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Hiking the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately 2,184 miles long and is one of the premier long backpacking trails in the United States. 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 path is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions traverse towns, roads and cross-rivers.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of who, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to this pursuit.

An unofficial extension known as the International Appalachian Trail, continues north into Canada and to the end of the range, where it enters the Atlantic Ocean.

The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail form what is known as the Triple Crown of long distance hiking in the United States.

Philadelphia: Appalachian Trail-South of 309

Most of this easy 7-mile hike passes under a tree-shaded ridgeline that insulates dayhikers from the outside world.

Philadelphia: Mt. Minsi via the AT

Wander through white pine, Eastern hemlock, and mountain lauren to the summit of Mt. Minsi on this 4.2-mile out-and-back sprinkled with lovely mountain overlooks.

New York City: Fingerboard Shelter via the AT

Tackle a section of America’s first National Scenic Trail on this 15.8-mile out-and-back overnight near Lake Tiorati in Harriman State Park.

New York City: Hurd Corners to Morgan Stewart Shelter via the AT

A massive oak, a sprawling wetland, an atomic lake-this classic weekend trip packs it all into a 19.2-mile out-and-back on the Appalachian Trail. Bonus: Save the Earth by taking the train to the trailhead.

Appalachian Trail: Lovers Leap Loop

Sample a classic stretch of the Appalachian Trail on this 11.5-mile route around a 1,000-foot gorge, with overlooks and eye-candy vistas of the Smokies.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion Loop

Get away for a night or three on this 12.8-mile lasso loop that delivers you to the high reaches of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Harrisburg, PA: Toland to Pine Grove Furnace via Appalachian Trail

In less than 7.5 miles, you’ll visit quiet woods and a secret Underground Railroad spot, and cross the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail.

New York City: Hurd Corners to Wiley Shelter via the AT

Hop off the train and onto a quiet, well-marked trail. Hike as far as 12.2 miles; see deer and turkey, and, if you choose, camp in a classic AT shelter.

Appalachian Trail: Mount Katahdin

Big climb. Big crowds. Bigger reward. This classic 9.8-mile route climbs the tallest peak in Maine, a hiking high point in every sense.

Shenandoah National Park: Thornton Gap to the Pinnacles

Go 5 or 10 miles on this dayhike, which features skyline views of migrating hawks, the Shenandoah River Valley, and nearby towns.

Appalachian Trail: Mount Greylock Hike

Hit this 15-mile out-and-back on the Appalachian Trail via train and bus for sprawling views and Massachusetts’ high point.

New York City: Bear and West Mountains via the AT

This 10-mile out-and-back climbs a summit with far-reaching views and ends at a rustic Appalachian Trail shelter.

Harpers Ferry: Loudoun Heights via the AT

Hop a train for a weekend on Blue Ridge trails near the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Appalachian Trail: Lehigh to Little Gaps

To enjoy the stretched-out ridgeline views on this 10-mile out-and-back, you’ll first have to navigate an interesting hand-over-foot scramble.

Appalachian Trail: Brown Gap to Max Patch

Go 6.9 miles on the Blue Ridge, mostly tracing the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, to one of the largest balds in the Southern Appalachians.

Appalachian Trail: Mount Rogers Headquarters to VA 86

This succinct 3.8-mile dayhike winds across Brushy Mountain’s ridgetop, traverses a small saddle, then crests Locust Mountain before a final descent.

New York City: High Point

This 11.8-miler traces the Appalachian Trail along an idyllic ridgeline to New Jersey’s highpoint, 60 miles from Manhattan.

White Mountain National Forest: Thoreau Falls

Gaze down the barrel of a waterfall and visit a secluded pond on this 10.2-mile section hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Shenandoah National Park: Skyland to Big Meadows via Appalachian Trail

Save this 13.6-miler for a weekday in the spring when crowds are thin and haze-free views stretch for miles (patches of flowers and wildlife, too).

Springfield, MA: Mounts Everett and Race via Appalachian Trail

Connect the tops of two Berkshire peaks and catch views into three states on this 4.4-mile out-and-back in Mount Everett State Reservation.

Appalachian Trail: Dicks Creek Gap to Winding Stair Gap

Perfect for a weeklong jaunt, this 38-mile section climbs mountains, winds through deep gaps and passes a short side hike to Standing Indian Mountain, where Indian lore says a bolt of lighting struck a lone Cherokee sentinel and turned him to stone.

Appalachian Trail: Greenbrier State Park to Raven Rock Road

Trace the high brow of the Appalachians on this 12.3-mile segment past several campsites and overlooks–including Annapolis Rocks, a popular crag for climbers.

Appalachian Trail: Tesnatee Gap to Unicoi Gap

This 14.6-mile leg promises long views on Blue Mountain and ends at Unicoi Gap where hikers can find an original 1934 metal AT trail marker.

Appalachian Trail: Neels Gap to Tesnatee Gap

Start by walking through Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi–the only indoor section of the AT that runs through a stone building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934–and then climb up into Raven Cliffs Wilderness.

Appalachian Trail: Woody Gap to Neels Gap

The hotspot on this 9.8-mile section is Blood Mountain, a 4,450-foot peak where historic battles between the Creek and Cherokee Indians stained the ground red.

