Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 3 million people visit the Trail every year and over 3,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life.
The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. The A.T. is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.
- The Trail is roughly 2,190 miles long, passing through 14 states.
- Thousands of volunteers contribute roughly 270,000 hours to the A.T. every year.
- More than 250 three-sided shelters exist along the Trail.
- Virginia is home to the most miles of the Trail (about 550), while West Virginia is home to the least (about 4).
- Maryland and West Virginia are the easiest states to hike; New Hampshire and Maine are the hardest.
- The total elevation gain of hiking the entire A.T. is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest 16 times.
- The A.T. is home to an impressive diversity of plants and animals. Some animals you may see include black bears, moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, and salamanders. Some plants you may encounter include jack-in-the-pulpit, skunk cabbage, and flame azalea.
- from the Appalachian Trails Conservancy website