The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, often called the Appalachian Trail or the A.T., is a hiking trail in the eastern United States. The trail goes between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long. The exact length changes over time as parts are changed.[a] The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than 2 million people hike on part of the trail at least once each year.
The idea of the Appalachian Trail started in 1921. The trail was completed in 1937 after more than ten years of work. Changes to the trail still happen every year. Thirty-one trail clubs and many partners help keep it usable. The National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy manage it. Most of the trail is in forest or wild lands. Some parts go through towns, roads and farms. It passes through 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Thru-hikers attempt to hike the whole trail in one season. The number of thru-hikes per year has increased steadily. In 2017, 715 northbound and 133 southbound thru-hikes were reported. Many books, documentaries, websites, and fan organizations are dedicated to the hike. Some people hike from one end to the other, then turn around and thru-hike the trail the other way. This is known as a "yo-yo".
- The exact length of the Appalachian Trail is not known because work on the trail changes its length every year. This work makes an exact length difficult to measure. (See Appalachian Trail Conservancy)
- Gailey, Chris (2006). "Appalachian Trail FAQs" Archived May 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Outdoors.org (accessed September 14, 2006)
- "Appalachian Trail Conservancy". Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "The Great Trail". TC Trail. Archived from the original on October 14, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "Appalachian Trail Conservancy - 2000 Milers". Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- Alger, Nate (November 27, 2016). "The Absolute 10 Best Day Hikes in the United States". Live Outdoorsy. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- (January 1985), "A Fork in the Trail". Audubon. 87 (1):140–141
- Applebome, Peter (May 31, 2010), "A Jolt of Energy for a Much Trod-Upon Trail". The New York Times. p. 14.
- "Ultralight Maine Hiker "Yo-Yos" the AT | Appalachian Mountain Club – Maine Chapter". Archived from the original on June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
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