Appalachian Trail Facts

At 2189.1 miles(2015), the Appalachian Trail is the longest marked trail in the United States.

World War II veteran Earl Shaffer of York, Pennsylvania completed the first documented through-hike in 1948. The hike is recounted in his memoir “Walking With Spring”.

The A.T. is marked by more than 160,000 “blazes” 6 inches by 2 inches in size. Primarily found on trees, one can follow the trail of blazes all the way from Georgia to Maine.

More than 250 shelters can be found along the trail. Sometimes called a “lean-to”, the shelters are generally a three-walled structure with a wooden floor and roof. Some hikers travel without tents, preferring to hike shelter to shelter.

It is estimated that 5 million steps are required to complete the trail. That A.T. passes through 14 states: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

At 6643 ft, Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains but is not on the trail.

The Lowest point on the Appalachian Trail runs right through the Trailside Zoo at Bear Mountain State Park in New York, along the Hudson River. The bear pens are at 124 ft above sea level.

Virginia has 550 miles of contained trail. It is followed by 281 miles in Maine and 229 miles in Pennsylvania. West Virginia. Ironically, it is the state that is home to the Appalachian Trail Conference Headquarters at Harper’s Ferry. West Virginia has only four miles of contained trail, not including about twenty miles along the Virginia border.

The trail crosses the Connecticut River and continues through the center of Hanover, New Hampshire. The Dartmouth Outing Club maintains the Appalachian Trail from the Vermont border to Kinsman Notch.

Vigorous backpackers can complete the A.T. in four months, but most hikers require 5 to 7 months.

When making entries into shelter journals, a northbound through-hiker refers to oneself as a NOBO, headed from Georgia to Maine, or GAME. A south-bounder is a SOBO, headed from Maine to Georgia- MEGA.

“Trail Towns”

Abingdon, VA
Blairsville – Union County, GA
Bland County, VA
Boiling Springs, PA
Bolivar/Harpers Ferry, WV
Buena Vista, VA
Dahlonega, GA
Damascus, VA
Delaware Water Gap, PA
Duncannon, PA
Franklin, NC
Front Royal/Warren County, VA
Gilmer County, GA
Glasgow, VA
Harlem Valley (Dover & Pawling, NY)
Harrisonburg, VA
Helen – White County, GA

Hanover, NH
Hiawassee/Towns County, GA
Hot Springs, NC
Luray/Page County, VA
Marion/Smyth County, VA
Millinocket, ME
Monson, ME
Narrows, VA
Nelson County, VA
Norwich, VT
Pearisburg, VA
Rangeley, ME
Troutville, VA
Unicoi County, TN
Warwick, NY
Greater Waynesboro Area, PA
Waynesboro, VA