The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is both as stunning as it is historically interesting. This trail, together with the Pacific Crest Trails and Continental Divide Trail, are considered the” Triple Crown” of the most famous trails in the United States.
Attempting to a thru-hike is an adventure of a lifetime, and takes about 5-7 months to complete. Only about one in four accomplishes this daunting task; the good news is, the trail can be accessed from hundreds of places, and hikers are free to travel for hours, weeks or months, at their own choosing.
Sights along the trail
The The Appalachian National Scenic trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail, is a historic trail that spans 2,200 miles, running through 14 states. The exact length varies as the trails are modified or added from time to time.
Along the way the famous Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains are found. There many interesting, rural towns and stunning bridges to be found, and the trail is home to over 2000 species of plant and animal life. The trail winds through beautiful state and national parks, such as Shenandoah National Park and Green Mountain National Forest.
Day trip or shorter trips
If you fancy a shorter hike, you can pick up the trail pretty much wherever you want and still get some amazing scenery with you. The majority of the trail is in the wilderness, though some points traverse towns and roads. Either pick the closest point, or pick up the trail where it seems to the most interesting to you.
Keep in mind whether or not you want to pay fee or apply for permit. A huge bonus is that most of the areas require no permits, though preparing with hiking essentials, such as good boots and food, is still necessary.
For multiday trips, recommended parts of the trail include a four-day hike in the Great Smoky Mountain. Reservations are required for camping, as this one of the most visited national park in the country. The trail offers some fantastic scenery along ridges and streams, and a high climb up the 6,600 feet Clingman´s Dome.
Preparing your trip
The trail is accessible during all seasons, except for the northern terminus at Mount Katahdin which may be closed during winter, depending on the weather. Keep in mind that due to the length of the trail, hikers must prepare for all weather conditions, even during summer.
Even though the trail itself is free for all and requires no permits, there are national and state parks along the way which require permits, reservations or fees to camp or stay overnight. Make sure to check out if the area you want to hike in, requires any advance applications.
Protect the environment
As the longest single unit of the National Park System, a large number of people and hikers enjoy the trail every year. Remember to clean up after yourself, strive to leave no trace and adopt sound hiking and camping techniques.
Otherwise, hikers may inadvertently damage the surrounding environment. So pack with you your good conscience and make an effort to care of the Trail and its beautiful, natural scenery and wonders, and many more may still enjoy the Appalachian Trail in years to come.