Planning A Hiking Trip? Check Out America’s National Scenic Trails

By Stephen M October 15, 2022

Did you know that the US has 10 other National Scenic Trials aside from the Appalachian Trial? Well, there are 11 national scenic trials with the Appalachian Trail being the most popular for obvious reasons.

Spanning more than 18,000 miles (28,968 kilometers) the 11 National Scenic Trails passes through 31 states in the US. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, entreated Congress to preserve the country’s beautiful outdoor trails. This led to the passage of the 1968 National Trials System Act, which urged the creation of four classes of trials: Recreational, Historic, Scenic, and Side.

The Appalachian and the Pacific already existed before the legislation; hence, they became America’s first two America National Scenic Trails.

Appalachian Trail

Image courtesy of Something Original/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

Formed more than 480 million years ago, the Appalachian Trail moves through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. The 2,194 miles AP Trail also passes through eight other states. Its peak is Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is 6,643 feet or 2,025 meters. As of now, about 21,000 people have completed the entire trail.

Pacific Crest

The Pacific Crest Trail also designated in 1968 is 2,650 miles long moving through California, Oregon, and Washington. The trail completed in 1993 falls along the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountain Ranges. As of 2019, about 8,000 people had been issued hiking permits.

Continental Divide Trail

Image courtesy of Chris English/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

This trail crosses five states including Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Designated in 1978, it is 3,100 miles long and runs along the Continental Divide. Hikers who can complete the AP Trail, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide are given the Triple Crown of Hiking Award.