The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a 2,190 mile trail that runs from Georgia up to Maine, also passing through North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire. It is considered by some to be the hardest of the three long-distance thru hikes that comprise the “Triple Crown”, because of the total elevation gain and some of the rocky and slippery terrain. The other two trails in the Triple Crown are the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT)).
Whether you are planning to take on the challenge of a long distance hike, or a weekend excursion, the most comprehensive trail information can be found on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) website. The ATC serves as the steward of the trail, managing thru-hiking registrations, maintaining the trail and conserving the lands it passes through, hosting backpacking courses and workshops, and more.
Currently, bear canisters are required in some parks along the trail, and are strongly recommended throughout for overnight campers. The trail has grown in popularity, and resource pressure is ever increasing for bears, increasing the number of encounters with wildlife. In an effort to help wildlife stay wild, food storage policies are under revision.