The Great Eastern Trail is a north-south hiking route that runs roughly 1,600 miles (2,600 km) through the Appalachian Mountains west of the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States. As of 2019, it is still under development. From south to north, it runs from Flagg Mountain through Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, ending in western New York state. A connection from Flagg Mountain south to the Florida-Georgia border is considered "Phase II Development".
It is a potential connector in the US National Trails System, linking the Florida National Scenic Trail in the south to the North Country National Scenic Trail in New York. In between, it would connect with and briefly overlap two other National Scenic Trails: the Appalachian Trail and the Potomac Heritage Trail.
Many sections of the Great Eastern Trail are already hikeable for day use and backpackers. The longest continuously usable sections are on the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, and from Narrows, Virginia, northward through portions of Virginia, West Virginia, all of Maryland, all of Pennsylvania, to a junction with the Finger Lakes Trail carrying the North Country National Scenic Trail near South Bradford, New York.
The project enjoyed support from the American Hiking Society and the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the US National Park Service but then became an independent entity. The Great Eastern Trail Association was incorporated in Virginia on August 10, 2007, by signatories from the nine states through which the trail passes.
On January 10, 2013, "Hillbilly" Bart Houck of Mullens, West Virginia, and Joanna "Someday" Swanson of Willow River, Minnesota, started hiking in Alabama and arrived in New York on June 18, 2013, becoming the first to complete a thru-hike of the Great Eastern Trail. In October 2016, Kathy Finch of New Hampshire became the first to complete a southbound thru-hike from New York state to Flagg Mountain, Alabama.
Several other names were suggested and used earlier during the development of the trail, including the Western Appalachian Alternative. The northern terminus was once considered to overlay with North Country National Scenic Trail at Crown Point, New York, but was truncated to the NCNST junction in southwestern New York state.
|Great Eastern Trail|
|Length||1600 mi (2575 km)|
North Country Trail
Route from south to north with gaps, according to the Great Eastern Trail Concept Plan:
The Allegheny Trail is a 330-mile (530 km) hiking trail that passes through the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, United States. It is the longest named trail in the state excepting the Appalachian Trail, 4 miles (6.4 km) of which traverses the state at Harper's Ferry.
The trail is not yet complete, and substantial sections are still on roads. It was initiated in 1975, and is being built and maintained by the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association.
The northern terminus of the Allegheny Trail is near Bruceton Mills at the Mason–Dixon line, which here represents the boundary between West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The trail ends at the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain on the Virginia – West Virginia border.Bedford County, Pennsylvania
Bedford County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,762. The county seat is Bedford.Finger Lakes Trail
The Finger Lakes Trail consists of a network of trails in New York. The trail system is administered by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (FLTC), a non-profit organization, composed primarily of volunteers.
The FLT is primarily designated as a footpath only trail. The main trail (FLT) is 584 miles (939.9 km) long and extends from the New York-Pennsylvania border from Allegany State Park in southwestern New York to the Catskill Forest Preserve in eastern New York. There is an additional 400+ miles (643+ km) of branch and loop segments that branch off the main FLT -- six branch trails and several loop and side trails. The FLT is part of the 4,600 mile North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) and affiliates with the North Country Trail Association as a partner organization. The NCNST uses approximately 424 miles of the FLT as it crosses New York from Allegany State Park and into Madison County.
The Trail System passes over a mixture of public and private land, and also public roads where there is no public or private land available. The main FLT crosses through many New York state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas. The FLT also crosses through the only national forest in New York State and over an additional 400 private landowners property.
It is maintained by volunteers from 15 organizations and approximately 60 individual and family trail sponsors, except for personnel of the NYSDEC Operations Crew who maintain the trail in the Catskills. The US Forest Service maintains the Interloken Trail in the Finger Lakes National Forest.
The highest elevation on the entire FLT is 3660' near Balsam Lake Mountain in the Catskills. The lowest elevation is 430' where the FLT crosses the Cayuga Inlet near Ithaca, NY. There are also five fire towers located along the trail. The first is the abandoned Mt. Tuscarora Fire Tower in Allegany State Park. The second is the Sugar Hill Fire Tower outside Watkins Glen State Park. The Berry Hill Fire Tower is located outside Bowman Lake State Park. The fourth is the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower and the fifth is the Rock Rift Fire Tower. Both are located in the Catskills.
