Appalachian Trail focus:  Hiking trails around the world

The Appalachian Trail (USA)

Text and illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt,

The 3500km. / 2200 miles long well-marked Appalachian trail along the east side of the USA takes around 6 months to hike and it is among the best known hiking trails in the world. Most people hike sections of the trail, but every year just below 3000 hikers hike the whole trail in one through-hike lasting around 6 months

Mostly a forest trail

The almost 100 year old Appalachian Trail is the grand old trail in the USA. It is a footpath only and  goes mostly through forests along the Appalachian mountain range on the east side of the USA.

Hikers around a shelter in a forest with the text Appalachian trail in front, Watercolor illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Appalachian trail has more than 250 shelters along the route, where hikers meet at the end of the day

Social life and volunteers on the AT make it legendary

The Appalachian trail is considered a very social trail, with more than 250 shelters, and also many small villages, huts and other places where the hikers get together in the evening, sharing stories, giving each other trail-names and helping each other. Many hike the Appalachian trail because of its added social life.  And around 4000 volunteers, organised by the spend 175.000 hours a year keeping the trail and facilities in good shape.

Paul's boots walks on, at the beginning of the appalachian trail. Watercolor by Frits Ahlefeldt
One of the examples of how hikers get together on the Appalachian Trail, to carry the boots of a hiker, who dreamed about hiking the AT, but didn’t make it. ( Link: Paul’s Boots )

One of the world’s most famous hiking trails

There are a number of books and films about the Appalachian trail ranging from hard-core guidebooks, to hiking stories to fiction.

One of the stories adding to the Appalachian trail’s fame most lately is book “A walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. The book was made into a film by legendary filmmaker and actor Robert Redford, also staring as the main character, together with the also famed actors Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. (YouTube link to trailer)

Research Links:

: Appalachian trail on Wikipedia  Wikipedia about the Appalachian Trail  Official AT organisation: Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC)

US. National Park Service about the AT ( They own 99% of the Appalachian trail land) AT Trail Website with section dedicated to Appalachian Trail


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