Hiking The Eastern Continental Trail

Say hello to North America's newest long trail.

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Looking for a lofty challenge? Try the Eastern Continental Trail, an unofficial route stretching from Florida to Quebec. Pioneered by John Brinda in 1997 and christened by M. J. “Nimblewill Nomad” Eberhart (see Signpost, May 2001), the Eastern Continental Trail follows existing routes like the well-known Appalachian and Florida Trails, plus other regional trails and roads. Here are the stats:

Length: Roughly 4,400 miles

Number of links: Five existing trails, from north to south: International Appalachian Trail (New Brunswick and Quebec), Appalachian Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Pinhoti National Recreation Trail (Georgia and Alabama), and Florida National Scenic Trail.

Political boundaries crossed: Sixteen states, two provinces

Miles of road walking: Around 600

More information: International Appalachian Trail, (207) 865-6233; www.internationalat.org. Appalachian Trail Conference, (304) 535-6331; www.atconf.org. Benton MacKaye Trail Association, www.bmta.org. Talladega National Forest (Pinhoti Trail), (256) 362-2909; www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/alabama. Florida Trail Association, (800) 343-1882; www.florida-trail.org. www.florida-trail.org.

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