|The Appalachian Trail in New England|
|The famous hiking trail from Maine to Georgia wanders through the mountains of all but one of the six New England states. (It doesn't touch Rhode Island.)|
Officially called the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, this 2158-miles (3481-km) footpath through the wilderness meanders from Mount Katahdin in Maine through Maine's forests to New Hampshire's White Mountains, Vermont's Green Mountains and Massachusetts' Berkshire Hills before crossing into Connecticut and New York State, heading south along the Appalachian Mountain range and ending at Springer Mountain, Georgia (map).
The trail is managed by the US National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and many volunteers. More than three million people hike some portion of the Appalachian Trail each year.
Earnest hikers strive to hike the entire trail, but since the trail was opened in 1937, fewer than 9000 hikers have made it all the way. The full-distance hike takes five or six months.
If you're a serious Appalachian Trail hiker, or plan to become a "through hiker" (or "2000-miler") and hike the whole trail, you must adopt a "trail name," some moniker by which you'll be known on your journey.
Two words not heard much among through hikers: dry and easy. The Appalachian Trail is usually neither.
You'll also have to know that nobo means "northbound hiker" and sobo means "southbound hiker."
The rest of us, like Bill Bryson, hike only parts of it (as Bryson recounts in his hilarious Appalachian trail hiking memoir A Walk in the Woods).
The Trail in New England
The most popular portions of the Appalachian Trail in New England are those near Mount Katahdin in Maine, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, Vermont's Green Mountains, and the Massachusetts Berkshires.
Want to find out what it's like? Join the discussions on WhiteBlaze.net, "A Community of Appalachian Trail Enthusiasts."
Whenever you go out to enjoy New England's forests, meadows and fields, be conscious of ticks and tick-borne illness. More...
History of the Trail
The Appalachian Trail is a wonderful national (and natural) achievement, and its history is long and storied.
If you're interested in knowing how it was accomplished, buy a copy of Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, by Jeffrey H Ryan, published by AMC Books. More...
—by Tom Brosnahan