Known today as a footpath that hikers traverse on a regular basis, the Appalachian Trail is a hike that many outdoorsmen look forward to taking each year.[Hiking tips]
There are those that want to hike the entire trail and others that are happy just hiking a small portion that is near to where they live.
No matter why or how you want to hike the Appalachian Trail, a little background about it may make your trip more interesting.
In the year 1921, an idea for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail was hatched. A man named Benton MacKaye proposed “a project in regional planning” with the trail as a connecting element.
With the help of more volunteers that can be counted, MacKaye’s idea become a reality. Thousands if not more people have hiked at least some portion of the Appalachian Trail and more are planning to as you read this.
Facts at a Glance
The Appalachian Trail is part of the National Park Service. The Appalachian Trail boasts approximately 2178 miles and is considered to be the longest footpath marked in the United States. It was designated in the year 1968 as the first national scenic trail.
You may be surprised to learn that the Appalachian Trail spans across six national parks and eight national forests. It touches fourteen states and is home to over 2000 endangered, threatened, rare and sensitive species of animals and plants.
The Appalachian Trail crosses over many local and state parks and forests. The maintenance of the trail is kept up by many partnerships and at least 30 trail clubs that are dedicated to keeping the Trail in good shape.
In New York at Bear Mountain, the lowest elevation occurs at 124 feet near where the Trailside Museum and Zoo are located. The highest elevation of the Trail is 6625 feet and is in Tennessee on Clingmans Dome. It is said that over 10,000 people have hiked the full length of the trail and in order to do so you will have to take about 5 million footsteps.
There are over 6000 volunteers that contribute as many as 200,000 hours to take care of the trail each year. Those that care for the trail make it the awe-inspiring footpath it is today.
It is through their efforts that one can strap on a backpack and load up their gear and make their way from one end of the nation to the other meeting other like minded people along the way. [Backpacking tips]