As of August 10, 2016 the Finger Lakes Trail has been completed 413 times (including continuous and section hikes). Joe Dabes ("Java Joe") has hiked the entire trail ten times. Frank Bianco's second of four hikes was completed in 24 days on June 26, 1997. The six branch trails have all been completed 92 times as of February 14, 2016. The FLTC gives out patches for completing both the main trail and all its branches. Then on August 3, 2015, Heather Houskeeper ("Botannical Hiker") completed the first continuous hike of the main trail and all branch trails in 62 days.
When using the trail, it is important to know whether the portion you are using is on private or public land and the rules applicable to that particular portion.
Those portions of the trail that pass over private lands are subject to rules established by the Finger Lakes Trail Conference ("FLTC") as negotiated with the private land owners. The portions of the trail that pass over public lands are subject to the laws and rules of the political entity that owns the public land.
For example, the portions of the trail that are in Allegany State Park are subject to the rules of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation ("NYS OPRHP"). The portions of the trail that pass through New York State forests and New York State reforestation areas are subject to the rules of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("NYS DEC"). The portions of the trail that pass over county owned lands are subject to the rules of the particular county.
This multi-jurisdiction can create a good deal of confusion. For example, there are some designated camping spots ("bivouac" areas and lean-tos) on both private and public lands. On private lands camping is allowed only in specifically designated locations. In some state parks camping is allowed anywhere on or near the trail that is not visible from a road. In other state parks, camping is allowed only in designated camping areas along the trail. On the portions of the trail that pass over New York State forests and New York State reforestation areas camping is anywhere that is at least 150 feet from any trail, road, and water source.
Likewise, mountain biking is generally prohibited by the FLTC. In state parks, mountain biking is allowed only if specifically designated by the NYS OPRHP. In state forest and reforestation areas, mountain biking is allowed unless the NYS DEC has specifically posted otherwise. Similar disparate rules apply to possession of firearms, both long guns and licensed handguns.
Portions of the trail that pass over private lands are closed during various hunting season (fall turkey season, fall big game season, and spring turkey season.) The portions of the trail that pass over public lands are generally open all year long including public lands on which hunting is allowed.
The FLTC sells detailed maps that specify the portions of the trail on public and private lands, and the portions of the trail that are closed during various hunting seasons.Florida Trail
The Florida Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States. It currently runs 1,000 miles (1,600 km), with 300 miles (480 km) planned, from Big Cypress National Preserve (between Miami and Naples, Florida along the Tamiami Trail) to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach. Also known as the Florida National Scenic Trail (which applies only to its federally certified segments), the Florida Trail provides permanent non-motorized recreation opportunity for hiking and other compatible activities and is within an hour of most Floridians. The Florida National Scenic Trail is designated as a National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-543).
With its first blaze marked by members of the Florida Trail Association at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest, the Florida Trail began on October 29, 1966. The Florida Trail was officially designated as a National Scenic Trail in 1983. The U.S. Forest Service, through the National Forests in Florida program, is the official administrator of the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST), but trail development, maintenance, and management are a result of volunteers and land managers throughout the state.Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park
The Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park is a Tennessee hiking trail following a line of ridges and gorges along the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The trail begins at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and ends at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. The trail travels through 11 Tennessee counties and two time zones.List of hiking trails in Maryland
This is a list of hiking trails in the U.S. state of Maryland.Lower Trail (Pennsylvania)
The Lower Trail (pronounced like "flower") is a 16.5-mile (26.6 km) rail trail that follows the Juniata River in West-Central Pennsylvania from Flowing Springs in Blair County to Alfarata in Huntingdon County. The Lower Trail is owned and maintained by Rails to Trails of Central Pennsylvania, a 501c3 organization. The trail follows the path of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Petersburg Branch along the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River. It is open free of charge to the public, though donations are accepted at all trail heads. The portion of the Lower Trail from Alfarata to Williamsburg is part of the Pennsylvania Mid State Trail and Great Eastern Trail. In 2009, the trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail by the United States Department of the Interior.Mid State Trail (Pennsylvania)
The Mid State Trail (MST) is a 527.02 km-long (327.48 mi) main trail network with many side trails located in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians and Allegheny Plateau of Central Pennsylvania. It is known as "The Wildest Trail in Pennsylvania". In 2006, the MST was announced as part of the Great Eastern Trail network of footpaths intended to extend from Alabama to New York State.
The northern terminus of the trail is at the New York State border near Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, meeting Crystal Hills Trail, a branch of Finger Lakes Trail crossing eastern Steuben County, New York. The southern end is on Black Valley Road at the Pennsylvania-Maryland border near Flintstone, Maryland, meeting the route of Great Eastern Trail through Green Ridge State Forest. As of 2015 there remains a 1.79 km (1.11 mi) unmarked gap southeast of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. The MST is primarily on public land – state forests, game lands, and parks. MST uses private lands by permission on occasion, generally closer to the Maryland and New York borders.
