Cleveland , TN 37312
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) has been called the longest continual footpath in the world, crossing ridgetops of the Appalachian Mountain range through 14 states. Of the 2,150 trail miles from Georgia to Maine, more than 150 cross through the northern districts of Cherokee National Forest.
The A.T. began as a grand vision in 1921, proposed by planner-forester Benton McKaye as "an experiment in regional planning.” Existing trails were linked and new sections were carved from rhododendron thickets, grassy balds and forests. In 1968, with the passage of the National Trails System Act, the A.T. became the first National Scenic Trail.
Trail management is coordinated through the Appalachian Trail Conference with federal land management agencies and other partners. Volunteers from local trail clubs provide most of the trail maintenance. Portions of the A.T. pass through designated Wilderness, and are maintained for a more primitive recreation experience than the rest of the Trail.
both directions. Markings are white blazes on trees, posts and rocks, positioned so anyone standing at one can see the next one. Two blazes, one above the other, signal a turn, junction, or a warning. Side trails to water, shelters and viewpoints are usually blazed with blue paint.
Safety: Bring your own drinking water or purify all water drawn from any source. Hike with a partner or group, and be sure someone knows your planned itinerary and timetable. Be prepared for changes in weather. Bring rain gear and layers of warm clothing appropriate to the season. Snakes, bears and other wildlife are not uncommon on the A.T.
Camping: Practice Leave NoTrace ethics when camping along the A.T. Shelters are spaced roughly a day’s hike apart along the A.T. corridor. Dispersed camping is allowed throughout Cherokee National Forest, and no permit is required. Be considerate of private landowners. For safety’s sake, camp away from road crossings.