Appalachian Trail: Gathland State Park to Greenbrier State Park

Civil War battlefields, the original Washington Monument, and a rolling ridgeline await dayhikers and overnighters on this lovely historical section of the AT.

Appalachian Trail: Springer Mountain to Woody Gap

Three shelters, rolling hills and beautiful vistas reward hikers as they connect Springer Mountain to Woody Gap where a recently renovated shelter sits under a leafy canopy.

Appalachian Trail: Harpers Ferry to Gathland State Park

This 10.4-miler passes Jefferson Rock, climbs Weverton Cliff for jaw-dropping views, then continues on temperate terrain to Gathland State Park.

Appalachian Trail: Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain

It’s not the officially the AT but this 8.8-mile hike climbs past Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail: CT 341 to CT 4

A moderate ascent of Calebs Peak and a steep descent off St. Johns Ledges ends with a gentle cruise along the Housatonic River banks on this 10.7-mile hike.

Appalachian Trail: Jug End Road to MA 23

Exposed ledges, a glacial cleft, summit climbs, and a talus-strewn ravine highlight this 12.5-miler in the Berkshires and Taconic Mountains.

Appalachian Trail: Hoyt Road to CT 341

This scenic 11.2-miler crisscrosses the New York-Connecticut border three times and rewards hikers with numerous views of the Housatonic Valley.

Appalachian Trail: Wayah Gap to US 19

Build your quads on this remote section of the Appalachian Trail, which features seven balds over 5,000 feet, and amazing views of the Smokies from Jump off Point.

Appalachian Trail: Gulf Road to Cheshire, MA

Watch for black bears along this 7.1-mile leg that features woodlands and a worthy side trip to the glacial leftovers of Cheshire Cobbles.

Appalachian Trail: Pittsfield Road to Gulf Road

Go from wooded ravines to marshy bogs to a blueberry-speckled trail on this mellow 10.5-mile segment.

Appalachian Trail: I-90 to Pittsfield Road

Over the course of this 9.6-miler, you’ll crest three Berkshire peaks, cruise the banks of Finerty Pond, and visit the largest state forest in Massachusetts.

Appalachian Trail: Winding Stair Gap to Wayah Gap

This 6.2-miler offers a quick overnight getaway. Connect scenic outcrops with views to nearby mountains and camp at Silver Bald Shelter.

Appalachian Trail: Tyringham Road to I-90

Tour hemlock- and pine-covered landscapes in the Berkshires to a glacial lake nestled between wooded hills on this 8.4-miler.

Appalachian Trail: MA 23 to Tyringham Road

This 11-miler follows a network of bog bridges, passes a glacial pond, and showcases postcard views from The Ledges.

Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap

This 30.3-miler in the Great Smokies leads to picturesque panoramas including Charles Bunion, a popular 5,736-foot bald.

Appalachian Trail: Notch Road to VT 9

Earmark a long weekend for this 20.9-miler that connects Massachusetts to Vermont. Highlights include: sweet lookout views and a walk on The Long Trail–the country’s first long–distance trail.

Appalachian Trail: Fontana Dam to Newfound Gap

Multiple peaks, steep climbs, and open meadows highlight this 40.6-mile trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Stecoach Gap to Fontana Dam

Meander through lush hardwood forests with moderate elevation change and check out Cable Gap Shelter–a cozy, three-sided log shelter.

Appalachian Trail: Cheshire, MA to Notch Road

Connect farm fields, hardwood forests and the rocky crown of Mount Greylock–Massachusetts’ highest summit–on this 10.9-mile dayhike.

Appalachian Trail: US 19 to Stecoach Gap

Start at the Nantahala Outdoor Center and hit the trail for a beautiful, yet rugged 12.7-mile walk under hardwoods and through Nantahala Gorge. Not up for a long day hike? Stop at Sassafras Gap Shelter and swap stories with thru-hikers.

Appalachian Trail: CT 41 to Jug End Road

Rocky and rugged, this 15.9-mile trek travels through two states, crests the tallest peak in Connecticut, and links four summits in Massachusetts.

Appalachian Trail: US 7 to US 44

Some of the best views of Connecticut can be seen from Rand’s View—a quiet meadow dotting this 9-mile leg that showcases unrivaled views of wooded Berkshire Hills.

Appalachian Trail: West Cornwall Road to US 7

Ready your camera. This 7.3-miler serves up five-star views of countless peaks: Bear Mountain, Mount Everett, Kaaterskill High Peak and the Catskills, to name a few.

Appalachian Trail: CT 4 to West Cornwall Road

Don’t let the mileage fool you. This 4.9-miler packs in two summits, crosses a rushing brook, and provides idyllic views of the Housatonic Valley.

Appalachian Trail: Damascus, VA to Summit Cut, VA

Tackle a rigorous 1,000-foot climb, traverse fields, and cross an impressive gorge on this 15.8-mile section.

Appalachian Trail: Davenport Gap to Max Patch Road

This 18.7-mile weekend trip starts with a 2,700-foot climb up Snowbird Mountain then descends and climbs again to Max Patch, an old homestead and logging camp.

