The Appalachian Trail may be the most well known trail in America, but it is actually the eighth longest. What are the other nine longest trails in America? Where do they travel? Who hikes them? Here’s a quick look at the ten longest trails in America.
Of these trails, some are old and well traveled trails while others are still being constructed so that they can be traversed in the years to come. Where able I’ve included a picture of the patch which goes with each trail.
In the coming weeks we’ll be talking about each of these trails as well as trails from around the world.
American Discovery Trail
6,800 mi / 10,943 km
The American Discovery Trail crosses through fifteen states as it traverses from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. It is the only foot path coast-to-coast trail, passing through fourteen national parks and sixteen national forests.
Eastern Continental Trail
5,400 mi / 8,700 km
From Key West, Florida to Belle Isle, Canada, the trail takes roughly a year to hike. It combines a number of trails including the Florida Trail, Alabama roadwalk, Pinhoti Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Appalachian Trail and the International Appalachian Trail.
North Country Trail
4,600 mi / 7,403 km
The trail runs from New York to North Dakota crossing through seven states on its path. It is the longest of the Congress approved National Scenic Trails, approved in 1980. It crosses through 57 state parks and 47 state forests on its path through the norther reaches of the contiguous United States.
Great Western Trail
4,455 mi / 7,170 km
Crossing through five states on the western side of America, this trail has access for motorized and foot travelers. It’s derived from the western cattle trail passing through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Arizona.
Continental Divide Trail
3,100 mi / 5,000 km
Following the continental divide this trail travels from Canada to Mexico, crossing through five states. The highest point on the trail is Grays Peak in Colorado with an elevation of 14,270 feet. In 2007 Francis Tapon hiked from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico in seven months along the CDT. The CDT Alliance is in the process of halting operations according to a news entry on their website.
East Coast Greenway
3,000 mi / 4,800 km
The ECG is a proposed trail which was begun in 1991 but as of 2011 is still only a quarter complete. It will run from Maine to the Florida Keys. The trail is inspired by Europe’s EuroVelo trail and Canada’s Trans Canada Trail. The trail is fairly flat with a peak of only 680 feed.
Pacific Crest Trail
2,663 mi / 4,286 km
Considered a fairly difficult trail, this trail crosses through the highest points of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. Hiking this trail takes you through 7 national parks and 25 national forests. The trail was completed in 1993 having been designated in 1963 and conceptualized in 1932 by Clinton C. Clarke.
2,181 mi / 3,510 km
The best known trail in America it stretches from Maine to Georgia with a peak at Clingmans Dome of 6,643 ft. The trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye though the Appalachian Trail we know varies from his path.
Great Eastern Trail
1,600 mi / 2,575 km
This trail is still in the process of being made, it will be another long distance trail for the east coast travelling through the Appalachians. The trail will go from New York to Alabama.
1,444 mi / 2,330 km
The Buckeye Trail covers… one state. It circles Ohio using both trails marked with a blue blaze and sharing roads until those portions are relocated to their own trails. Part of this trail is also coincides with North Country Trail and the American Discovery Trail.