|UNCLE JOHNNY'S NOLICHUCKY
HOSTEL & OUTFITTERS
151 River Road, Erwin, Tn.
| THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
The Appalachian National ScenicTrail in length is about 2160 miles long and is
located in the Eastern United States. Trailheads are Springer Mountain, Georgia and
Mount Katahdin, Maine. Elevation Change is 90 miles The Highest Point.
Trail Difficulty, Moderate to Strenuous. Season, Spring to Fall. Sights, Appalachian
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or
simply The A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States, extending between
Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is more than 2000 miles (3,200
km) long. The path is maintained by thirtyone trail clubs and multiple partnerships.
The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, many of whom attempt to hike it in its
entirety, often non-stop. Many books, memoirs, Web sites and other organizations are
dedicated to this pursuit.
Along the way, the trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Vermont , New Hampshire and Maine.
The trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye, a forester who wrote his original plan shortly
after the death of his wife in 1921. MacKaye's Utopian idea detailed a grand trail that would
connect a series of farms and wilderness work/study camps for city-dwellers. In 1922, at the
suggestion of Major William A. Welch, director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission,
his idea was publicized by Raymond H. Torrey with a story in the New York Evening Post
under a full-page banner headline reading "A Great Trail from Maine to Georgia!" The idea
was quickly adopted by the new Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference as their main
Bear Mountain Bridge On October 7, 1923, the first section of the trail, from Bear Mountain
west through Harriman State Park to Arden, New York, was opened. MacKaye then called for
a two-day Appalachian Trail conference to be held in March 1925 in Washington, D.C. This
resulted in the formation of the Appalachian Trail Conference organization, though little
progress was made on the trail for several years.
At the end of the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s, a retired judge named Arthur Perkins
and his younger associate Myron Avery took up the cause. Avery, who soon took over the
ATC, adopted the more practical goal of building a simple hiking trail. He and MacKaye
clashed over the ATC's response to a major commercial development along the trail's path;
MacKaye left the organization, while Avery was willing to simply reroute the trail.
Avery became the first to walk the trail end-to-end, though not as a thru-hike, in 1936. In
August 1937, the trail was completed to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, and the ATC shifted its
focus toward protecting the trail lands and mapping the trail for hikers. From 1938 to the
end of World War II, the trail suffered a series of natural and man-made setbacks. At the end
of the war, the damage to the trail was repaired.
In 1948, Earl Shaffer of York, Pennsylvania, brought a great deal of attention to the project
by completing the first documented thru-hike. (In 1994, a story appeared in the Appalachian
Trailway News describing a 121-day Maine to Georgia thru-hike in 1936 by six Boy Scouts
from the Bronx. The story has been accepted by some individual members of ALDHA, though
a great deal of doubt has also been expressed; this earlier thru-hike has never been
verified or accepted by any responsible hiking organization or group; therefore, Shaffer's
1948 journey is still universally recognized as the first A.T. thru-hike. Earl also completed a
50th. Anniversary hike in 1998 and was a guest of Uncle Johnny's Nolichucky Hostel in Erwin,
In the 1960s, the ATC made progress toward protecting the trail from development, thanks
to many sympathetic politicians and officials. The National Trails System Act of 1968 paved
the way for a series of National Scenic Trails within the National Park and National Forest
systems. Trail volunteers worked with the National Park Service to map a permanent route
for the trail, and by 1971 a permanent route had been marked (though minor changes
continue to this day). By the close of the 20th century, the Park Service had completed the
purchase of all but a few miles of the trail's span.
The Appalachian Trail should not be confused with the International Appalachian Trail, a 675-
mile (1,100 km) extension, running north from Maine into New Brunswick and Quebec. It is
actually a separate trail, not an official extension of the Appalachian Trail. An extension of
the International Appalachian Trail, to Newfoundland, is still under construction.
Flora and fauna
The Appalachian Trail is home to literally thousands of species of plant and animal, of air,
land and sea, including 2,000 distinct rare, threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and
The American black bear is the largest omnivore that would be encountered on the trail, and
it inhabits all parts. However, bear sightings are rare, and hiker incidents still rarer, as
black bears typically avoid humans and can usually be frightened away by making loud
noise. Though they do not truly hibernate, they spend a large portion of the winter asleep.
They are omnivorous, eating grass, roots, berries and small- to medium-sized mammals.
