Stretching 2,200 miles though the Eastern United States and passing through 14 states, the Appalachian Trail is one of the world's greatest long distance walking paths. Thru-hikers attempt the whole path in one season, but if that's too much of a challenge, why not plan your next vacation walking a smaller section of the trail?
Best Hikes Along The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail passes through a total of 14 U.S. states; from Georgia in the south to Maine in the north. Most of the route is through woodland and rural areas, but walkers also experience towns and cities nearby the Trail, perfect for stopping in hotels near the Appalachian Trail for a bath and to rest your feet.
1. Blue Ridge Mountains
The Appalachian Trail starts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia and Tennessee, and this is one of the most popular sections for walking. It's also the most challenging section, with peaks of over 6,600 feet.
2. Shenandoah National Park
Heading north into Virginia, the next popular section of Trail runs through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The Appalachian Trail is well-marked with white blazes on posts. Along the way, you might be lucky enough to spot deer and even a black bear.
The Appalachian trail ends in Maine, and hiking here has a wilder feel than in other parts of the walk. It's also perfect for those who relish a challenge; the famed Mahoosuc Notch is said to be the hardest mile on the whole 2,200 mile trail.
Best Family Activities Along The Appalachian Trail
You're unlikely to get the kids enthusiastic about hiking along the Appalachian Trail all day, every day, so taking a break to build other activities into your vacation is an excellent idea. Whichever state you're experiencing the Trail in, there will be Appalachian Trail cabins close to the route for a family stay, or more exciting activities in nearby towns and cities.
There are hundreds of campsites and Appalachian Trail cabins along the route. These are popular not only with hikers, but with families wishing to experience the National Parks and scenery along the trails. What could be better than an evening around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and swapping tales?
2. Harpers Ferry, WV
Step into the past at this picturesque West Virginia town. Famous for its role in the Civil War, the whole town lies within the National Park and offers history events and activities through the year.
3. Trailside Museums and Zoo, NY
Located on the banks of the Hudson River and on a part of the Trail offering gentle walking, this zoo is ideal for the whole family. The zoo is home to hundreds of native mammals, birds, and amphibians.