AT History

The Appalachian Trail runs approximately 2,200 miles in length, passing through six national parks, eight national forests, numerous state parks, and fourteen states. Officially “opened” as a continuous footpath from Georgia to Maine in 1937, the “AT,” as hikers commonly refer to the Trail, was designated the “Appalachian National Scenic Trail” in 1968.

This section of Returning to Katahdin will collect a variety of future posts about just how the AT came to be – from conception to completion – and how it has changed and been used through the years as well as and its unique character of being a national park managed by a private conservancy.  Individuals who played significant roles in the Trail’s history are featured in the section on AT Individuals.

  • Benton MacKaye’s Idea & the Early History of the AT
  • Myron Avery & Routing the Original Footpath
  • The Appalachian Trail Conference
  • Hiking and Long Walks Before the AT
  • Earl Shaffer and the First Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail\
  • Thru-hiking before 1970’s
  • Ed Garvey and the Modern AT
  • Thru-hikes & Fastest Known Times
  • Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods & the Growth in Thru-hiking
  • Decades of Thru-Hikers
  • Current Day Speedsters
  • Miscellaneous Accomplishments: A Collection
  • many others . . . .

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