintenance clubs.
Level Up, Level Down
Obviously, a trail that is over 2,000 miles long is going to experience some elevation gains and some elevation losses. But did you know the gains and losses you would experience hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 16 times? Doing a little math, that means that the elevation change hikers traverse along the AT totals up to an approximate 464,464 feet.
She’s So High
If like us, you geek out a little when it comes to high points, you’ll be satisfied to know that the highest point on the AT is Clingman’s Dome at 6,644 feet and is located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Black Bears, Bobcats, and Snakes, Oh My!
While you could easily run into any of these animals on the trails, the most dangerous living creature you may encounter is a tick. That’s right, these sly little boogers are rampant in the forests and a lot of them carry Lyme disease, so keep that in mind if you plan to start trekkin’.