The Appalachian Mountains are a vision to behold. The famous mountain system is well-loved among locals and tourists alike. After all, it makes for great hiking adventures! For a traveller in the USA, the Appalachian Mountains are a sight that must be visited. It is a common mention among the top natural wonders of the world. Besides being a top landmark in USA, the mountain range has plenty of fun facts too. Did you know- the Appalachian Mountains are named after Apalachees. The Apalachees are a historic tribe who inhabited the area. The mountains were initially a way of delineating Native American land from American colonists. Before we learn about the mountain trail, first things first. Where are the Appalachian Mountains? Take out your map of USA and embark on the journey of a lifetime!
Where Are The Appalachian Mountains
The mountain range takes over eastern North-America. While it is mostly situated in the USA, the Appalachian Mountains extend over to southwestern Canada into the island of Newfoundland. The trails themselves begin their enormous journey from Alabama, USA. But that is far from being it. In the USA itself, the Appalachian Mountains exist in a whopping 14 states! These are as follows- Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
That is approximately a 2,200-mile-long journey. The trail and its impressive length is a challenge for passionate hikers. Many hikers attempt to complete the full trail. And those who can manage to do so are fondly called “thru-hikers” or “2000 miles”. For first-timers, however, there are plenty of options to take shorter hikes. The range is divided into 3 sections- northern, central and southern. So you may even opt to take on any of these sub-divisions.
History Of The Trails
As the oldest mountain chain in North America, the Appalachian Mountains have a fascinating history. The mountains are said to have formed about 480 million years ago during the Ordovician period. The Ordovician period itself belongs to the Paleozoic era. Yes, the Appalachians are just that old. The massive trail, at its peak, was as tall as the Himalayas. However, millions of years of erosion have worn it down. Today, its highest peak goes up to 6,684 feet. That is less than half of the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains!
Natural Environment Of The Appalachian Mountains
The climate of the Appalachians depends on the time of year. But for the most part, the weather is temperate and humid. For tourists and hikers, it is generally quite pleasant. But extremes exist too. Mount Washington of the range, for instance, experiences very strong hurricane-force winds for the longer part of the year. The Canadian portion of the range and the White Mountains in New Hampshire are also known for their arctic and subarctic climates. The range is however filled with beautiful wildlife.
These naturally thrive in the temperate forests of the region. It is particularly populated with mammals. Black bears, moose, white-tailed deer, foxes, chipmunks etc. are a common sight. Besides, the mountain range is also rich in bird life. The Great Rocky Mountains between North Carolina and Tennessee has a record 200 varieties of birds.
Prominent Spots In The Range
Traversing the Appalachian trail is a massive undertaking. So, why not break it down into bits? Here are some of the most famous spots in the Appalachian Mountains. Stunning views and rich history, these locations have it all.
Clingman’s Dome, Tennessee
The highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains, Clingman’s Dome offers a 360-degree view of the lands that stretch across. From the observation tower at the site, trekkers can look over at 7 of the states which hold the Appalachian Mountains.
Blood Mountain, Georgia
Beautiful and rugged, this is the most popular day hike for trekkers in Georgia. The Neels Gap route, albeit challenging, is certainly very rewarding. Cherokee legend has it that the mountain is the site of a battle between two Native American tribes. Blood flowed through the creeks and hence, the mountain earned its name.
Mount Killington, Vernon
What makes Mount Killington special is its rich flora and fauna, the wilderness. The hike to the peak is short and easy. But the rugged Appalachian trail offers a sense of adventure. The ski resort in the region is also known for attracting tourists.
Max Patch, North Carolina
In the Appalachian Mountains map, Max Patch is one of a kind. The largest bald in the mountain range, it is a tremendous view across all directions. Sunrise and sunsets are especially a treat to the eyes. The hike to the top is moderately easy and it is definitely rewarding.
What To Do In The Appalachian Mountains
For a first-time traveller to the mountains in eastern North-America, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few of the activities you can partake in while in the Appalachians.
Appalachian Mountains Hiking
The Appalachian Mountains are a godsend for hiking. Afternoon rambles or ambitious treks, you can choose your adventure.
Appalachian Mountains Paddling
The mountain range has plenty of gorges for kayakers. Especially for wintertime paddling and camping, the Russel Fork Gorge in Kentucky is a great choice. Northern Georgia also has a suitable climate and flowing rivers for the adventure paddling in the colder season.
Appalachian Mountains Foraging
The wilderness that lies in the Appalachian Mountains map is ideal for foraging. The Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia is an immense foraging area that you must visit, especially in late summer.
Yes, the Appalachian Mountains are a historic site with great stories to tell. Visit the Museum of Appalachia in Tennessee or Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia and bask in the cultural glory of the mountain range.
Start Your Appalachian Adventure
The Appalachian Mountains are a gem in the map of USA. Quiet trails and scenic views, what’s not to love? So, get your backpacks ready and explore the mountain range. Spread vast across the USA, the experience of the trail is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime.