Appalachian Trail Statistics Guide


With the end of summer drawing near, it is time to start to plan the next hiking trip and Appalachian Trail will most likely be among the top candidates. In this article, we’ll go through some of the most important and fun Appalachian Trail statistics so you learn something new about it and know what to expect if you do decide to give it a try.

General Information About Appalachian Trail

Considered to be one of the oldest trails in the United States, Appalachian trail length is around 2,190 miles, but it varies from year to year thanks to many reroutes and trail changes since it was founded in 1937. It stretches from  Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine and it is considered to be one of the most popular hiking trails worldwide. For the newest data about Appalachian Trail distance, you could check out the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Data Book, or simply contact Appalachian Trail authorities and ask them.

How Many Steps Does It Take To Cover It?

This also can go up and down, but an average grown-up will need about five million steps to go through all the Appalachian Trail length.

How Many States Does The AT Cross?

The Appalachian trail length goes through 14 states – Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and if finishes off in Maine.

How Many Days Will It Take To Complete The Hike?

If you plan to tackle the whole Appalachian trail distance, it is good to know how much time will it take from start to finish line. By the ATC data,  it takes between five and seven months to complete the track, with an average daily count being 165. You could check out our ultralight backpacking guide.

Appalachian Trail Lenght Time Record

If you want to try and do it as fast as possible, then you should know that the current record is 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes set by Karl ‘Speedgoat’ Meltzer in 2016, a year after Scott Jurek has done it in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. The fastest female to complete the trail from start to finish was Jennifer Pharr Davis, a long-distance hiker from North Carolina who completed the trail in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes back in 2011.

Appalachian Trail Elevation

The Appalachian trail has quite a high elevation in Clingmans Dome (Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, and it goes up to 6,643 feet. The lowest point is located in New York, at Bear Mountain State Park, where the elevation is only 124 feet.

Appalachian Trail Changes Percentage

The first plans for the Appalachian trail were made back in 1921. Since the original plan 98 years ago and the first version of the trail in 1937, ATC claims that about 99 percent of the trail has been either rebuilt or relocated due to many different factors, and the trail is constantly being changed and adapted to specific circumstances. That’s the main reason why there is a constant change in the Appalachian trail length.

Appalachian Trail Volunteers

As you walk through the Appalachian Trail, you’ll get the chance to enjoy every step thanks to volunteers. About 6,000 volunteers help ATC by spending around 270,000 hours on the trail per year since 1983 when ATC started to track the numbers.

It is all done by 31 maintenance clubs along the track. They are also responsible for maintaining all the shelters and even building new ones if needed.

White Blazes

Appalachian trail is known as probably the best-marked trail in the world thanks to white blazes used to mark the trail. According to Appalachian Trail Club from Georgia, there are around 165,000 white blazes all along the trail, which makes it easy to follow. This is also important because you won’t be needing your map and you could choose to go with a guidebook, instead.

Calories Count

This value can also vary, but the average number of calories needed to keep the weight of the body at an optimal level is around 5,500 for one day of hiking. When speaking about body weight, the average number of pounds lost is 30. Though, you should beware that both of these numbers are mostly individual and they can differ from person to person. Some hikers lose way less, while some even gain some weight during their trip. To avoid starvation, check out the best no-cook backpacking meals.

How Much Money You Need?


This is, of course, directly related to the time you’ll spend on your journey and the Appalachian trail distance you want to conquer. If you plan to go from start to finish, you’ll need between 4,000 and 6,500 dollars. Main expenses on the trail are food, laundry, possible transportation or lodging, but don’t forget you’ll also sometimes have to buy or upgrade your gear, etc. The average hiker spends between 2 and 3 dollars per mile.

You’ll also have to spend some money on your gear before you hit the road  because you’ll need:

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • First aid kit
  • Survival kit
  • Clothes
  • Shoes

Also, you should check out our Appalachian trail hiking gear guide. Depending on what you already own, you’ll have to spend anywhere from 0 to 4,000 bucks. Combined, overall costs for a complete Appalachian trail hike from the starting point to the end will most likely be anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 dollars.

Average Shoe Number

Some last longer, others, however, tend to break even sooner, but an average number of miles you’ll be able to go in one pair of shoes falls somewhere around 500 miles. Of course, it is not written in stone and you may be able to get even more from your shoes, but it is better to be safe than sorry with an extra pair available all the time. There are a few factors that affect the condition of your footwear like their durability, overall weight (your own and your backpack’s), proper maintenance… Also, trying to avoid stepping on sharp edges will help. Sometimes it may not be possible, though, because the terrain will be rocky, but 4 pairs should be enough for your journey.

Road Crossing On The Appalachian Trail

Roads cross the AT every 4 miles on average, which is important because this also means you’ll have a grocery store, post office, or anything other available nearby. This is important especially if something goes south.

2,000 Milers

Since Myron Avery, the first person that hiked the whole Appalachian Trail length back in 1936, 20,478 hikers went the whole way. Out of those, 14,863 hikers have done it in the 21st century, and thanks to increasing popularity, that number will only go higher in the future.

By decades the numbers are the following, according to the Appalachian Trail website:

  • 1930’s – 5
  • 1940’s – 3
  • 1950’s – 14
  • 1960’s – 37
  • 1970’s – 778
  • 1980’s – 1,435
  • 1990’s – 3,344
  • 2000’s – 5,964
  • 2010’s – 8,899

It is also interesting that one of three 2,000 milers so far was female, which is a significant rise compared to beginnings when only about 15% of them were women.

Shelters Along The Way

During your hike, you’ll need to take a rest or run away from the weather, etc, so it is good to know that there are 262 shelters in total along the way. These will easily keep you safe from rain, snow, or anything else. Shelters are located more or less every 8 miles.  More on this you can read in our Appalachian trail shelter guide.

Globo Surf Overview

The Appalachian trail represents one of the biggest challenges for every hiker in the world and it should be included in your list of destinations you’d love to visit. This article will help you get the know the Appalachian trail length a bit more, so you know what to expect once you make your first step of this amazing journey. And make sure to read our Appalachian trail hiking tips!

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