Appalachian Trail: Tanyard Gap to Allen Gap

Cruise 8.1 miles into wooded creek valleys and up Rich Mountain where an old fire tower is accessible by a short spur trail.

Appalachian Trail: Hot Springs, NC to Tanyard Gap

Switchback 1,000 feet to poster-worthy views of Lovers Leap Rock, an aptly-named perch made famous by a suicidal Cherokee maiden.

Appalachian Trail: Max Patch Road to Hot Springs, NC

Enjoy panoramic Smokies views on blueberry- and rhododendron-lined trails on the way to French Broad River, where relaxing hot springs await.

Appalachian Trail: Summit Cut, VA to Dickey Gap

This weeklong hike tours photogenic balds, rhododendron-choked valleys, and grassy hillsides with wild ponies in Grayson Highlands State Park.

Appalachian Trail: Old Albany Post Road to NY 301

Cruise past 230-year-old homestead foundations and old roads used by troops during the Revolutionary War on this 8.5-mile dayhike.

Appalachian Trail: Sams Gap to Spivey Gap

Top-of-the-world vistas, fields of wildflowers and sun-dappled hardwood forests are nothing compared to David Greer, an insane murderer who once lived on Bald Mountain from 1802 to 1834.

Appalachian Trail: Bear Mountain to Old Albany Post Road

Drop to the lowest elevation point on the AT, cross the Hudson on what was once the world’s longest suspension bridge, then claim views of a glacier-scoured valley on this 9.2-mile section hike.

Appalachian Trail: Palisades Parkway to Bear Mountain

The payoff on this 6.4-mile hike is the big views on Bear Mountain, stretching from the Hudson Highlands to New York City’s skyline.

Appalachian Trail: NY 301 to NY 52

Postcard-worthy views are plentiful during this 11.2-mile stretch. Bring your camera and snap panoramas overlooking Canopus Lake, the Hudson River Valley, and the Fishkill Plains.

Appalachian Trail: NY 17 to Palisades Parkway

Navigate the infamous lemon squeezer, a pinched corridor tucked between mammoth-sized boulders, on this 11-mile route peppered young hardwoods and old iron mines in Harriman State Park.

Appalachian Trail: NY 17A to NY 17

This 11-miler traverses four mountains and passes the faded remains of settlements and iron mines. Along the way, you’ll skirt the base of Fitzgerald Falls.

Appalachian Trail: Warwick Turnpike to NY 17A

Connect New Jersey and New York on this rugged 8.6-mile route that traverses the glacier-cut spine of Bellvale Mountain.

Appalachian Trail: NJ 94 to Warwick Turnpike

This sweet 5.3-miler charges up Wawayanda Mountain, crosses a 19th century iron bridge, and cruises past Luther’s Rock, a boulder left by retreating glaciers.

Appalachian Trail: NJ 284 to NJ 94

Ten miles is all it takes to tour this medley of landscapes ranging from giant swamps in Vernon Valley to the glacier-scraped summit of Pochuck Mountain.

Appalachian Trail: Devil Fork Gap to Sams Gap

Cross farmlands and woods then climb 1,500 feet to Lick Rock. Bonus: Look closely for an old barbed wire fence that once separated North Carolina and Tennessee.

Appalachian Trail: NJ 23 to NJ 284

Soon after its start in Highpoint State Park, this 9.5-miler travels the New Jersey-New York border then crosses tens of small bridges through the Vernie Swamp. Add-on: Follow spur trail to New Jersey’s highpoint.

Appalachian Trail: Culvers Gap to NJ 23

Walk along Kittatinny Ridge to the crest of Sunrise Mountain to photograph panoramas of the New Jersey Highlands and the Poconos before dropping down to High Point State Park.

Appalachian Trail: Millbrook-Blairstown Road to Culvers Gap

This 13.7-miler unfurls across the backbone of Kittatinny Ridge showcasing lake-dotted landscapes and views above Culvers Lake. Must see!: Take the sidetrip to Buttermilk Falls, New Jersey’s highest waterfall.

Appalachian Trail: Delaware River Bridge to Millbrook-Blairstown Road

Start where the Delaware River pours through Kittatinny Ridge to explore this 13.3-mile trek of a wooded ridgeline that runs past a glacial pond and a 60-foot fire tower.

Appalachian Trail: VA 86 to US 11

Highlights along this 6.7-mile section hike include: long-stretched views from Glade Mountain, colorful wildflowers, and Settlers Museum (fresh water, seasonal fruits and veggies available to hikers).

Appalachian Trail: Allen Gap to Devil Fork Gap

Go the whole 18.6 miles or shorten your hike by staying at one of the three shelters planted along this leg. Highlights: Civil War markers and panoramic views on Firescald Knob.

Appalachian Trail: Dickey Gap to Mount Rogers Headquarters

This 13.1-miler twists around several 3,400-foot peaks then dips into wooded valleys and traces an old narrow-gauge railroad route.

Appalachian Trail: NY 52 to NY 22

This 13.3-miler is loaded with interesting points: the massive Dover Oak, a trailside railroad station, and the Great Swamp–one of the largest wetlands in New York.

