Appalachian Trail

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APPALACHIAN TRAIL, a footpath from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Kathadin in northern Maine. It was conceived in 1921 by Benton MacKaye as "a project in regional planning" and completed in 1937 by the volunteers of the Appalachian Trail Conference. The National Trails System Act (1968) furthered efforts to protect the narrow and largely private corridor. By 2002, federal and state governments guaranteed public access to all but a hundred miles of the 2,168-mile trail. Although some "through hikers" attempt the entire distance in a season, the trail is mostly encountered in short segments accessible to much of the eastern population.


Appalachian Trail Conference. Home page at

Emblidge, David, ed. The Appalachian Trail Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Marshall, Ian. Story Line: Exploring the Literature of the Appalachian Trail. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998.


See alsoNational Park System .

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Appalachian Trail, officially Appalachian National Scenic Trail, hiking path, 2,144 mi (3,450 km) long, passing through 14 states, E United States. Conceived in 1921 by Benton MacKaye, forester and regional planner, and completed in 1937, the trail extends along the ridges of the Appalachian Mts. from Mt. Katahdin, Maine, to Springer Mt., Ga. The largest part of the trail passes through eight national forests and two national parks, but some of its length is still on private property. Hiking and trail clubs maintain shelters and campsites along the path. The Appalachian and Pacific Crest scenic trails, both designated in 1968, were the first two components in the National Trails System. In 1999 the International Appalachian Trail, a 690-mi (1,110-km) extension of the trail north and east from Mt. Katahdin into New Brunswick and Quebec to Cape Gaspé, was dedicated. Sections of this trail pass through Canadian national and provincial parks.

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Appalachian National Scenic Trail: see Appalachian Trail.