The Appalachian Trail, which crosses 5 New England states, ranked 3rd best hiking trail in the world

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The 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, offering a tour of the East Coast backcountry between Maine and Georgia, was rated one of the best hiking trails in the world this week by CNN, beating a host of other majestic trails.

The “AT” ranked third on CNN’s list of the world’s best hiking trails, behind the UK’s Pennine Way, which stretches 268 miles from rural central England to the Scottish border, and El Camino de Santiago, a series of trails in Spain leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

CNN has called the Appalachian Trail – the longest hiking trail in the world – “a company”.

That would be one way of saying it.

Derick Lugo sits atop a sign marking the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail on Mount Katahdin in Maine.Morris County College

Some folks, dubbed “thru-hikers,” will aim to hike the full 14-state route over a period of months, starting either at Springer Mountain in Georgia or Mount Katahdin in Maine and working their way to the ‘other.

A hike can take six months normally. A 28-year-old Belgian dentist and ultramarathoner completed the course in 41 days in 2018, covering more than 80 km per day.

But despite the formidable obstacle of a hike, the trail also offers plenty of opportunity for day hikes and multi-day excursions for millions of more casual explorers. The route is dotted with campsites and huts and reaches some of the East Coast’s most famous peaks. In New England, the trail takes hikers to some of the region’s most popular sites and highest peaks, including Mount Washington in New Hampshire (the tallest mountain in the northeast, at 6,288 feet) and Mount Greylock in Massachusetts.

MJ Eberhart

MJ Eberhart, 83, weaves his way through large boulders as he descends Mount Hayes on the Appalachian Trail, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Gorham, New Hampshire. Eberhart, who goes by the name Nimblewill Nomad Trail, is the oldest person to hike the entire 2,193-mile Appalachian Trail. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)PA

The CNN list, released on Monday, ranked the 23 best hiking trails in the world. Falling behind the Appalachian Trail, the network listed Basho Wayfarer in Japan and Refugio Frey and Cerro Catedral in Argentina. Other famous spots include the Dragon’s Back Trail in Hong Kong, the Tergo La Trek in Bhutan, and the Tahoe Rim Trail in California and Nevada.

See the complete list here.

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