The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail make up the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail running between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately 2,179 (3,507 km) miles long. It is managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy and is maintained by 30 trail clubs and many partnerships. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions do traverse towns and roads, and cross rivers.
North to south, the trail begins in Maine, passes through New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and ends in Georgia. An extension, the International Appalachian Trail, continues north into Canada and to the end of the range, where it enters the Atlantic Ocean.
The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to this pursuit.
Continental Divide Trail
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states - Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.
As of 2004, the trail, a combination of dedicated trails and small roads, is considered 70% complete. The uncompleted portions of the trail must be traveled by bushwhacking or roadwalking.
Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail (also known as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail) is a long-distance mountain hiking and equestrian trail that runs in Washington, Oregon, and California between Mexico and Canada.
The trail follows the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range, which parallel the Pacific Ocean by 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km). The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles (4,260 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon-Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.