From Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the Appalachian Trail in the Eastern United States covers 2,088 miles (3,369 km) of marked hiking trail. According to The Appalachian Trail Conservancy the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. The trail passes through 14 states, eight different national forests, six national park units and numerous state parks, forests, and game lands.
The trail was officially opened in 1937, after ten years of planning and mapping. Today the trail is still subject to change, since parts are constantly being modified and rerouted. No less than 31 trail clubs maintain the route.
Every year more than 2 million people can be found on the trail. Almost 1,000 of them accomplish to thru-hike the Appalachian trail.
Together with the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail forms the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States. The total length of this Triple Crown is about 7,900 miles (12,700 km), with a vertical gain of more than 190 miles (300 km). The first person to complete the Triple Crown of Hiking was Eric Ryback. He was only 16 years old when he accomplished the Appalachian Trail in 1969. One year later he successfully hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. He wrote a book about his adventures on the trail: “The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on Foot” Another two years later he put the cherry on the cake by walking the Continental Divide Trail. It gave him enough inspiration to write another book: “The Ultimate Journey”.
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