How Long is the Appalachian Trail?

The northbound portal to the Appalachian Trail. ~~ Photo by Robert Sutherland

How long is the Appalachian Trail? 2,189.1 miles in 2016. ~~ Photo by Robert Sutherland

"How long is the Appalachian Trail?" is one of the questions we're asked the most. Heard less often are, "How much does it cost to hike the AT?" and my favorite, "I'm going to hike the Appalachian Trail. Where is it?"

The official length of the Appalachian Trail for 2016 is 2,189.1 miles. That's from Springer Mountain, near Amicalola Falls State Park (AFSP) in Georgia all the way to Baxter State Park's Katahdin, the highest point in Maine.

The two most popular AT resources -- The A.T. Guide by David "Awol" Miller; and, The Official Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers' Companion, available from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy -- agree on 2,189.1 miles, knowing it will change.

As David Miller says, "Something that I always like to add when talking about trail mileages is that there is no absolute truth. Not because of a lack of technology, but because of the variety of ways that a trail can be traversed."

Each year the Trail shifts and wiggles a bit. Detours happen and entire portions can be rerouted. For example, the southernmost portal to the Appalachian Trail was at Georgia's Mount Oglethorpe. Then it was moved to Springer Mountain, about 15 miles away, in 1958.

The ATC posts updates online. David Miller's A.T. Guide also has a link to changes in both its northbound and southbound versions.

So, how long is the Appalachian Trail? It's up to you. Hike it ... for an afternoon or weekend, a section hike or the whole shebang, a thru-hike. Then turn around and do it again.

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About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
WV GANNIE on Jan 25, 2017
As the mileage changes annually on the AT ---- do the caretakers of the signs go to the expense of getting new signs with the updated mileage engraved or do the signs just remain in place until they need replaced due to deterioration?