The seven hardest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail

When you picture the mountains that span the Appalachian Trail, what comes to mind? Massive, majestic, daunting peaks?

Likely not—and you’d be right. It is for this reason that the uninitiated confuse the 2,189 miles that make up the United States’ original long trail as easy hiking. Some of it is. Most of it, however, is excruciatingly difficult.

In fact, of the three long trails in the United States (the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Appalachian Trail), the AT offers the most elevation change on average. Compare some of these all across the country: The entire Appalachian Trail, Mount Whitney in California or several 14,000 footers in Colorado. There is no doubt that the AT presents some of the toughest terrain in the country.

So if you’re looking for a challenging day hike, you need not venture west to find it.

Here are seven of the hardest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail.


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