Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a hiking trail, enjoyed by an estimated 4 million people each year. People of all ages and abilities enjoy short walks, day hikes, and long-distance backpacking journeys. It offers a variety of opportunities for viewing spectacular scenery, for exploring, for adventure, for exercise, for nature study, and for renewal.


Hiking: The Appalachian Trail offers some of the best long-distance hiking experiences in the world. With its diverse terrain and stunning vistas, it attracts hikers of all skill levels. Some popular sections include the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, and the White Mountains.

Backpacking: Backpacking along the Appalachian Trail provides an immersive outdoor experience, allowing hikers to explore remote wilderness areas and camp in designated shelters or backcountry campsites.

Wildlife Viewing: The trail passes through various ecosystems, providing opportunities to spot a wide range of wildlife, including deer, bears, birds, and smaller mammals.

Things to Do:

Scenic Overlooks: Take in breathtaking views from numerous scenic overlooks along the trail, offering panoramic vistas of valleys, mountains, and forests.

Photography: Capture the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains through photography, capturing sunrise and sunset scenes, colorful foliage (during the fall), and unique rock formations.

Geocaching: Engage in geocaching activities along the trail, searching for hidden caches using GPS coordinates and clues provided by other hikers.


Trail Festivals: Attend trail festivals held in various towns along the Appalachian Trail, celebrating outdoor culture, hiking, and conservation efforts. Examples include Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia, and the Appalachian Trail Days in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Guided Hikes: Participate in guided hikes and workshops organized by local outdoor organizations and trail clubs, offering opportunities to learn about the history, ecology, and conservation of the trail.

How to Plan a Trip:

Research: Gather information about the Appalachian Trail, including trail maps, guidebooks, and online resources, to familiarize yourself with the trail’s route, terrain, and logistical considerations.

Plan Your Itinerary: Determine your hiking itinerary, including start and end points, daily mileage, resupply points, and potential side trips or points of interest along the trail.

Gear and Supplies: Prepare your hiking gear and supplies, including proper footwear, clothing layers, camping equipment, food, water filtration, and navigation tools (maps, compass, GPS).

Permits and Regulations: Check for any permits or regulations required for hiking and camping along the Appalachian Trail, especially in national parks, state forests, and wilderness areas.

Safety Considerations: Familiarize yourself with safety protocols and Leave No Trace principles, including proper waste disposal, wildlife precautions, emergency preparedness, and communication options (cell phone coverage, emergency contact information).

Transportation and Logistics: Arrange transportation to and from the trailhead, including shuttle services, public transportation, or parking options for your vehicle. Consider logistics for resupplying food and supplies along the trail, either by mail drops or purchasing items in trail towns.

What is the total length of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail?

The Appalachian Trail stretches approximately 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

What are some key highlights along the trail?

The trail passes through 14 states, offering hikers a diverse range of landscapes, including lush forests, rocky peaks, and picturesque valleys. Notable landmarks include the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, and the White Mountains.

When is the best season to hike the Appalachian Trail?

The best time to hike the Appalachian Trail is typically from late spring to early fall (April to October). This timeframe offers milder weather conditions, fewer bugs, and better visibility, making for a more enjoyable hiking experience.

Are there any fees or permits required to hike the Appalachian Trail?

No permits or fees are required to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. However, some sections may pass through national parks or state forests where entry fees may apply.

How can one access the Appalachian Trail and what are the recommended transportation options?

The Appalachian Trail is accessible via numerous trailheads along its route, as well as road crossings and nearby towns. Hikers can reach the trail by car, shuttle services, or public transportation, depending on their starting point and preferences. Additionally, there are various guidebooks, maps, and online resources available to help plan and navigate the journey.

  • Stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia
  • Website
  • Spring
  • Lied Discovery Children’s Museum

  • New Hampshire Boat Museum