Venomous snakes, including the Eastern timber rattlesnake and copperhead. will only strike
when disturbed. Both snakes are generally found in drier, rockier sections of the trail; the
copperhead's range extends north to around the New Jersey-New York state line, while
rattlesnakes are commonly found along the trail in Connecticut and have been reported,
although rarely, as far north as New Hampshire. Other large fauna include deer (which, while
harmless, do aid in the spread of Lyme disease), elk, reintroduced in the Smoky Mountains,
and moose, which live as far south as Massachusetts but are mainly seen in Maine. The
most persistent pests along the trail are mice and bugs. Mice inhabit shelters and are a
greater threat to hiker food than bears. The mice mostly occupy shelters where poor food
prep/care has been practiced and so the mice have grown up on human food and do not
lose the taste. The bugs are a persistent hazard, but are particularly bad in the northern
stretches of the trail. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York have notoriously bad
mosquitoes, but the worst section of the trail for bugs is in the lowlands of Maine. The
northern hardwood and boreal forest of Maine is perfect for mosquitoes and tiny, pesky
black flies to breed. Numerous lakes, rivers, and streams provide the perfect habitat for
biting insects to breed and hatch, especially in late spring and early summer. Hiking Maine
before the black flies begin to die off in July is something of a blood-letting for the hiker,
while the most pleasant time of the year may well be after frosts have killed the bugs in late
September or October. In the South, mosquitoes, no-see-em and other biting flies are less
of a nuisance because there are fewer mountain lakes and ponds, plus the lack of seasonal
changes in the South keeps the onslaught of these biting insects down, unlike the spring
season further north. The continental glaciation that carved so many lakes in the northeast
stopped near the Delaware Water Gap, leaving the southern mountains with fewer holes to
be filled by rain.
Plant life along the trail is varied. In the south, lowland forests consist mainly of second-
growth; nearly the entire trail has been logged at one time or another. There are, however,
a few old growth locations along the trail, such as Sages Ravine in Massachusetts and The
Hermitage, near Gulf Hagas in Maine. In the south, the forest is dominated by hardwoods,
including oak and tulip trees, also known as yellow poplar. Further north, tulip trees are
gradually replaced by maples and birches. Oaks begin to disappear in Massachusetts. By
Vermont, the lowland forest is made up of maples, birch and beech, which provide
spectacular foliage displays for hikers in September and October. While the vast majority of
lowland forest south of the White Mountains is hardwood, many areas have some
coniferous trees as well, and in Maine, these often grow at low elevations.
At higher elevations, the makeup of the forest is dramatically different. There is a drastic
change between the lowland and subalpine, evergreen forest, as well as another, higher
break, at treeline, above which only hardy alpine plants grow. The sub-alpine region is far
more prevalent along the trail than true alpine conditions. While it mainly exists in the north,
a few mountains in the south have subalpine environments. These include the Great Smoky
Mountains, where sub-alpine environments only begin around 6000 feet in elevation, the
Unaka and Roan Mountain Ranges on the North Carolina-Tennessee border, where sub-
alpine growth descends below 6000 feet, and Mount Rogers and the Grayson Highlands in
Virginia, where there is some alpine growth above 5000 feet. Some high mountains in the
south are also balds. While not necessarily above treeline, these mountains have only
grassy summits for whatever reason, perhaps due to fires or grazing in recent centuries, or
perhaps due to thin, sandy soils. Several balds are sprouting trees, and on some, the
National Forest service actually mows the grasses periodically in order to keep the bald
No sub-alpine regions exist between Mount Rogers in Virginia and Mount Greylock in
Massachusetts, mainly because the trail stays below 3000 feet from Shenandoah National
Park in Virginia to Mount Greylock. Mount Greylock, however, has a large subalpine region,
the only such forest in Massachusetts, extending down to 3000 feet, which in the south
would be far from the sub-alpine cutoff. This is especially low because Greylock is exposed
to prevailing westerly winds, as its summit rises 1000 feet higher than any other peak in
Massachusetts. Further north, several peaks in Vermont reach into the sub-alpine zone,
the bottom of which steadily descends, so that by the White Mountains in New Hampshire, it
often occurs well below 3000 feet. At Mount Moosilauke, which reaches to 4802 feet, the
first alpine environment on the trail is reached, where only thin, sporadic flora is
interspersed with bare rocks. Between the two regions is the krummholz region, where
stunted trees grow with their branches oriented away from the winter's prevailing
northwest wind, thus giving the appearance of flags (they are often called "flag trees"). This
