Appalachian Trail is the most popular hiking trail in the US. Almost everyone who has hiked more than once can expect to have experienced the journey through this terrain. The same reason can mean monotony for some passionate hikers. For them, the top alternatives to Appalachian Trail can be welcome options to try their feet on.
1. American Discovery Trail
It is the only hiking trail that meets both coasts of the USA. The extent of American Discovery Trail is more than 10,000 kilometres from Delaware to Cali carving its way through 15 US states and passing by Columbia. The terrain reaches low lying areas when it moves through California Delta and touches epic heights in Argentinean Pass.
2. Benton MacKaye Trail
This 450km long alternative to Appalachian Trail touches some of the remotest terrains in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Though the mountain ridges, high meadows, yellow poplar and hickory allure, less than a tenth of Appalachian Trail trekkers hike through Benton MacKaye Trail. It was proposed in 1921 but was officially opened in 2005, although the route had been worked upon by volunteers since ages. It has several access points for quick hikers to indulge in multi-day adventure.
3. Great Eastern Trail
Great Eastern Trail now includes more than 13 kilometres long trails of Chattanooga and Chikamauga National Military Park. It forms part of the route from Cumberland Trail to Georgia Pinhoti Trail. Such measures are being taken to make Great Eastern Trail western alternative to Appalachian Trail. It passes through 9 states between finger Lake Trail and southern end of Appalachian Mountains. National Park Service is also involved in this work.
4. Pacific Crest Trail
At 4,265 kilometres in length, Pacific Crest Trail is a great alternative to Appalachian Trail in terms of distance. It extends the Pacific coast from Canada to Mexico via Washington, Oregon and California. The terrain is incredibly diverse. Volcanoes in the Cascades Range, glacier in Sierra Nevada, deep forests and desert can be experienced while trekking through this one trail. Harts Pass, Crater Lake National Park, River Boulder, etc. are some short portions of the trail for those who do not want thru-hike the entire trail.
5. Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail
The Pacific Northwest trail is nearly a 2000km stretch that connects the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The trail spans Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park and Glacier National Park. Hikers through this trail will cross through 7 national forests, which mean confrontation with grizzly bears and wolves will be more than likely. They will have to have good navigation skills because the trail slices through massive pines, alpine meadows and old-growth rainforests. Less than 100 trekkers have hiked through this trail ever since it was first proposed as an alternative to Appalachian Trail by a conservationist in 1970.