Appalachian Trail: NY 22 to Hoyt Road

The marshlands and wooded swamps on this 6.9-mile leg are home to more than 77 species of birds.

Appalachian Trail: US 19W to Indian Grave Gap

This segment packs a lot in 7.2 miles: rocky ledges, sweeping river views, and an old 1930s shelter.

Appalachian Trail: Indian Grave Gap to Iron Mountain Gap

Fields painted in wildflowers, steep climbs to sweet vistas, and rhododendron tunnels await ambitious day-hikers and weekend warriors on this 10.2-mile hike.

Appalachian Trail: Iron Mountain Gap to Carvers Gap

Connect Roan Mountain, Little Rock Knob, and Iron Mountain on this rolling 13.2-mile leg through Pisgah National Forest.

Appalachian Trail: Spivey Gap to US 19W

Link dense maple forests to scenic ridgelines then finish with a steep descent to the Nolichucky River on this 9-mile leg. Bonus: Check out Uncle Johnny Hostel, a popular hangout for thru-hikers.

Appalachian Trail: Raven Rock Road to Pen Mar Road

This 5.1-mile section hosts one of the oddest named shelters (Devils Racecourse), crosses the Mason-Dixon Line, and climbs to the highest point on the AT in Maryland.

Appalachian Trail: US 321 to TN 91

This relatively flat 20.2-mile section runs through rhododendron tunnels, quiet woodlands, and past three AT shelters.

Appalachian Trail: Dennis Cove to US 321

Grab a photogenic lunch spot at Laura Creek Falls, or sleep over at a nearby shelter on this 8.2-mile segment.

Appalachian Trail: Old Forge Road to PA 233

This 4.8-mile dayhike jams in 1,400 feet of climbing, and a mile-long spur trail to Chimney Rocks—a stunning overlook with easterly views of Green Ridge and Waynesboro Reservoir.

Appalachian Trail: Pen Mar Road to Old Forge Road

This 7.2-mile leg traces Indian trading routes to Mount Dunlap then continues through second-growth forests rich in song birds and whitetail deer.

Appalachian Trail: US 19E to Dennis Cove

This 23.3-mile stretch of the AT passes beneath waterfalls and young hardwoods in Cherokee National Forest. Don’t miss the short hike to Jones Falls.

Appalachian Trail: Carvers Gap to US 19E

Cross over several grassy balds and look for wild ponies on this 13.5-mile leg with three AT shelters.

Appalachian Trail: US 501 to VA 607

Take a Blue Ridge summit tour to the tops of Big Rocky Row, Little Rocky Row, Bluff Mountain, and Punchbowl Mountain on this 10.7-mile hike where views extend south to the James River.

Appalachian Trail: TN 91 to Damascus, VA

Get lost in a mixed forest of evergreens and hardwoods on this fairly flat 20.3-mile hike with multiple camping spots and a steep final descent into Damascus.

Appalachian Trail: Shippensburg Road to Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Leave the highlands and enjoy young forests and farmland panoramas (cue the hay fields and barns) on this easy-going 8.1-mile stretch.

Appalachian Trail: PA 233 to Shippensburg Road

Go for one, two, or three nights on this 15.5-mile leg featuring a trio of shelters and long shady stretches under classic Pennsylvanian woodlands.

Appalachian Trail: VA 56 to Three Ridges Overlook

You’ll travel past Harpers Creek Shelter and continue on a steady ascent over the summits of the Three Ridges in George Washington National Forest on this 10.2-mile trek.

Appalachian Trail: US 60 to VA 56

Wander hills painted in wildflowers and crest several crags before charging down 3,000 feet to the Tye River on this 24-mile trek.

Appalachian Trail: VA 607 to US 60

This 10.2-miler crosses a new suspension bridge over the Pedlar River and curves around the southern tip of Lynchburg Reservoir. Bonus: Cool off and snap photos at the waterfall next to Brown Mountain Creek.

Appalachian Trail: PA 94 to Bucher Hill Road

Climb. Descend. Repeat. This 8.3-mile leg connects 4 unnamed highpoints along Rocky Ridge. No surprise: Lots of giant rocks on the trail too.

Appalachian Trail: US 201 to Moxie Pond Road

A popular dayhike, this 10.9-miler traces the banks of Holly Brook, skirts the edge of a scenic pond, and reveals panoramic views from the top of Pleasant Pond Mountain.

Appalachian Trail: East Flagstaff Road to US 201

Weave through old-growth stands of white pine and spruce on this 19.3- mile hike that tours four ponds and ends with a wet crossing of the Kennebec River.

Appalachian Trail: PA 850 to Clarks Ferry Bridge

This 10.4-miler climbs weathered mountain ridges to several rocky overlooks then ends on the banks of the Susquehanna River, the longest river on the East Coast.

Appalachian Trail: Caribou Valley Road to ME 16

Put your lungs and quads to the test on this 7.5-mile summit climb that crests South Crocker and North Crocker mountains–two 4,000-foot peaks with five-star views.

Appalachian Trail: ME 16 to East Flagstaff Road

Summit climbs, mountain ponds, and panoramic views highlight this 15.5-mile hike in the Bigelow Range.

