4 Fun Facts About the Appalachian Trail
Here at The Appy Lodge, we take our name from the world-famous Appalachian Trail. Our hotel in Gatlinburg, TN is the perfect place to relax and recharge when you come to hike this legendary trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To help you prepare for your next vacation, we have put together four fun facts about the Appalachian Trail.
1. The Appalachian Trail is the Longest “Marked Footpath” in America
At roughly 2,178 miles, the Appalachian Trail is considered the longest “marked footpath” in the United States. The trail stretches from the summit of Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way to the top of Mount Katahdin in Maine. If you were to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, you would pass through 14 states and take around 5 million steps!
When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains, you will find over 71 miles of the Appalachian Trail’s most pristine scenery. The trail enters the national park at Fontana Dam and exits at Davenport Gap, passing by iconic destinations like Clingmans Dome, Mt. Crammerer, Rocky Top, and Charlies Bunion.
2. An Article in an Architecture Journal Inspired the Appalachian Trail
In 1921, a regional planner from Massachusetts named Benton MacKaye submitted an article to the Journal of the American Institute of Architects proposing the creation of a hiking trail that would cut through much of the eastern United States. MacKaye’s idea quickly generated enthusiasm among outdoor lovers, and just two years later, the first part of the Appalachian Trail opened in New York. The full footpath was completed in 1937 and the Appalachian Trail was officially designated a National Scenic Trail by the federal government in 1968.
3. The Smoky Mountains Are Home to the Highest Point Along the Appalachian Trail
If you hike the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll visit the highest point in elevation along the entire footpath! At 6,643 feet tall, Clingmans Dome is the highest point along the Appalachian Trail, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. The observation tower at Clingmans Dome offers breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains that extend for over 100 miles on a clear day. In case you were curious, the lowest point on the Appalachian Trail is in New York, where the elevation is only 124 feet.
4. Around 500 People Hike the Whole Appalachian Trail Each Year
Anyone who hikes the entire Appalachian Trail will find themselves in rarefied company. Around 80% of the people who intend to hike the whole trail give up before finishing. Each year, roughly 500 people successfully complete the entire 2,000+ mile trek from Georgia to Maine. Of course, well over a million people hike portions of the Appalachian Trail each year.
Now that you know these fun facts about the Appalachian Trail, you’re ready to plan your vacation in the Smoky Mountains! When you stay at The Appy Lodge, you will have the perfect home base for hiking the A.T. and exploring the rest of the national park. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, our hotel offers free parking, complimentary breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, walk-in showers, and everything else you need for an incredible vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!