Travels with Charley

The cool camping blog. Trying to find gear, supplies, adventure and activities for the 21st century camper.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Activity - Hike a Scenic or Historic Trail


If you really want to get out and see America and its wide open spaces, hiking a historic or national scenic trail may be just for you. We're not talking day hikes where you pack a loaf of bread and a bottle of burgundy, but the kind where you carry everything on your back, get all funky dirty smelling and chased by bears kind of hiking. Obviously not for the faint of heart, but if you're up for it, these trails can offer breathtaking views and a perspective on history that few others will ever have. Many of these trails span multiple states and thousands of miles. Some cross national borders.

The original national scenic trails were started on the east and west coasts almost simultaneously in the 1920's. The west coast trail became the Pacific Crest Trail and the east coast had the Appalachian Trail. At the time these were called Trails for America, but were made official National Trails in 1968. National Recreation Trails and National Historical Trails soon followed. The Scenic trails are supposed to showcase the best in American scenery for the hiker, going through pristine lands, at times far far away from civilization.

What you get is a chance to truly walk America, possibly as it once was, before civilization took over. Hikers can go for hundreds of miles and never cross another person or even a road.

There are currently eight Scenic Trails and many more of the Recreation and Historic. Their websites seem to be sporadically organized for the Scenic Trails, but I found the NPS link for them HERE. The Recreation and Historic trails can easily be found at NPS.GOV.

Other sites to be found include:
Pacific Crest Trail
Appalachian Trail
GORP's Guide to Scenic Trails (reg required)

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