region resembles lowland land cover hundreds of miles north in Canada, and contains many
endangered and threatened species. The trail has been rerouted over New Hampshire's
Presidential Range so the Appalachian Mountain Club can protect certain plant life. The
alpine cutoff in the Whites is generally between 4200 and 4800 feet. Mountains traversed by
the AT above treeline include Mount Moosilauke, several miles along the Franconia Range,
and the Presidential Range. In the Presidentials, the trail climbs as high as 6288 feet (1917
meters) on Mount Washington and spends about 13 miles continuously above treeline, in
the largest alpine environment in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
In Maine, the trail extends in to even harsher environments, and sub-alpine and alpine
growth descends to lower elevations. Alpine growth in the state ranges from around 2500
feet in the Mahoosuc Range to below 1000 feet in parts of the 100-Mile Wilderness, where
nearly every area higher than 1000 feet is evergreen forest. These forests include more
species of evergreen, as well. In addition to the white pine, spruce and hemlock prevalent
further south, Maine has many cedar trees along the trail. Near the northern terminus, there
are even some tamarack, a coniferous, pine-needled deciduous tree, which provides
displays of yellow in the late fall after the birches and maples have gone bare. The hemlocks
in Maine are also notable, as the woolly adelgid, which has ravaged populations further
south, has not come into the state yet, and may be unable to make it so far north due to the
Maine also has several alpine regions. In addition to several areas of the Mahoosuc range,
the Baldpates, and Old Blue in southern Maine have alpine characteristics despite
elevations below 4000 feet. Saddleback Mountain and Mount Bigelow, further north, each
only extend a bit above 4000 feet, but have long alpine areas, with no tree growth on the
summits and unobstructed views on clear days. From Mount Bigelow, the trail extends for
150 miles with only a small area of alpine growth around 3500 feet on the summit of White
Cap Mountain. Mount Katahdin, the second largest alpine environment in the eastern
United States, has several square miles of alpine area on the flat "table land" summit as well
as the cliffs and aretes leading up to it. Treeline on Katahdin is only around 3500 feet. This
elevation in Massachusetts would barely be a sub-alpine region, and, south of Virginia,
consists of lowland forest. This illustrates the drastic change in climate over 2000 miles.
Hiking the trail
As the Appalachian Trail was explicitly designed to be hiked, it includes resources to
facilitate hikers. Some are common to trails throughout North America, while some are
unique to the Appalachian Trail. The trail is much more frequently hiked south to north (i.e.
Georgia to Maine) than vice versa; though it is occasionally hiked north to south. Hikers
typically begin in March or April and finish in late summer or early to late fall of that
particular year. Many hikers will break down the mileage into halves or thirds, so that they
can have optimal weather (which typically occurs between May and September) to do their
Throughout the length of the trail there are over 200 shelters and camp sites available for
hikers. The shelters, sometimes called lean-tos (in Maine) or huts (in New Hampshire), are
generally open, three-walled structures with a wooden floor. Some shelters are much more
complex in structure; however, for the most part, function is emphasized over form in their
construction. Shelters are spaced less than a day's hike apart, most often near a water
source and with a privy. They generally have spaces for tent sites in the vicinity, as well. It is
always advisable to carry a tent when overnighting on the trail, since shelters may be filled
to capacity, especially early in the season, and where they occur near parks.
These shelters are generally well-maintained by local volunteers and kept in good
condition. In spite of this, mice and other rodents often make their homes inside or nearby.
Almost all shelters have one or more pre-hung food hangers (generally consisting of a short
nylon cord with an upside-down tuna can suspended halfway down its length) for hikers to
hang their food bags on. In hiker lingo, these are sometimes called "mouse trapezes."
While they usually prevent mice from reaching hung food, they are by no means impervious.
For outdoor lodgers, another option is to hang one's food from a tree branch or between
two trees, using the standard bear bagging method, which is highly recommended in bear
In addition to official AT shelters, many persons offer their homes, places of business, or
inns to accommodate AT hikers. One example is the Little Lyford Pond camps maintained by
the Appalachian Mountain Club. These historic camps exist 13 miles from Greenville, Maine,
near Gulf Hagas. Inns are more common in sections of the trail that coincide with national
parks, most notably Virginia's Shenandoah National Park.
An information house in Boiling Springs, PennsylvaniaThe trail crosses many roads, thus
providing ample opportunity for hikers to hitchhike into town for food and other supplies.
