The Appalachian Trail began as an idea long before the hiking trail itself was founded. In 1921 it was conceived as a series of retreat camps and farms, connected by a network of trails. Activists worked until 1937 to get the trail started by exploring routes and blazing the trails. It took the end of WW II and a veteran’s desire to walk off the war to get the first recorded thru-hike in 1951.
The Appalachian Trail extends from northern Georgia to central Maine, with twelve states in between. A trek along the full length is 2,180 miles, which makes for a challenging thru-hike in a single season. It is one of the three long trail systems that make up The Triple Crown.
Be ready to climb some hills when you tackle the Appalachian Trail, by thru-hiking it you will climb the equivalent of 16 times the elevation of Mt. Everest. It is part of the Federal National Park Service and thousands of volunteers contribute much time and great effort to keep the trail system in top condition each year.