One of the best, long hiking trails in North America is the Appalachian Trail. In fact, this trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world.
If you look at an Appalachian Trail map, you’ll see an amazing array of things to do and see. Hiking the Appalachian Trail can be a wonderful hiking day-trip or a much longer adventure if you so choose.
Starting in Maine, the trail passes through 12 more states, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, before finishing in Georgia.
Just how long is the Appalachian Trail?
The full Appalachian Trail, officially called the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, is 2,200 miles, give or take. The exact number changes as the trail are updated and renovated.
Where to Find a Map of the Appalachian Trail
With a total of 14 states spanned by the Appalachian Trail, a complete map of the Appalachian Trail isn’t just something you can fit on an index card.
Type “Appalachian Trail map” in any major search engine, and you will see any number of maps of varying sizes and degrees of complexity.
If you are just going on a day-hike, then Trails.com is a great resource. It offers incredibly detailed, interactive online maps of the Appalachian Trail based on state.
If you are going for a much longer trip, you may want to purchase paper Appalachian Trail maps to take with you.
The Appalachian Trail is very well-marked, and it is designed to be navigated without a map. However, sometimes emergencies happen, or people get lost. Maps are also very helpful for planning.
For these reasons, carrying maps is recommended for less experienced hikers by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which helps manage the trail.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy offers an array of guides and Appalachian Trail maps to help you plan your trip and navigate while hiking on the trail. Some of these guides are created specifically to direct you if you are going northbound or southbound along the Appalachian Trail.
Planning Your Trip to the Appalachian Trial
Getting a guidebook to the Appalachian Trail can be very helpful for planning your trip.
You may be wondering, for example, how long does it take to hike the Appalachian Trail? If you are considering a “thru-hike,” you should know that such a lengthy hiking project can take around five to seven whole months.
The average time is about six months; however, you should also know that the average person who starts out on an Appalachian Trail thru-hike doesn’t finish it.
Don’t worry – that’s not because people are dying left and right! More often, people end their thru-hikes early because they realized it was just too strenuous. Sometimes, they run out of money too soon. Or, they may have sustained a minor injury that requires a break from the trail.
The Appalachian Trail runs entirely through mountains. While these aren’t the ominous snow-capped mountains of the Rockies, they can still be challenging for someone passing through on foot.
For this reason, only one out of four people who register an intent to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail actually finish.
Does that mean you shouldn’t try? Of course not! Just be aware that this is a huge undertaking, and by the end of your hike along the entire Appalachian Trail, you might as well have climbed up and down Mount Everest 16 times!
More likely, you will be planning a shorter trip along the Appalachian Trail, perhaps a day-hike or a few days of camping. By studying your trail maps beforehand, you’ll have a good idea of where you are going and how you will get there. You’ll have an idea of what supplies you need to bring and what to wear.
For example, if you know you are going to be hiking through the area of Pennsylvania nicknamed “Rocksylvania” due to all of the little rocks and stones on the path, you’ll be sure to wear thick-soled hiking boots to protect your feet!
The Appalachian Trail map is an easy way to plan an amazing hiking trip, whether it is for a day or months at a time.
Get the Most Out of the Appalachian Trail
To be a good hiker, you need to be prepared. And a big part of that preparation is reviewing an accurate, up-to-date Appalachian Trail map. You can find some great interactive map resources online, such as at Trails.com, or head on over to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website to purchase some official maps and guidebooks.