The Appalachian Trail celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2017. An amazing 17,000+ hikers have completed the 2190 mile hike since the trail was completed from Maine to Georgia in 1937.

And me? I’ve been able to hike the Appalachian Trail, but only for a few miles from its starting point in Georgia, at the beautiful Amicalola Falls (that’s the photo at the top of this page). You can read about my adventure in the Amicalola Falls State Park here.

The trail isn’t the longest in the world — you can see that list here — but it’s one that has attracted adventurers from many walks of life.

Flickr Slideshow: Hike the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian trail sign

History of the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail was the dream of Benton MacKaye, who announced his proposal for “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning” back in 1921. He saw the trail as fulfilling three purposes:

  • Provide recreation for the millions living in large cities along the Atlantic seaboard and elsewhere.
  • Health and recuperation breathing in the fresh mountain air.
  • Employment.

The work of raising interest and money started with an Appalachian Trail Conference held in New York in 1922. Despite the potential advantages, the trail had a slow start, and didn’t get rolling until retired Connecticut Judge, Arthur Perkins, of the Appalachian Mountain Club, took over the reins near the end of the decade.

Today’s trail has veered off the original path in a number of places to include even more scenic sections, such as: Grayson Highlands, Virginia; Thundering Falls, Vermont; Roan Mountain, Tennessee; Nuclear Lake, New York; and Saddleback Mountain, Maine, to name just a few.

In total, the trail now winds through the Appalachian Mountains in 14 states, including six national parks and eight national forests. The trail is managed and preserved by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The infographic below gives you 35 great reasons to hike the Appalachian Trail — enjoy the factoids!

35 Reasons to Hike the Appalachian Trail Infographic

See the fullsize infographic created by 97th Floor on Visual.ly

Appalachian Trail start at Amicalola Falls in Georgia.

Plan to Hike the Appalachian Trail

With 2000+ miles to choose from, you have many opportunities to get on the historic Appalachian Trail and enjoy the scenery. This link from the Conservancy provides you with a map of the trail, so you can select the state you’d like to explore.

Each Conservancy state page provides you with details that range from the nice to know to need to know, a map outlining elevations, images, trail clubs, and communities you can visit along the trail.

Get started as I did, in the state of Georgia, at Mile 1, with this link: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/explore-the-trail/explore-by-state/Georgia

Enjoy the journey!

If you like to pin, check out the pin to your left and share it with other hikers.

Weekend Travel Inspiration

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