The Mid State Trail has many views offered by its placement on narrow ridges. The MST provides an illusion of remoteness and solitude yet is rarely more than two kilometers from the nearest road. The MST was the first trail in the US to use metric measure and is still one of the few to do so. The current Mid State Trail guide states: "The MST was the first hiking trail in the United States to use metric measure. The second edition of the guide (1973) was completely metric. Metrication is a patriotic measure designed to help end our cultural isolation and ease our chronic balance of payments problems."North Country Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail, generally known as the North Country Trail or simply the N.C.T., is a footpath stretching approximately 4,600 miles (7,400 km) from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota in the United States. Passing through the seven states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, it is the longest of the eleven National Scenic Trails authorized by Congress. As of early 2019, 3,129 miles (5,036 km) of the trail is in place.The NCT is administered by the National Park Service, managed by federal, state, and local agencies, and built and maintained primarily by the volunteers of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) and its partners. The 28 chapters of the NCTA, its 3,200+ members and each affiliate organization have assumed responsibility for trail construction and maintenance of a specific section of the NCT.Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail
Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail is a 120 mi (193 km) trail under development in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Once completed, the trail will wind along Pine Mountain Ridge from the Breaks Interstate Park to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The park itself will cover a 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) band along Pine Mountain.As of May 2014, the trail is completed from the Breaks Interstate Park to Kingdom Come State Park.Pinhoti National Recreation Trail
The Pinhoti Trail is a Southern Appalachian Mountains long-distance trail, 335 miles (540 km) in length, located in the United States within the states of Alabama and Georgia. The trail's southern terminus is on Flagg Mountain, near Weogufka, Alabama, the southernmost peak in the state that rises over 1,000 feet (300 m). (The mountain is often called the southernmost Appalachian peak, though by most geological reckonings, the actual Appalachian range ends somewhat farther north in Alabama.) The trail's northern terminus is where it joins the Benton MacKaye Trail. The trails highest point is Buddy Cove Gap, with an elevation of
3164 feet near the Cohutta Wilderness. Its lowest point above sea level is close to Weogufka creek near Weogufka State Forest at 545 feet.
The Pinhoti Trail is a part of the Eastern Continental Trail and the Great Eastern Trail, both very long-distance US hiking trails connecting multiple states.Pinnacle State Park and Golf Course
Pinnacle State Park and Golf Course is a 714-acre (2.89 km2) state park located in Steuben County, New York. The park is southwest of the City of Corning in the Town of Addison, east of Village of Addison.Ramsey's Draft Wilderness
Ramsey's Draft Wilderness is a designated wilderness area in the North River Ranger District of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests of Virginia in the United States. The wilderness area was established in 1984 and comprises 6,518 acres (26.38 km2). It is administered by the US Forest Service.Standing Stone Trail
The Standing Stone Trail (SST) is an 80-mile (130 km) long main trail network with side trails located in the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. The SST was known as the Link Trail, commemorating its connection from the Mid State Trail to the Tuscarora Trail, until its name was changed in January 2007. In 2006, the SST (then the Link Trail) was announced as part of the Great Eastern Trail network of footpaths intended to extend from Alabama to New York state.
The northern terminus of the trail is at Greenwood Furnace State Park near McAlevys Fort, Pennsylvania. From here, the Greenwood Spur hiking trail connects the SST to the Mid State Trail. The southern end is a junction with the Tuscarora Trail in Buchanan State Forest near Cowans Gap State Park. The SST uses both public (state park, state forest, state game land) and private lands.
The Standing Stone Trail has many views offered by its placement on narrow ridges, and interesting cultural remnants such as Thousand Steps near Mapleton, Pennsylvania.Tuscarora Trail
The 252-mile (406 km) Tuscarora Trail is a long distance trail in the Ridge and Valley Appalachians that passes through the US states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. In the south, the Tuscarora begins at a junction with the Appalachian Trail (AT) near Mathews Arm Campground, 0.4-mile (0.64 km) south of the AT's crossing of Skyline Drive at MP 21.1 in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. In the north, it rejoins the Appalachian Trail at the top of Blue Mountain just west of the Susquehanna River and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, creating a 435 mi (700.1 km) circuit known as the Tuscalachian Loop. The Tuscarora Trail was built as an alternative parallel route for the Appalachian Trail. It was built farther west, in a more wild corridor, because it was feared that development would force closure of the AT, before passage of the National Scenic Trails Act of 1968.