Many trail towns are accustomed to hikers passing through, and thus many have hostels
and hiker-oriented accommodations. Some of the most well-known trail towns are Monson,
Maine; Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Damascus, Virginia; Hot Springs, North Carolina; Erwin,
Tennessee; Duncannon, Pennsylvania; Port Clinton, Pennsylvania; and Hanover, New
Hampshire. In the areas of the trail closer to trail towns, many hikers have experienced what
is sometimes called "trail magic," or assistance from strangers through kind actions, gifts,
and other forms of encouragement. Trail magic is sometimes done anonymously. For
example, a person may leave water, food, or other provisions for hikers to find later. In
other instances, persons have provided food and cooked for hikers at a campsite. Trail
magic is ultimately a form of goodwill.
The Appalachian Trail is relatively safe. Most injuries or incidents are consistent with
comparable outdoor activities, like rock climbing. However, there are a variety of hazards
on the trail that have caused persons to be become extremely lost, injure themselves, and
even lose their lives. Most of these hazards are related to weather conditions, human error,
plants, animals, diseases, and fellow humans encountered along the trail. Adequate
preparation can usually reduce, if not eliminate, many of these hazards.
As mentioned earlier, there are many animals that live around the trail, with bears, snakes,
and wild boars providing the most threat. However, the proper handling and storage of food
in bear bags, and paying attention to where one sits or steps can greatly reduce the risk of
dangerous encounters with these animals.
Several rodent- and bug-borne illnesses pose a threat on the trail. Ticks, in particular, are
carriers for Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and other diseases, and are in higher abundance in
northern states. Being thoroughly covered and wearing DEET can greatly reduce the
chances of getting infected. In other scattered instances, foxes, raccoons, and other small
animals may bite hikers, and such bites always pose the risk of rabies. There has been
exactly one reported case (in 1993) of hantavirus (HPS), a rare but dangerous rodent-borne
disease affecting the lungs. The afflicted hiker recovered and hiked the trail the following
Poison Ivy Plant life can create its own brand of problems. Poison ivy is common the length
of the trail, and more plentiful in the South. Avoidance is the best line of defense. Local
flare-upscan be treated with calamine lotion or Solarcaine.
Since the hiking season of the trail generally starts in mid to late spring, hiking conditions
during this time are much more favorable in the South. However, this time may also be
characterized by extreme heat, sometimes in excess of 100°F. Under such conditions,
sufficient hydration is imperative. Also, light clothing and sunscreens are a must at high
elevations and areas without foliage, even in relatively cool weather. Further north and at
higher elevations, the weather can be intensely cold, characterized by extremely low
temperatures, strong winds, hail or snow storms and critically reduced visibility. Lack of
adequate shelter, appropriate clothing and reliable maps can lead to hypothermia or
worse. Also, prolonged rain, though not typically life-threatening, can undermine a hiker's
stamina and ruin a stash of supplies. Additionally, thunderstorms can increase the distant
chance of getting hit by lightning, so typical electrical storm precautions should be
followed. Hikers often combat precipitation by carrying a pack, tent and rainwear. Along the
trail, weather can be unpredictable, so long-term, overnight hikers in particular must be
prepared for the worst if they are to be successful.
Trail hikers who attempt to complete the entire trail in a single season are called "thru-
hikers"; those who traverse the trail during a series of separate trips are known as "section-
hikers". Rugged terrain and cold weather during the spring and fall make thru-hiking
difficult. Only about 20% of those who make the attempt report to the Appalachian Trail
Conservancy that they have done so, and it is widely acknowledged that many or even most
of these have skipped portions of the Trail. Completion generally requires five to seven
months, although some have done it in three months, and several "trail runners" have
completed the trail in less time. Trail-runners almost always tackle the AT with automobile
support teams, generally without backpacks, and frequently without camping in the woods.
(The Appalachian Trail Conservancy generally disapproves of this sort of activity as well as
other "stunt" or publicity-seeking hikes; the ATC feels that such activities are inappropriate
and are a degradation of the Trail's purpose).
Thru-hikers are classified into many informal groups. "Purists" are hikers who stick to the
official AT trail except for side trips to shelters and camp sites. "Blue Blazers" cut miles from
the full route by taking side trails marked by blue blazes. The generally pejorative name
"Yellow Blazers," a reference to yellow road stripes, is given to those who hitchhike to
move down the trail.
Most thru-hikers walk northward from Georgia to Maine, and generally start out in early
spring and follow the warm weather as it moves north. These "north-bounders" are also
called NOBO or GAME, while those heading in the opposite direction are termed "south-
Part of hiker subculture includes making colorful entries in logbooks at trail shelters,
signed using trail names.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy gives the name "2000 Miler" to anyone who completes
the entire Trail. The ATC's recognition policy for "2000 Milers": Gives equal recognition to
thru-hikers and section-hikers.
