Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Quick Facts

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

West Virginia

(304) 535-6331

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,184-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is used by day, weekend and other short-term hikers, section-hikers and thru-hikers. Thru-hikers hike the entire length of the Trail in one season. The A.T. began as a vision of forester Benton MacKaye and was developed by volunteers and opened as a continuous trail in 1937. It was designated as the first National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act of 1968. The Trail is currently protected along more than 99 percent of its course by federal or state ownership of the land or by rights-of-way. Annually, more than 4,000 volunteers contribute more than 185,000 hours of effort on the Appalachian Trail.

Map of Appalachian Trail

Latitude, Longitude: 39.322729, -77.754922



  • Camping

    You do not need a permit to walk the A.T., but overnight camping permits are required in some areas. There are no fees required to hike the A.T., and generally, no reservations are required or accepted at trail shelters or overnight sites. However, there are fees for vehicle parking in some areas and there are fees at some overnight sites.

  • Climbing

    Limited rock climbing is available on or near the trail.

  • Hiking

    The Appalachian Trail is open to walkers, hikers, and backpackers. Abroad array of hiking opportunities for both the long-distance or day hiker. Services may not be available at many locations along the A.T. Treat all drinking water.

    The Appalachian Trail is closed to motor vehicles and bicycles. It is closed to horses, except in certain limited sections where they are expressly allowed. Dogs are prohibited on the sections of the trail within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC & TN) and Baxter State Park (ME), and must be on a leash on all national park lands and most other trail sections. Dogs are excluded from the zoo section of Bear Mountain State Park in New York.

  • Historic Sites

    Benton MacKaye developed the idea of the Appalachian Trail in 1921 in his article An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning. It called for a network of work camps and communities in the mountains, all linked by a trail that ran from the highest point in New England to the highest point in the South. He envisioned the A.T. as a path interspersed with planned wilderness communities where people could go to renew themselves.

    The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), originally established as the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1925, was set up to coordinate the building of the Trail; as an organization whose mission was to carry out MacKaye's vision for the Trail.

    Judge Arthur Perkins and Myron Avery started work in 1928 to help build the footpath. First completed in 1937, the A.T. fell into disrepair during World War II, when volunteer maintainers were called to serve their country. Parts of the route were lost. Restoration began after the war, and the A.T. was once again declared complete in 1951.

    After years of work on Congress by ATC and its members and with the strong support of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the A.T. became the first complete national scenic trail in October 1968. The National Trails System Act provides for protection, financial assistance, and land acquisition not only for the A.T., but also other yet to be formed national trails.

    Today, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail continues to thrive through a cooperative management network that includes ATC, the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, 31 Trail-maintaining clubs, and numerous state and local partners.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking along the trail is a great way to enjoy and take in the natural beauty of the famous trail.

  • Winter Sports

    Cross country skiing is permitted along some sections of the trail. Snow-shoeing is another way to utilize the trail in winter months. Tracking also becomes a fun winter activity, as tracks are often easier to see in the snow.


Spring: Wide temperature swings are normal for spring in the Appalachian mountains. Hiking the southern portions of the trail may be more comfortable for many hikers. Summer: Summer is a popular time to hike on the Appalachian Trail. Hikers will find cooler temperatures when hiking at higher elevations. Hikers should take extra precautions to deal with the summer temperatures and plan to bring more water than they think they will need. Winter: During the winter, hikers should expect to encounter snow along their route.

Park Partners

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is the primary source of, and clearinghouse for, information about the Appalachian Trail.

The mission of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail - ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy aspires to connect the human spirit with nature - preserving the delicate majesty of the Trail as a haven for all to enjoy. The organization is committed to nurture and protect this sacred space through education and inspiration. It strives to create an ever-expanding community of doers and dreamers, and work to ensure that tomorrow's generations will experience the same mesmerizing beauty that visitors behold today.

(304) 535-6331



Car - The Trail has more than 500 access points. Contact the private, nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conference for directions.

Appalachian Trail Conference, PO Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807

Telephone: 304-535-6331

Phone Numbers


(304) 535-6331