The 2,184-mile-long Appalachian National Scenic Trail passes through 14 eastern states and boasts some of the most diverse and picturesque scenery in all of North America. Needless to say, if you haven’t been to the Appalachian Trail yet, it’s time to plan your getaway to this natural wonderland today.
About the Trail
Creation of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail started in 1921 and continued for 16 years until the trail was deemed complete in 1937. Although it was designed and constructed by volunteer hikers, the trail still requires plenty of maintenance today, which is performed by the National Park Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service and a variety of smaller organizations and volunteers in each state through which the trail passes. The trail is open 12 months a year, although the highest portions in Maine and other northern states may temporarily close in the coldest winter months due to weather.
What Does It Cost?
One of the best features of hiking the Appalachian Trail is that is 100 percent free of charge. Most campsites and overnight shelters throughout the trail are free as well, but some state and national parks do charge camping or overnight fees, so it’s important to contact the park (or parks) you’ll be visiting or passing through before you go.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park — one of the most popular and scenic national parks on the trail — is an excellent spot for Virginians to escape city life and enjoy a vacation in the peaceful surroundings of nature. There’s no charge for hiking through the Shenandoah National Park, but you will need to obtain a permit upon arrival or order one from Park Headquarters in advance. The park is open for camping spring, summer and fall, and reservations are highly recommended for weekend visits.
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Photo by Frank Kehren (Flickr Creative Commons)