The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the USA is famous for being the longest hiking only footpath in the world. Starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia, it stretches a whopping 2,200 miles up to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
It follows the ridge line of the Appalachian Mountains on the east coast of America, passing through eight national forests, two national parks and 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
The trail was completed in 1937 and is currently managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. You are only allowed to follow the trail on foot, although there are some very small sections where cycling is allowed too.
There are two types of hikers found on the Appalachian Trail: thru-hikers and section-hikers. Thru-hikers are people who attempt to hike the entire trail in one go. As the name suggests, section-hikers hike sections of the Appalachian Trail in stages over multiple trips.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy honour everyone that hikes over 2,000 miles of the trail on their website, both thru-hikers and section hikers. They are given the name ‘2000 Miler’.
In September 2015, Heather Anderson became the fastest person to hike the Appalachian Trail unsupported, which means she didn’t have a vehicle or crew to support her, so she carried her gear herself. It took her 54 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes. She also holds the same record for the Pacific Crest Trail.