The Ultimate Challenge: Thru-Hiking the 2200-Mile Appalachian Trail
Hiking the Appalachian Trail was one of the hardest — and best — things I’ve ever done. Here’s how you can do it too.
The Appalachian Trail runs nearly 2,200 miles along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Along this path, the Appalachian Trail — or AT, as it’s often called — passes through 14 states, numerous state parks, national forests, three national parks, and some of the best hiking destinations in the US. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail means traversing tunnels of trees, rocky ridgelines, open summits and rolling balds. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but experiencing the east coast from Georgia to Maine on foot is something I’ll never forget.
Pros and Cons of Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Accessible from major urban areas along the east coast
Features iconic stops along the entire trail
Plenty section hiking, day hiking and thru-hiking
Hundreds of trailheads and road crossings make it easy to explore
Well maintained by various trail groups and clubs
Certain sections can be crowded
Terrain can be steep and challenging in sections
Less open views along the trail than other National Scenic Trails