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Climbing The American Discovery Path: A Coast-to-Coast Journey

Colorado River in Utah

The American Discovery Path (ADT) is a long-distance mountaineering path that spans 6,800 miles throughout the US from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The path passes by way of 15 states and affords an unparalleled alternative to expertise America’s various landscapes, cultures, and historical past.

Climbing the ADT is a journey of a lifetime that may take a number of months and even years to finish. Hikers will encounter rugged mountains, rolling hills, huge prairies, and expansive deserts alongside the way in which. They can even journey by way of small cities, large cities, nationwide parks, and historic websites, gaining a singular perspective of the nation and its individuals.

The ADT was created in 1989 by the non-profit group the American Discovery Path Society, to offer a cross-country path system that may promote outside recreation, wholesome existence, and cultural and financial improvement. The path is designated as a Nationwide Scenic Path by the Nationwide Park Service, and it’s open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.

On this article, we’ll look nearer on the American Discovery Path, its historical past, route, highlights, challenges, and ideas for hikers planning to hit the path.

Historical past of the American Discovery Path

Amish Country Ohio

The concept of a nationwide path system that may join the East and West coasts of the US was first proposed within the Sixties by hiker and outside fanatic Benton MacKaye. MacKaye envisioned a path linking the Appalachian Path (AT) within the East with the Pacific Crest Path (PCT) within the West, forming a steady mountaineering route from Maine to California.

Within the following a long time, a number of long-distance trails had been established throughout America, together with the Pacific Northwest Path, the Continental Divide Path, and the Florida Path. Nevertheless, no unified path system linked all these trails collectively.

In 1989, the American Discovery Path Society was based by a bunch of out of doors lovers and advocates who shared the imaginative and prescient of a cross-country path system. The Society’s mission was to create a path connecting present trails and incorporating new routes to type a steady mountaineering path that crossed your entire size of the US.

Over the following few years, volunteers and path organizations labored tirelessly to scout, survey, and construct the path. Lastly, the ADT was formally launched in 1999, connecting the Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware with Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore in California.

Since then, the path has undergone a number of enhancements and modifications, with new sections added and present sections rerouted to keep away from hazards or enhance hiker security. At present, the ADT is a well-established however nonetheless evolving nationwide path system that draws 1000’s of hikers yearly.

Only some individuals have really accomplished your entire path; most notably was Mike “Lion King” Daniel who was the primary particular person to backpack your entire 6,800 miles in a single steady hike.

American Discovery Path Routes

Point Reyes

The American Discovery Path is split into two important sections: the Japanese half and the Western half. The dividing level is the small city of La Junta, Colorado, which is positioned within the southeastern nook of the state.

The Japanese half of the path begins at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware. It continues by way of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois earlier than reaching the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri. The whole size of the Japanese half is roughly 3,070 miles.

The path’s western half begins on the Mississippi River and continues by way of Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California earlier than ending at Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore in California. The whole size of the Western half is roughly 3,730 miles.

As talked about earlier, the ADT combines present and new trails that had been established particularly for the ADT. A number of the trials that make up the ADT embrace:

  • The Ohio-to-Erie Path in Ohio
  • The Cardinal Greenway in Indiana
  • The Katy Path State Park in Missouri
  • The Santa Fe Path in Kansas and Colorado
  • The Pony Specific Nationwide Historic Path in Utah and Nevada

Along with these trails, the ADT contains quite a few connecting routes linking the primary path to close by cities, landmarks, and different factors of curiosity. These connecting routes can differ in size and problem, and hikers ought to seek the advice of the official ADT maps and guidebooks to plan their routes accordingly.

Highlights of the American Discovery Path

Arches National Park in Utah

One of the vital thrilling elements of mountaineering the American Discovery Path is the huge array of landscapes, cultures, and historical past that hikers will encounter alongside the way in which. The ADT has one thing for everybody, from pristine seashores to snow-capped mountains, from bustling cities to quaint cities, and from historical ruins to fashionable museums.

Listed here are a number of the highlights of the American Discovery Path:

  • The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Nationwide Historic Park in Maryland
  • The New River Gorge Nationwide River in West Virginia
  • The Amish Nation in Ohio
  • The Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park in Indiana
  • The Gateway Arch Nationwide Park in St. Louis, Missouri
  • The Rocky Mountains in Colorado
  • The Arches Nationwide Park in Utah

Climbing Sources:

PNT Climbing Sources


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