Appalachian Trail: ME 4 to Caribou Valley Road

This rugged 21.6-mile route links five summits and passes a plague honoring the final section of the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail: ME 17 to ME 4

Connect four picturesque ponds on this 12.2-mile leg that rolls across wooded hills to the Sandy River. Watch for moose too.

Appalachian Trail: Bucher Hill Road to PA 850

The first 12 miles of this ambitious dayhike are almost pancake-flat then the homestretch climbs 800 feet to Blue Mountain.

Appalachian Trail: South Arm Road to ME 17

This 12-miler climbs out of Black Brook Notch and connects a string of summits with far-reaching views of distant peaks and countless lakes.

Appalachian Trail: ME 26 to East Hill B Road

You’ll tour the tops of three summits overlooking Grafton Notch State Park and visit a scenic waterfall on this 9.5-mile dayhike.

Appalachian Trail: East Hill B Road to South Arm Road

A stiff climb—you’ll gain roughly 1,300 feet in a mile—and an even steeper descent make this 8.8-miler a challenging daytrip.

Appalacian Trail: Pine Grove Furnace State Park to PA 94

Quickly climb to the mostly wooded spine of Piney Mountain, go 5 miles, then descend the gap into Toland and climb again on this 10.4-mile section. Tip: Don’t miss the Half-Gallon Challenge at Pine Grove Furnace General Store.

Appalachian Trail: Shirley-Blanchard Road to ME 15

You’ll trace the northern banks of Lake Hebron–a popular fishing hole–and climb the wooded slopes of Buck Hill on this 6.1-mile dayhike.

Appalachian Trail: Moxie Pond Road to Shirley-Blanchard Road

Follow the West Branch Piscataquis River through lake-dotted landscapes and old growth forests on this 17.9-mile hike—perfect for a long weekend.

Appalachian Trail: Jo-Mary Road to Mount Katahdin

This 53.2-mile section is wild and remote, stringing together the 100-Mile Wilderness to Mount Katahdin, the highest point in Maine and the northern-most point on the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail: ME 15 to Jo-Mary Road

This classic 54-mile section travels through Maine’s infamous 100-Mile Wilderness where countless notches, summit bids, and old-growth conifers are just a few highlights.

Appalachian Trail: Cape Moonshine Road to USFS 19

Several reasons to explore this mostly forested 9.4-mile trip: Two shelters, countless springtime wildflowers, a lovely pond, and a summit bid on Mount Mist.

Appalachian Trail: USFS 19 to NH 112

Climb more than 3,300 feet on this adventurous dayhike up Mount Moosilauke, a 4,802-foot bald with airy views of the White Mountains and New Hampshire.

Appalachian Trail: US 460 to VA 635

Thump. Thump. Thump. Raise your heart rate while climbing to the postcard-worthy balds on Peters Mountain. This 19.6-mile ridgewalk traces the Virginia-West Virginia border.

Appalachian Trail: VA 663 to US 460

Before you lose 2,500 feet in the final two miles on this 11.2-miler, enjoy the fern-draped ridges and sweeping valley views on Angels Rest.

Appalachian Trail: VA 606 to VA 663

This 15-miler starts out gently along Dismal Creek then cranks up 1,300 feet to Sugar Run Mountain. Take the side trip to Falls of Dismal—a multi-tiered cascade and local swimming hole.

Appalachian Trail: VA 608 to VA 606

This 4.6-mile dayhike leaves Lickskillet Hollow and follows Brushy Mountain’s ridgetop before dropping down to cross Kimberling Creek on a suspension bridge.

Appalachian Trail: VA 601 to VA 42

Follow an old gravel road on this 5.7-mile dayhike from Rocky Gap to Kelly Knob where mountain skylines turn fiery pink at sunset.

Appalachian Trail: VA 42 to VA 624

Go from the watery flats of Sinking Creek to the knifelike ridges of Cove Mountain on this 26.5-mile leg. Other highlights: A 300-year-old Keffer Oak and the Medieval-named rock called Dragons Tooth.

Appalachian Trail: VA 635 to VA 613

Wind Rock. The first explorers nailed the name of this breezy point perched above a sea of wooded wilderness in two states.

Appalachian Trail: I-77 to VA 608

Numerous campsites, two shelters, and a viewpoint dot this 12.7-mile section hike. Note: Native wintergreen grows along the trail.

Appalachian Trail: PA 443 to PA 645

Need a quick getaway? This 11-mile hike drops into Swatara Gap, then continues to wooded campsites and overlooks above two lakes.

Appalachian Trail: VA 613 to VA 601

Overnight at War Spur Shelter on this 7.7-mile ridgeline tour linking Potts Mountain and Lone Pine Peak then drop into Rocky Gap (one of many Rocky Gaps along the AT spine).

Appalachian Trail: PA 325 to PA 443

Weak-ankled hikers need not apply. This 15.8-miler descends a slow-going rock garden off Stony Mountain then runs a fairly wide trail through rhododendron forests.

