On October 2, 2018, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail marks its 50th anniversary as a unit of the National Park System thanks to the passage of the National Trails System Act in 1968! The “AT” is the oldest, continuously marked, and publicly protected trail in the United States. Traversing 14 states, from Georgia to Maine, hikers can experience breathtaking scenic vistas, wilderness areas untouched by development, the serenity of nature, and the significance of history along the nearly 2,200-mile world-renowned trail.
The AT has a celebrated grassroots origin. The idea gained momentum in 1921 with the proposals of conservationist and planner Benton Mackaye, who envisioned a trail as a means to preserve the Appalachian crests and to provide a retreat from increasingly modern life.