The Hike of a Lifetime

Appalachian National Scenic Trail


Perhaps Bill Bryson best summed up the oft-exhausting, but rewarding experience of hiking the famed AT: “I had come to realize that I didn't have any feelings towards the AT that weren't thoroughly contradictory. I was weary of the trail, but captivated by it; found the endless slog increasingly exhausting but ever invigorating; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts. All of this together, all at once, every moment, on the trail or off.”

The Appalachian Trail Information

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is on many serious hiker's bucket list, but the AT also has great day hikes and campgrounds for hikers of all levels.

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is on many serious hiker's bucket list, but the AT also has great day hikes and campgrounds for hikers of all levels.

Flowers grow along the Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail winds through the Smoky Mountains

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
— John Muir

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. The Appalachian Trail (AT) is used by day, weekend and other short-term hikers, section-hikers and thru-hikers (who hike the entire length of the trail, start to finish, in one season).  

The Appalachian Trail began as a vision of forester Benton MacKaye, was developed by volunteers, and opened as a continuous trail in 1937. It was designated as the first National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act of 1968. The Trail is currently protected along more than 99 percent of its course by federal or state ownership of the land or by rights-of-way. Annually, more than 4,000 volunteers contribute more than 185,000 hours of effort on the Appalachian Trail.

Making an Impact

Visiting The Appalachian Trail

Fallen leaves cover the rock-lined trail

Map of the Park

Appalachian National Scenic Trail
c/o Harpers Ferry Center P.O. Box 50
Harpers Ferry , WV

Parks Near Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Signpost marks the start of gravel trail along rustic fence and trees
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail network follows the paths explored by George Washington. Hikers, bicyclists, and boaters explore the Chesapeake area.
Fence at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park preserves and interprets key historical sites and the rich cultural heritage of the Shenandoah Valley.
Gettysburg civl war cannon
Relive history in Gettysburg, where the largest battle ever waged during the American Civil War occurred and where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Putting green and barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site
Located adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the life of President Dwight D. Eisenhower is on display, part of the history of the national parks.
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