Appalachian Trail: PA 225 to PA 325

Cut out a monster climb by hiking this 9.7-mile section south-to-north along Peters Mountain to two scenic outposts: Table Rock and Shikellimy Overlook.

Appalachian Trail: Clarks Ferry Bridge to PA 225

Go from a lazy riverside to scenic outcrops to a wooded ridgeline on this 6.3-mile segment located in the state game lands of central Pennsylvania.

Appalachian Trail: VA 624 to VA 311

This popular 5.9-mile stretch crosses rolling farmlands before climbing Catawba Mountain at Beckner Gap. Bring your camera: Major viewpoints showcase magnificent views of valley.

Appalachian Trail: Blue Ridge Parkway to US 501

Travel under The Guillotine–a large boulder hanging precariously over the trail–and test your mettle with a ridge climb to Highcock Knob on this 13.7-miler. Watch for seasonal blueberries and box turtles along the trail.

Appalachian Trail: VA 614 to Blue Ridge Parkway

You’ll gain 3,000 feet by the end of this 12.9-miler that runs from Jennings Creek to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain.

Appalachain Trail: VA 43 to VA 614

This 6.1-miler runs from Bearwallow Gap, traces the horseshoe-shaped ridge of Cove Mountain, and descends to a great swimming hole in Jennings Creek.

Appalachian Trail: PA 183 to Port Clinton

Locals say Bigfoot lives in the wooded foothills on this 14.7-mile segment. Take photos, if you see the hairy beast (evidence is weak), and camp out at Eagles Nest Shelter.

Appalachian Trail: FS 191 to VA 43

There’s no shortage of scenic overlooks on this 14.8-mile section that crisscrosses the Blue Ridge Parkway four times.

Appalachian Trail: PA 645 to PA 183

Save this 11-miler for leaf-peeper season when the hills are brushed in reds and browns. Don’t miss the incredible overlook at milepoint 1.9.

Appalachian Trail: US 220 to FS 191

Wind through mid-Atlantic woodlands and farmland to Fullhardt Knob on this 5.3-mile dayhike. Along the way, pass a collier’s pit where charcoal was made for nearby iron furnaces during the 19th century.

Appalachian Trail: VA 311 to US 220

Highlights of this 19.8-miler include an overhanging rock ledge at McAfee Knob, spectacular views along Tinker Cliffs, and a ridgewalk above Carvin Cove Reservoir.

Appalachian Trail: Port Clinton to PA 309

Watch hawks and eagles soar thermals above The Pinnacle, Pulpit Rocks, and Hawk Mountain on this 26.5-mile backpacking trip, arguably the most scenic section of the AT in Pennsylvania.

Appalachian Trail: VT 11 to Brooklyn Road

Swimming is not a common word on the AT, but a highlight on this 16.5-mile hike at Griffith Lake. There is a fun rock scramble on Baker Peak too.

Appalachian Trail: Stratton-Arlington Road to VT 11

This 16.4-mile leg leads to Stratton Mountain–legend says this same mountain is where Denton MacKaye conceived the idea of the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail: VT 9 to Stratton-Arlington Road

The hotspot on this 21.1-miler is Glastenbury Mountain, a 3,748-foot summit that Native Americans believe is cursed and a place where several people went missing in the mid-1900s.

Appalachian Trail: Hogan Road to ME 26

On this 27.7-mile course into Maine, you’ll hike, climb–even scramble hand-over-foot–over glacial leftovers and up the rocky flanks of Goose Eye Mountain in the Mahoosuc Range.

Appalachian Trail: Pinkham Notch Visitor Center to Hogan Road

Best done in three days, this 19.6-mile leg traces ridgelines, drops into deep-cut notches, and offers breathtaking views of nearby mountains.

Appalachian Trail: US 302 to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center

The lofty goal on this 23.5-miler–more than half of which runs above treeline–is Mount Washington, the most notorious and highest peak in New Hampshire. On bluebird days, views stretch for 100-plus miles. Tip: Check the forecast before you go; weather blows in fast.

Appalachian Trail: Wind Gap to Delaware River Bridge

The windy skyways above this 15.4-mile section attract gliders (migrating birds, paragliders, and some hang gliders). The rocky trail attracts birdwatchers and photographers to several outcrops overlooking tawny farmlands and the Delaware River.

Appalachian Trail: Lehigh Gap to Wind Gap

This 19.4-miler is a test in balance and nerve as you pick routes through mind-numbing boulder fields. The payoffs are scenic ridges with 180-degree views and toned calf muscles.

Appalachian Trail: PA 309 to Lehigh Gap

See why thru-hikers nickname this area Rocksylvania. This 13.5-mile leg runs along a knife-edge ridge, then scrambles around sedan-sized boulders, and ends at a refreshing swimming hole in the Lehigh River.

Appalachian Trail: VT 140 to Kent Pond

Go from muddy pastures to riverside views to rocky summits on this 26-mile segment.

Appalachian Trail: Brooklyn Road to VT 140

Trace the peaceful banks of Little Black Branch to White Rocks Mountain on this 8.5-mile dayhike. Other highlights: Swimming at Little Rock Pond and nice vista views.

