Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,174 mile trail that goes through 14 different states in the eastern United States. The trail starts/ends in Springer Mountain in Georgia and starts/ends at Mount Kathdin in Maine. The Appalachian Trail also common referred to as AT and the more official name the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

 Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail in the GSMNP

The trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Several different eternities manage the trail including trail clubs, organizations, the US Forest, Service, the National Park Service and others There is no one body of management due to the numbers of states the trail passes through. Th Appalachian Trail is marked by a system of markings or “blazes” painted on trees, rocks and posts along the path.

AT and the Great Smoky Mountains

 Appalachian Trail

AT Marking on Post

The Appalachian Trail passes through both North Carolina and Tennessee with 71 miles of the trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail enters the park from the south at Fontana Dam. The trail leaves the park area at Davenport Gap in the northeast. The trail at its highest elevation in any of the 14 states is located at Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The elevation at Clingmans Dome is 6,625 feet.

North Carolina and Tennessee share 200 miles of the AT as it runs along the border of the two states. Tennessee then has an additional 71 miles before the trail enters the state of Georgia to the south. North Carolina has an additional 88 miles before it enters into the state of Virginia to the north and through the Shenandoah National Park.

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Fontana Dam

Georgia To Maine

Most often hikers start out their expedition to hike the trail at the southern end in Georgia. Hiking from south to north makes more sense since the most common time to start the hike is in the spring. About late March or April when the weather in Georgia is starting to warm up is the best time to start. Most plans are to finish in the late summer or early fall before the cold weather seasons. To hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, all 2,174 miles can take several months even for the most experienced hiker. But all types of hikers take on the Appalachian Trail including day hikers, weekend hikers, section hikers and thru-hikers. Hikers that set out to hike the entire length of the trail are referred to as thru-hikers. Of all those hikers each year that set out to hike all 2,174 miles from Georgia to Maine, only 1 out of 4 hikers accomplished the feat.

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The Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

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