Major US Hiking Trails
The United States is covered in hiking trails – no, really – the major US hiking trails total more than 20,000 miles, then there are the thousands of shorter hiking trails which meander there way through the glorious National Parks of America. I’m not sure how many miles of hiking trail there are altogether in the US, I don’t think anybody has had the forethought (or been sad enough) to work it out, but if you know the answer don’t bother me, I don’t really care, I just wanted to make the point that there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of miles of hiking trails across the United States.
I’m glad that’s sorted out. The popularity of hiking is growing year by year, and though the vast majority of hikers might only have the energy, time and will-power to tackle some of the shorter (yet outstandingly amazing) hikes around the National Parks, there are also plenty of real hard-nosed hikers who are ready, willing and able to tackle one of the major US hiking trails. Most of these hiking trails are so long that hikers tackle them one step at a time, completing just a small proportion of the entire hiking trail at every available opportunity. There are also a select but growing number of thru hikers who have met the challenge of these long distance hikes head on and completed them in one journey, often taking months and months and months.
Major US Hiking Trails
So which hiking trails are we actually talking about? Well, I suppose that really, the biggest, longest, major hiking trails to be found in the US are;
Pacific Crest Trail – you’ve gotta’ have heard of this one. It’s 2,650 miles stretch all the way from the Canadian border down to Southern California.
Appalachian Trail – if you’ve heard of the PCT, then you’ll have heard of the Appalachian Trail too. 2,150 long and beautiful miles stretching from Georgia to Maine.
Continental Divide Trail – even longer at 3,100 miles, this hiking trail runs along the spine of the continent all the way from Canada to Mexico.
North Country Scenic Trail – this one, when it’s completed, will run all the way from New York to central North Dakota, that’s 4,600 miles . . . how many blisters is that do you think? Anyway, they’ve so far got just a bit further than halfway, so that’s plenty of hiking opportunities to be going along with.
National Coast Trail – this one is planned to be a massive 10,000 miles, following the east and west coasts as well as the Gulf coast, the North Country Scenic Trail and the Great Lakes, as well as linking in to other great hikes.
Superior Hiking Trail – might seem very small and insignificant by comparison, but this 286 mile footpath still takes some hiking! It largely follows along the rocky ridge lines over Lake Superior, and has plenty of car parks dotted about (every 5 or 10 miles) so that you can easily enjoy part of the hiking trail just for the day – there are campsites too for anyone who fancies tackling a larger portion, or even the whole Superior Hiking Trail.