The Appalachian Trail – One of America’s Most Popular Hikes

A Brief History of the Appalachian Trail


When Benton MacKaye proposed his idea for the Appalachian Trail in 1921, he was inspired by the formation of Vermont’s Long Trail. The Long Trail was everything a forest planner would admire; conservation, a natural environment for people to enjoy and ongoing education of the natural world. What the Appalachian Trail would become, however, is far more impressive.

The famous and much loved Appalachian Trail is estimated to be around 2,200 miles long and spans across 14 states, from Georgia all the way to Maine. Every year 2-3 million people hike portions of the trail. Were you one of them? Impressively, in 2014 alone 2,700 people “thru-hiked” the entire trail, with several doubling back. The Appalachian Trail, along with the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail combine to form the famous US Triple Crown of Hiking.

Can Anyone Hike the Appalachian Trail?

One may think of the complete Appalachian trail as young adults only, the words “Triple Crown” can seem daunting, but history has proven otherwise. In fact, Christian Geiger aka “Buddy Backpacker” was just five years old when he and his step-father completed the trail. Some other young Appalachian hikers of note were Eric Ryback who was 16, and Reed Gjonnes 13. In 2017 Tom Abel, a 68 yr old writer for The Trek, began his complete hike of the Appalachian Trail. According to nearly 500 of thru-hikers are over 60.

What People Are Saying About the Appalachian Trail

Tess Mullaney – How the Trail Helped With My Anxiety

Berkley Aiken – Bacon and Bear Bells; My Journey on the Appalachian Trail

What Do I Need to Hike the Appalachian Trail?

Thinking about joining the hike? Here’s some helpful information for first time trail hikers from The Active Times and an interactive map from The Trek. Wondering what gear you’ll need? Brooks Range can help! We’re well known for our efficient, light weight gear, perfect for long hikes like the Appalachian Trail. Follow the link to Brooks-Range Products page and if you have any questions, please contact us. We want to make sure you get exactly what you need for a productive, safe and enjoyable hike. Happy hiking!

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