Recognizing blue-blazed trails or officially required roadwalks as viable substitutes for the
official, white-blazed route in the event of an emergency, such as a flood, a forest fire, or an
impending storm on an exposed high-elevation stretch.
Operates on the honor system.
Most of the trail is also open to local use. Although there are some rules and regulations
that favor thru-hikers, some believe that the emphasis on hiking the entire length of the
trail is misplaced.
The trail is currently protected along more than 99% of its course by federal or state
ownership of the land or by right-of-way. Annually, more than 4,000 volunteers contribute
over 175,000 hours of effort on the Appalachian Trail, an effort coordinated largely by the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) organization.
In the course of its journey, the trail follows the ridgeline of the Appalachian Mountains,
crossing many of its highest peaks, and running, with only a few exceptions, almost
continuously through wilderness.
A hiker signs the register on Springer Mountain,Georgia has 75 miles (120 km) of the trail,
including the southern terminus at Springer Mountain at an elevation of 3,280 feet (992 m).
At 4,461 feet (1360 m), Blood Mountain is the highest point on the trail in Georgia. The AT
and approach trail are managed and maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. See
also: Georgia Peaks on the Appalachian Trail.
North Carolina has 88 miles (142 km) of the trail, not including more than 200 miles (325 km)
along the Tennessee Border. Altitude ranges from 1,725 to 5,498 feet (525 m to 1676 m).
Tennessee has 293 miles of the trail, including more than 200 miles (325 km) along or near
the North Carolina Border. The section that runs just below the summit of Clingmans Dome
in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the highest point on the trail at 6,625 feet (2019
The Pocosin trail in Shenandoah National Park Virginia has 550 miles (885 km) of the trail,
including about 20 miles (32 km) along the West Virginia border. Some consider this to be
the wettest, most challenging part of the hike for northbound hikers because of the spring
thaw. On average, it rains 20 out of 30 days during the spring. Substantial portions closely
parallel the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Shenandoah National Park. Parts of
the trail near the Blue Ridge Parkway are often considered the best for beginner hikers.
West Virginia has 4 miles (6 km) of the trail, not including about 20 miles (32 km) along the
Virginia border. Here the trail passes through the town of Harpers Ferry, headquarters of
the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Harpers Ferry is considered the "psychological
midpoint" of the AT.
Maryland has 41 miles (66 km) of the trail, with elevations ranging from 230 to 1,880 feet (70–
570 m). This section, great for three- or four-day trips, is easy by AT standards, and is a good
place for hikers to find out if they are ready for more rugged parts of the trail. Hikers are
required to stay at designated shelters and campsites.
Pennsylvania has 229 miles (369 km) of the trail. The trail extends from the Pennsylvania -
Maryland line at Pen Mar, a tiny town straddling the state line, to the Delaware Water Gap, at
the Pennsylvania - New Jersey border. The Susquehanna River is generally considered the
dividing line between the northern and southern sections of the Pennsylvania AT.
The AT passes through St. Anthony's Wilderness, which is the second largest roadless area
in Pennsylvania and home to several coal mining ghost towns, such as Yellow Springs and
Sunfish Pond on the Appalachian trail in New Jersey. New Jersey is home to 72 miles (116
km) of the trail. The trail enters New Jersey from the south on a pedestrian walkway
along the Interstate 80 bridge over the Delaware River, ascends from the Delaware Water
Gap to the top of Kittatinny Ridge in Worthington State Forest, passes Sunfish Pond (right),
continues through Stokes State Forest and eventually reaches High Point State Park,
highest peak in New Jersey (a side trail is required to reach the actual peak). It then turns in
a southeastern direction along the New York border for about 30 miles (48 km), passing
over long sections of boardwalk bridges over marshy land, then entering Wawayanda State
Park and then the Abraham Hewitt State Forest just before entering New York near
Black bear activity along the trail in New Jersey increased rapidly starting in 2001. Hence,
metal bear-proof trash boxes are in place at all New Jersey shelters.
Island Pond, Harriman State ParkNew York's 88 miles (142 km) of trail contain very little
elevation change compared to other states. From south to north, the trail summits many
small mountains under 1,400 feet (430 m) in elevation, its highest point in New York being
Prospect Rock at 1,433 feet (438 m), and only 3,000 feet (800 m) from the border with New
Jersey. The trail continues north, climbing near Fitzgerald Falls, passing through Sterling
Forest, and then entering Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park. It crosses the
Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge, the lowest point on the entire Appalachian Trail
at 124 feet (38 m). It then passes through Fahnestock State Park, and continues northeast
until it enters Connecticut via the Pawling Nature Reserve. The section of the trail that
passes through Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks is the oldest section of the trail,
completed in 1923.
