The Appalachian Trail in the Georgia Mountains…Turns 80!

Rhonda Hood August 11, 2017

Happy 80th Birthday to the Appalachian Trail or the A.T., as it’s affectionately known as by hikers and our local community!  So what do you know about this beloved Appalachian Trail?

Well, we can help with a lot of historical and fascinating facts about the AT.  First of all a little historical lesson… it was created by Benton MacKaye in 1921 as “A Project in Regional Planning”.  Currently it’s a place where over 3 million people come each year from near & far to embrace those gorgeous mountains. I’m not sure what Benton had in mind originally with his “project”, however now it has become a wonderful place of solace whether you love to hike or just catch the views.  Here’s some of our favorite facts we gathered from  USA Today & The Trek.  Feel free to read the full articles!

1. It is the longest “hiking-only” footpath in the world.

It is also among the longest continuously marked trails. The AT is marked with  approximately 165,000 2 x 6 inch white blazes along the trail guiding hikers all 2,186 miles.1,2

2. The Trail travels through 14 different states: 

1. Georgia
2. North Carolina
3. Tennessee
4. Virginia
5. West Virginia
6. Maryland
7. Pennsylvania
8. New Jersey
9. New York
10. Connecticut
11. Massachusetts
12. Vermont
13. New Hampshire
14. Maine

3.  The elevation gain/loss of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 16 times.

The summit of Mount Everest sits at 29,029 feet. Doing a little math that means that the elevation changes hikers traverse along the AT totals up to an approximate 464,464 feet!5

4. Less than 15,000 people have completed a successful thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

According to the records kept by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) as of this writing there have been 14,485 successful thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail since its creation. That’s 14,485 people out of all people that have ever existed. Ever. Even if you throw in estimates of how many people may have completed a hike without reporting it to the ATC it still makes for quite the impressive figure.7

5. The AT cuts through the oldest mountain range on the planet. 

While it is fairly difficult to prove that it is, in fact, the “oldest” it is at least considered one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. How old? Well it is believed the the Appalachian Mountain Range predatesthe creation of the North American continent! In its early years The Appalachian Mountains were likely stunning peaks reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains. However, centuries upon centuries of weather, ice, and erosion have rounded the peaks giving us the mountains we know and love today.9

6. Skyline Drive follows the original path of the Appalachian Trail.

Skyline Drive
Courtesy of Wikipedia

That’s right! If you’ve driven Skyline Drive’s 105 miles of winding road through Shenandoah National Park you’ve traveled along the original path the AT was intended to follow! The idea of Skyline Drive was proposed in 1931. This was six years before the official completion of the trail. Its path along the crest of the Blue Ridge is the original siting for the Appalachian Trail through the area. The idea of its construction was a major player in the rift that formed between Benton Mackaye and Myron Avery. Avery felt the road and the trail could coexist while Mackaye was less compromising.15

Hope you’ve enjoyed this small history lesson on an incredible piece of our Appalachian Culture.  If you haven’t visited the AT, we encourage you to see for yourself!  It’s truly remarkable!

The Mountain Life Team | KW Realty Partners | 706-633-8186 or info@themountainlifeteam.com.

When you’re ready to begin living in North Georgia, call The Mountain Life Team | KW Realty Partners and we can help you along your journey.  Amazing things are happening here in our beautiful mountains & you’ll love the rich heritage of your new mountain community. 706-633-8186 or email us at info@themountainlifeteam.com.  #Happy80thBirthdayAT #AppalachianTrail  #DiscoverTheMountainLife 

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