What is a National Scenic Trail?

A brief explanation of the federal designation


Appalachian National Scenic Trail

A National Scenic Trail is an area protected by the federal government that is home to hiking paths that are especially beautiful. Similar national labels include National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails, all three of the above were ratified in the National Trails System Act of 1968.

There are currently 11 National Scenic Trails recognized in the U.S., ranging in length from 220 miles to 4,600 miles long.

The Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails are considered the triple crown of U.S. hiking and they were also the first three to be recognized as National Scenic Trails.

The above image was taken on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Click here for a list of National Scenic and Historic Trails

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