The 52 miles (84 km) of trail in Connecticut, lie almost entirely along the ridges to the west
above the Housatonic River valley.
The state line is also the western boundary of a 480-acre (190 ha) Connecticut reservation
inhabited by 11 Schaghticoke Indians. Inside it, the AT roughly parallels its northern
boundary, crossing back outside it after 2,000 feet (640 m).
Mount Greylock in Massachusetts.Massachusetts has 90 miles (145 km) of trail. The
entire section of trail is in western Massachusetts' Berkshire County. It summits the highest
peak in the Southern Berkshires, Mount Everett (2,602 ft., 793 m), then descends to the
Housatonic River Valley and skirts the town of Great Barrington. The trail passes through
the towns of Dalton and Cheshire, and summits the highest point in the state at 3,491 feet
(1,064 m), Mount Greylock. It then quickly descends to the valley within 2 miles (3 km) of
North Adams and Williamstown, before ascending again to the Vermont state line. The trail
throughout Massachusetts is maintained by the Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian
Vermont has 150 miles (241 km) of the trail. Upon entering Vermont, the trail coincides
with the southernmost sections of the generally north/south-oriented Long Trail (which is
subject to a request by its maintainers to protect it in its most vulnerable part of the year by
forgoing spring hiking). It follows the ridge of the southern Green Mountains, summitting
such notable peaks as Stratton Mountain, Glastenbury Mountain and Killington Peak. After
parting ways with the Long Trail at Maine Junction, the AT turns in a more eastward
direction, crossing the White River, passing through Norwich, and entering Hanover, New
Hampshire, as it crosses the Connecticut River. The Green Mountain Club maintains the AT
from the Massachusetts state border to Route12. The Dartmouth Outing Club maintains the
trail from Route 12 to the New Hampshire state line.
New Hampshire has 161 miles of the trail. The New Hampshire AT is nearly all within the
White Mountain National Forest. For northbound thru-hikers, it is the beginning of the main
challenges that go beyond enduring distance and time: in New Hampshire and Maine, rough
or steep ground are more frequent and alpine conditions are found near summits and along
ridges. The trail reaches more than half of the four-thousand footers of New Hampshire,
including Mount Washington, the highest point of the AT north of Tennessee. The
Dartmouth Outing Club maintains the AT from the Vermont border past Mount Moosilauke to
Kinsman Notch, with the AMC maintaining the remaining miles through the state.
The 281 miles (452 km) of the trail in Maine are particularly difficult. More moose are seen by
hikers in this state than any other on the trail. The northern terminus of the Appalachian
Trail is on Katahdin's Baxter Peak in Baxter State Park.
The western section includes a mile-long (1.6 km) stretch of boulders at Mahoosuc Notch,
often called the trail's hardest mile. Also, although there are dozens of river and stream
fords on the Maine section of the trail, the Kennebec River is the only one on the trail that
requires a boat crossing. The most isolated portion in the state (and arguably on the entire
trail) is known as the "100-Mile Wilderness." This section heads east-northeast from the
town of Monson and ends outside Baxter State Park just south of Abol Bridge.
Park management strongly discourages thru-hiking within the park before May 15 or after
October 15.[ The AMC maintains the AT from the New Hampshire border to Grafton Notch,
with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club responsible for maintaining the remaining miles to Mt.
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White, rectangular paint
blazes mark the
Appalachian Trail from
Maine to Georgia. No other
marking so clearly or
consistently identifies the
route, or contributes more
to meeting the Appalachian
Trail Conservancy's marking
standard, adopted in
"The Appalachian Trail shall
be continuously and neatly
marked using standard
techniques in such a manner
that the hiker unfamiliar with
the area can discern the
direction of the route and the
location of drinking water
Four other kinds of
markings supplement the
white blazes: metal markers,
cairns, posts, and signs.
The diamond-shaped metal
A.T. marker, the footpath's
official insignia prior to its
designation as a National
Scenic Trail, distinguishes
the route as the
Appalachian Trail. Cairns
and posts mark the route in
field, on balds, and in alpine
areas where blazes are
hard or impossible to place.
Read More Here
|Views, flora, fauna, and
people on the
Appalachian Trail. It is
dedicated to all hikers
and lovers of the AT.