National Scenic Trails - Appalachian Trail

Trail Guide by State Part I
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The Appalachian Trail
Thru-Hiker's Lament

"Some days I get lost in thinking while my legs walk steadily on. Other times I soar with my spirit and my feet quietly tag along. But today all I am is a body hauling this big heavy pack. And although I keep trying there just ain't no denying that 40 pounds sit on my back!" —Walk on, A Cosmic Yankee


In its 281 miles across Maine, the Trail, marked throughout with vertical white-paint blazes, passes through an extensive wilderness at a great distance from towns and cities. The Katahdin region at the northern terminus is outstanding.

The Trail in Maine may be roughly divided into three segments:

1) The 120-mile eastern segment from Katahdin to Monson is characterized by disconnected mountains, lakes, ponds, streams, and pleasing forest growth. Easy to travel, it is the most isolated except at the termini.

2) The second segment, from Blanchard to Mt. Bigelow, is of historic interest. The first part involves more exertion, but the remainder affords the easiest travel in Maine.

3) The western segment is an area of rugged, steep, 4,000-foot mountains with many ascents and descents. Opportunities for canoeing and swimming are features of the Trail in Maine.

New Hampshire
Much frequented and well known, the White Mountain region and the White Mountain National Forest are the main features of the Trail in New Hampshire. Trails of the Appalachian Mountain Club are followed for the most part. Much of the trail is above timberline, where temperatures may change suddenly. A trip here requires intelligent planning and you should allow ample time. The connecting link between the Green and White mountains, the Dartmouth Outing Club section of the Trail, passes through broken terrain of alternating mountains and valleys east of the Connecticut River.

West of the Connecticut River to the Green Mountains, the route is through high, rugged country of abandoned and overgrown farmlands and woodlands. From Sherburne Pass south, the Trail follows the lower 101.3 miles of the Green Mountain Club's famed Long Trail along the crest of the Green Mountains.

The Trail here leads through a series of wooded areas and valleys in the Berkshire Hills. Mts. Greylock and Everett are outstanding Trail features in Massachusetts.

The route through Connecticut meanders among the worn-down remnants of a much loftier mountain range and presents greatly varied scenery. Main features are the Housatonic Valley and the Taconic Range.

New York and New Jersey
From Connecticut to the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey. The Trail's terrain is less wild than to the north. Palisades Interstate Park is much-frequented. Along the Kittatinny Ridge the Trail is rugged and more remote than elsewhere in these states.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Jun 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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