American Discovery Trail

American Discovery Trail

Overview
The American Discovery Trail is a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail
Trail
A trail is a path with a rough beaten or dirt/stone surface used for travel. Trails may be for use only by walkers and in some places are the main access route to remote settlements...

 across the mid-tier of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It starts on the Delmarva Peninsula
Delmarva Peninsula
The Delmarva Peninsula is a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States, occupied by most of Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia...

 on the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and ends on the northern California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 coast on the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, and is signed on over 6800 miles (10,943.5 km) of trail. This includes the doubled trail stretches. It is possible to complete the coast to coast hike by covering just over 5000 miles (8,046.7 km) of trail. It is the only non-motorized coast-to-coast trail.

The trail passes through 14 national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s and 16 national forest
United States National Forest
National Forest is a classification of federal lands in the United States.National Forests are largely forest and woodland areas owned by the federal government and managed by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. Land management of these areas...

s and utilizes sections of or connects to five National Scenic Trail
National Scenic Trail
National Scenic Trail is a designation for protected areas in the United States that consist of trails of particular natural beauty.National Scenic Trails were authorized under the National Trails System Act of 1968 along with National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails...

s, 10 National Historic Trail
National Historic Trail
National Historic Trail is a designation for a protected area in the United States containing historic trails and surrounding areas. They are part of the National Trails System....

s, and 23 National Recreation Trail
National Recreation Trail
National Recreation Trail is a designation given to existing trails that contribute to health, conservation, and recreation goals in the United States. Over 1,000 trails in all 50 U.S. states, available for public use and ranging from less than a mile to in length, have been designated as NRTs...

s.
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Encyclopedia
The American Discovery Trail is a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail
Trail
A trail is a path with a rough beaten or dirt/stone surface used for travel. Trails may be for use only by walkers and in some places are the main access route to remote settlements...

 across the mid-tier of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It starts on the Delmarva Peninsula
Delmarva Peninsula
The Delmarva Peninsula is a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States, occupied by most of Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia...

 on the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and ends on the northern California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 coast on the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, and is signed on over 6800 miles (10,943.5 km) of trail. This includes the doubled trail stretches. It is possible to complete the coast to coast hike by covering just over 5000 miles (8,046.7 km) of trail. It is the only non-motorized coast-to-coast trail.

The trail passes through 14 national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s and 16 national forest
United States National Forest
National Forest is a classification of federal lands in the United States.National Forests are largely forest and woodland areas owned by the federal government and managed by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. Land management of these areas...

s and utilizes sections of or connects to five National Scenic Trail
National Scenic Trail
National Scenic Trail is a designation for protected areas in the United States that consist of trails of particular natural beauty.National Scenic Trails were authorized under the National Trails System Act of 1968 along with National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails...

s, 10 National Historic Trail
National Historic Trail
National Historic Trail is a designation for a protected area in the United States containing historic trails and surrounding areas. They are part of the National Trails System....

s, and 23 National Recreation Trail
National Recreation Trail
National Recreation Trail is a designation given to existing trails that contribute to health, conservation, and recreation goals in the United States. Over 1,000 trails in all 50 U.S. states, available for public use and ranging from less than a mile to in length, have been designated as NRTs...

s. For part of its distance, it is coincident with the North Country Trail
North Country Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail , which stretches approximately from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea in central North Dakota in the United States, is the longest of the eleven National Scenic Trails authorized by Congress...

 and the Buckeye Trail
Buckeye Trail
The Buckeye Trail is a 1,444 miles  long-distance trail that loops around the state of Ohio. Part of it is on roads and part is on wooded trail...

. From western Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 to northern Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, the trail has two parallel stretches.

The trail passes through the District of Columbia and the following 15 states:
  • Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

  • Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

  • West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

  • Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

  • Indiana
    Indiana
    Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

  • Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

  • Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

  • Iowa
    Iowa
    Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

  • Missouri
    Missouri
    Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

  • Nebraska
    Nebraska
    Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

  • Kansas
    Kansas
    Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

  • Colorado
    Colorado
    Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

  • Utah
    Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

  • Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

  • California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...


Hiking Record


The first hikers to walk the entire trail, Joyce and Pete Cottrell, of Whitefield, New Hampshire
Whitefield, New Hampshire
Whitefield is a town in Coos County, New Hampshire, USA, in the White Mountains Region. The population was 2,306 at the 2010 census. Situated on the northern edge of the White Mountains, Whitefield is home to the Mount Washington Regional Airport and the White Mountains Regional High...

, were the first to backpack the entire official route of the American Discovery Trail, but they hiked segments out of sequence over two calendar years, finishing in 2003.

The first hikers to complete the trail in one continuous walk from February 27, 2005 to October 15, 2005, were Marcia and Ken Powers, wife and husband, of Pleasanton, California
Pleasanton, California
Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, incorporated in 1894. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about east of Oakland, and west of Livermore. The population was 70,285 at the 2010 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in...

. They started out from Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park is a Delaware state park on on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County, Delaware, in the United States. William Penn made the beaches of Cape Henlopen one of the first public lands established in what has become the United States in 1682 with the declaration that Cape Henlopen...

 in Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

 and ended at Point Reyes, California. They trailed 5058 miles (8,140 km) by foot, averaging 22 miles (35.4 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
Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park is a Delaware state park on on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County, Delaware, in the United States. William Penn made the beaches of Cape Henlopen one of the first public lands established in what has become the United States in 1682 with the declaration that Cape Henlopen...

 on June 17, 2007 and ended at Point Reyes, California on November 5, 2008.

External links