The Appalachian Range stretches from the Canadian Border to the edge of the Mississippi, a distance of 3,000 miles. Today, a hiking trail follows the backbone of this range from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine: passing through 14 states in its total length of 2,034 miles.
This trail was the brainchild of Barton MacKaye, forester and author, who in 1900 made mention of the idea. The first mile was cut in New York state in 1922, the last in Maine in 1937.<
First to hike its entire length was Myron Avery who started in Maine in the 1920's and finished in 1936. It was Avery who helped MacKaye turn the idea into reality.
During the first 11 years of the trail's existence only 6 or 7 people had walked its entire length, each over a period of years. It was generally thought that to cover the full distance in one hike was impossible.
First to walk its entire length in on trip was Earl Shaffer, who in 1948 covered the distance, south to north, in 124 days. averaging 16 ½ mile per day. 17 years later, at age 46, he reversed the direction this time averaging 20 ½ miles per day and reducing his total time by 5 weeks. More than 1000 hikers have now walked the entire length in one season with the number growing yearly.
The Appalachian Trail is now a National Scenic Trail under state and federal protection.
In New Hampshire, it crosses the Franconia Notch Parkway not far from this spot. Many hikers report the 154 miles through New Hampshire's White Mountains as being the most rugged of the trail's total length due to steep terrain and severe weather conditions.