Appalachian Trail: Bootens Gap to Fishers Gap

Link the wooded summit of Hazeltop Mountain, the rugged cliffs of Blackrock, and Big Meadows (home to deer and black bear) on this 6.9-mile route in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Kent Pond to VT 12

Grab some rare solitude on this 19-mile section that runs steep ridges and old forest roads to the appropriately-named vista called The Lookout (2,439 ft.).

Appalachian Trail: Fishers Gap to Stony Man Overlook

This 8.5-mile hike passes vertical cliffs, weaves through spruce and fir stands, and traverses the northern slopes of Hawksbill Mountain, the highest peak in Shenandoah.

Appalachian Trail: Stony Man Overlook to Thornton Gap

Treat yourself to far-reaching panoramas from Marys Rock—arguably some of the best views in Shenandoah National Park—before a steady descent to Thornton Gap on this 6.9 miler.

Appalachian Trail: Swift Run Gap to Bootens Gap

Countless views, fragrant pines, and a worthy side trip to South River Falls highlight this 11.6-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Doyles River Overlook to Pinefield Gap

On this 8.8-mile hike, you’ll wind around Big Flat Mountain and gaze at Shenandoah peaks from Ivy Creek Overlook. Kodak moment: Take the side trip down Doyles River Trail to photograph several waterfalls.

Appalachian Trail: Pinefield Gap to Swift Run Gap

Savor postcard-worthy views of the Blue Ridge from Hightop Mountain on this 10.9-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Blackrock to Doyles River Overlook

This quick 3.2-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park traverses the Blue Ridge to Doyles River Overlook, where views extend south across wooded slopes.

Appalachian Trail: Rockfish Gap to Beagle Gap

This rolling Blue Ridge hike travels 5.2 miles and features bird’s-eye views from Bear Den Mountain before its descent to Beagle Gap.

Appalachian Trail: Beagle Gap to Blackrock

Find your rhythm as you ascend, descend—again and again—between rocky overlooks and deeply cut gaps on this 15-mile trek in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: VT 12 to Elm Street

Roll over piney ridges into lovely valleys and lonely pastures on this 21.3-mile leg. Don’t miss: Take side trip to Cloudland Farm where organic ice cream is only a few bucks away.

Appalachian Trail: Flume Visitor Center to US 302

This challenging 27.7-mile section traverses the Willey Range, and the Zealand, Garfield and Franconia Ridges. The payoff: Postcard mountain views, beautiful mountain huts, and the longest stretch of roadless wilderness in New Hampshire.

Appalachian Trail: NH 112 to Flume Visitor Center

This 15.8-miler climbs more than 3,500 feet past mountain lakes and waterfalls–all deserving of a lunchtime break or a pause for photographs.

Appalachian Trail: Gravel Springs Gap to US 522

Travel through white ash and yellow poplar, skid down steep ridges, and sing Hallelujah at the scenic outposts on this 12.3-mile leg in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Thornton Gap to Gravel Springs Gap

Frequent overlooks, lush landscapes, and three Blue Ridge summits highlight this 14.3-mile section in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: US 522 to Ashby Gap

This 18.8-miler traverses High Knob’s southern slopes, passes three shelters and ends with an optional side trip into Sky Meadows State Park.

Appalachian Trail: Ashby Gap to VA 605

Go up, down, and around several geological obstacles and into shady stream hollows on this 6.8-mile dayhike.

Appalachian Trail: Snickers Gap to Keys Gap

Pass the 1,000-mile-marker on the AT (for northbound hikers) on this 13.4-mile trip to Raven Rocks promising breathtaking views of Shenandoah Valley. Don’t miss the bench swing at David Lesser Shelter.

Appalachian Trail: US 11 to VA 42

On this 11.8-mile stretch, you’ll climb a seven-foot stile (arguably the AT’s tallest), cruise cow-filled fields, pass a centuries-old cemetery, and briefly trace the North Fork Holston River.

Appalachian Trail: Keys Gap to Harpers Ferry

Perfect for a day hike or longer out-and-back, this 6.1-miler rolls through mid-Atlantic woodlands then descends into Harpers Ferry, the merging point of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.

Appalachian Trail: VA 42 to VA 623

Go from flat lowlands to high ridgetops–you’ll gain more than 2,000 feet–on this 17.1-miler that traverses wildflower-laced Chestnut Ridge and the rocky backbone of Garden Mountain.

Brownville Junction, ME: Whitecap Range

Bag four summits on a weekend Northwoods traverse.

Appalachian Trail: Three Ridges Overlook to Dripping Rock

This 4.3-mile hike starts at Three Ridges Overlook, then contours wooded Blue Ridge slopes to Dripping Rock—a prime spot to watch the sun drop over pastoral landscapes.

Appalachian Trail: Unicoi Gap to Dicks Creek Gap

This leg runs through wild pig country, up Tray Mountain, and past the site of an old cheese factory.

Appalachian Trail: VA 623 to I-77

This relocated section avoids frequent stream crossings along Little Wolf Creek. Instead, you’ll cruise an old road and railroad grade, then contour the slopes of Brushy Mountain (covered in seasonal mountain laurel blooms).

