American Discovery Trail
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|American Discovery Trail|
The American Discovery Trail, including its northern and southern routes.
|Length||6800 mi (10944 km)|
|Trailheads||Cape Henlopen, Delaware;
Limantour Beach, California
|Use||Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking|
|Highest point||Argentine Pass, 13,207 ft (4,025 m)|
|Lowest point||California Delta between Isleton and Antioch, −17 ft (−5.2 m)|
|Trail difficulty||Easy to Strenuous|
|Sights||National Parks, National Forests|
The American Discovery Trail is a system of recreational trails and roads which collectively form a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the mid-tier of the United States. Horses can also be ridden on most of this trail. It starts on the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and ends on the northern California coast on the Pacific Ocean. The trail has northern and southern alternates for part of its distance, passing through Chicago and St Louis respectively. The total length of the trail including both the north and south routes is 6,800 miles (10,900 km). The northern route covers 4,834 miles (7,780 km) with the southern route covering 5,057 miles (8,138 km). It is the only non-motorized coast-to-coast trail.
The trail passes through 14 national parks and 16 national forests and uses sections of or connects to five National Scenic Trails, 10 National Historic Trails, and 23 National Recreation Trails. For part of its distance, it is coincident with the North Country Trail and the Buckeye Trail.
The trail passes through the District of Columbia and the following 15 states:
- Delaware (45 miles (72 km))
- Maryland (270 miles (430 km))
- West Virginia (288 miles (463 km))
- Ohio (524 miles (843 km))
- Indiana (250 miles (400 km))
- Illinois (219 miles (352 km))
- Kentucky (8.7 miles (14.0 km))
- Iowa (512 miles (824 km))
- Missouri (343 miles (552 km))
- Nebraska (523 miles (842 km))
- Kansas (570 miles (920 km))
- Colorado (1,153 miles (1,856 km))
- Utah (593 miles (954 km))
- Nevada (496 miles (798 km))
- California (276 miles (444 km))
Joyce and Pete Cottrell, of Whitefield, New Hampshire, were the first to backpack the entire official route of the American Discovery Trail. They hiked the segments out of sequence over two calendar years, finishing in 2003.
The first hikers to complete the trail in one continuous walk were Marcia and Ken Powers, a wife and husband team from Pleasanton, California. Their trailwalk lasted from February 27 to October 15, 2005. They started out from Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and ended at Point Reyes, California. They trailed 5,058 miles (8,140 km) by foot, averaging 22 miles (35 km) a day.
The first person to backpack the entire 6,800 miles (including both Northern and Southern sections) in one continuous hike was Mike "Lion King" Daniel. He started from Cape Henlopen State Park on June 17, 2007, and ended at Point Reyes, California on November 5, 2008.
The following notable locations are found along or adjacent to the route of the American Discovery Trail. They are listed from east to west to correspond with the itinerary typically followed by thru-hikers to take advantage of the best seasonal weather conditions.
- Cape Henlopen State Park, the eastern terminus of the trail in Delaware.
- Limantour Beach, Point Reyes, the western terminus of the trail in California.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". News and Information. American Discovery Trail. 2001–2010. Retrieved March 21, 2014.