Shenandoah National Park: Sugarloaf Loop

A fantastic four-season trek, this 5.5-mile hike near the Appalachian Trail roams around Hogback Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.

Lexington, VA: Apple Orchard Falls via Appalachian Trail

Catch the Jefferson National Forest in peak wildflower bloom on this 27-miler in the Virginia mountains.

Monson, ME: Moxie Bald via Appalachian Trail

On the 24-mile shuttle hike up to the Moxie Bald summit, the Maine wilderness unfolds a dizzying array of flora and fauna, and panoramic lake, valley, and peak views.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome via Appalachian Trail

Ascend to the second highest point east of the Mississippi on this 8-mile point-to-point that begins at Newfound Gap and winds through misty coniferous forest.

Washington, DC: G.R. Thompson Loop

Pick a sport: fish, bird watch, or hike. Next: tour parts or all of this 5.8-mile loop for a quick getaway from the noisy Capitol City.

Shenandoah National Park: Overall Run

Follow this cascading stream to scenic Shenandoah vistas along this 12.1-mile loop.

Appalachian Trail: VA 605 to Snickers Gap

The AT continues its rollercoaster ride across the Blue Ridge on this 7-mile ridge-to-hollow route that passes Bears Den Rocks overlook where classic views of Shenandoah Valley are revealed.

Appalachian Trail: Elm Street to Cape Moonshine Road

Pass Dartmouth College, hike over Smarts Mountain, and explore thick woodlands on this multi-day, 36-mile trip. Peakbaggers: Several side trails lead to nearby summits.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Balsam Mountain Trail

Trek deep into the Smokies on this 24.3-mile weekend trip that traces the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, passing two trail shelters and forests of mossy hardwoods.

Allentown, PA: Hawk Mountain

After hiking past boulder fields, this 4.7-mile loop climbs up the spine of Hawk Mountain and stops at overlooks perfect for scoping hawk migrations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mount Le Conte

Bag one of the Smokies’ most thrilling peaks on this 12.6-mile shuttle hike that takes in ridgetop views before tackling a rocky, high exposure descent.

Harrisburg, PA: Sunset Rocks via Appalachian Trail

Hop on the Appalachian Trail at its halfway point and navigate creek crossings and a steep boulder scramble to above-the-trees vistas of Michaux State Forest.

Appalachian Trail: Wind Gap to Delaware Water Gap

Trek to the border of New Jersey along PA’s finest section of the Appalachian Trail.

White Mountain National Forest: Franconia Ridge

Bag three peaks above 4,000 feet on this classic 8.2-mile Franconia Ridge Loop in the White Mountains.

Roanoke, VA: McAfee Knob

The reward on this famous, 7.5-mile hike is a sweeping ridgeline view of the Catawba Valley framed by a striking rock ledge.

Roanoke, VA: Dragon’s Tooth

This rocky climb up Cove Mountain ends with a heart-pounding scramble to the top of the Dragon’s Tooth, a 35-foot quartzite and sandstone tower.

White Mountain National Forest: Kinsman Mountain

Tackle two 4,000-foot White Mountain peaks (and 4,000 feet of climbing) on this 10.1-mile out-and-back to a tree-covered ridgeline with panoramic views.

White Mountain National Forest: Carter Range and Wildcat Range

A two-day peak-bagging trek in the White Mountains, this 15.4-mile shuttle traces the spines of the Carter and Wildcat Ranges, cresting five 4,000-foot peaks.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Tricorner Loop

A peakbagger’s dream, this 31-mile Smokies backpack loops across forested ridgelines, offering the opportunity to tag eight 6,000-foot summits along the way.

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area: Iron Mountain Loop

This well-trodden route passes fishermen, cyclists, and AT thru-hikers before ascending the quiet, sun-dappled slopes of southwest Virginia’s Iron Mountain.

Shenandoah National Park: Lewis Spring Falls

This *3.3-mile loop behind Big Meadows Lodge drops past rocks and ridgelines to Shenandoah’s 4th highest falls.

Blue Ridge Parkway: Humpback Rocks Loop

Explore an 1890′s mountain farm on this 4.3-mile lasso loop that tackles a 700-foot climb to craggy boulders for expansive parkway views.

Appalachian Trail: 100-Mile Wilderness

Explore the Appalachian Trail’s wildest stretch.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome to Silers Bald via Appalachian Trail

Bag four scenic peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Harpers Ferry to Pen Mar Road

Have no time to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail? No worries. Tackle this 40.5-mile section hike through Maryland over the course of a long weekend.

Asheville, NC: Nantahala Headwaters Loop

Hike 24.8 miles around the source of the Nantahala River on the Appalachian Trail and camp atop Albert Mountain for night-sky views. On night two, pitch your tent on 5,498-foot Standing Indian, a treeless bald with front-row sunset vistas.

Appalachian Trail: Gathland State Park to Harpers Ferry

Meander through Civil War history on this 10.5-mile section hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Appalachian Trail from Fontana Dam to Davenport Gap

Multiple peaks, steep climbs, and open meadows highlight this weeklong trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail: Four State Challenge, PA-VA

Hike 42.9 miles on the AT in 24 hours, in the process traveling across the borders of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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