19 Trails to Explore on the East Coast

1. Acadia National Park

Explore Maine’s rugged ocean shores on the trails of Acadia National Park on the East Coast. Acadia National Park is the first National Park east of the Mississippi. Acadia is a 47,000-acre paradise for hikers, bikers, and sightseers on the low mountains of Mt Desert Island. The park is home to extensive miles of hiking trails and carriage roads. The park is comprised of beautiful woodlands and stunning rocky beaches. There is a variety of land- and sea-based wildlife in Acadia National Park, including moose, bear, whales, and a multitude of seabirds.

2. Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is one of the oldest National Scenic Trails in the United States. It attracts thousands of thru-hikers every year. Its narrow corridor stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. It traverses 14 states and nearly 2190 miles (3524 km) on its way. The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world and is one of the Triple Crown trails. The AT is an amazing hiking adventure for long-distance hikers and thru-hikers. It is also perfect for day-hikers and section-hikers looking to enjoy the beautiful views.

3. Baxter State Park

Explore the forests, ponds, and mountains of Maine in Baxter State Park. One of the crown jewels of Maine’s outdoors, Baxter State Park is home to the state’s highest peak, Mt Katahdin.  The park also has several other rugged mountains, dozens of lakes and ponds, several major streams. It also has some of the deepest wilderness in the state. Most visitors come to either camp in the pristine campgrounds around the park.  And others climb Katahdin which is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Whatever your plan, the Park is worth as much time as you can afford to spend there.

4. Benton MacKaye Trail

Climb mountains through green forests, splash across trout-filled rivers on the Benton MacKaye Trail. This trail is an Appalachian footpath of almost 289 miles (480 km). Named for the American forester and conservationist who sparked the idea for the Appalachian Trail. The Benton MacKaye Trail runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Davenport Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail passes through 3 states and a multitude of wilderness areas.

5. Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail

The Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail is a long-distance paddling trail that follows the 400-miles of the Connecticut River. Its headwaters start at the US-Canada border to its terminus at the Long Island Sound. Mostly meandering, but at times rushing forcefully, the Connecticut River flows past a diverse landscape of rich agricultural lands, rural communities, urban centers, and tidal marshes. With its consistently navigable waters, few portages or difficult rapids, a rich cultural history and a varied natural landscape, the Connecticut River provides a unique opportunity to paddle through the heart of New England. Traveling through four New England states (NH, VT, MA, and CT) the Connecticut River offers endless exploration opportunities.  For any paddler that want to explore on the east coast the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail is great choice!

6. Florida Trail

Hike the Florida National Scenic Trail from southern sandy beaches to northern rolling hills. Stretching more than 1400 miles (2250 km) and across two time zones. The Florida Trail is the southernmost of the National Scenic Trails in the United States. It is a winter destination, best hiked between October and April, with January and February as the prime months for backpacking and thru-hiking. Although there are no mountains, Florida provides challenging hiking with its swampy and sandy terrain, dense vegetation, and humidity. It showcases vast coastlines, open prairies, river valleys, bubbling springs, and a walk along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Botanical wonders are everywhere as the trail winds through habitats from tropical forests with Caribbean trees to hillsides covered in spring mountain laurel.

7. International Appalachian Trail

The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) began in 1994 with the goal of creating a walking trail that followed the Appalachian Mountains from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Cap Gaspe, Quebec. Since then the IAT has grown to over 5000mi/8000km in length and include trails in 13 countries on three continents around the North Atlantic. Our IAT Guide includes the three original sections of the trail: Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec.

8. Mid State Trail

Pennsylvania’s Mid State Trail is a hike of almost 330 miles (530 km), and offers dramatic views, rocky ridgelines, high plateaus, rolling hills, and a variety of other spectacular natural features. The trail crosses the entire state, from the border with New York in the north, to the border with Maryland in the south. The trail traverses many unique natural areas, including the Allegheny Mountains and the Northern Tier, a region of the trail shaped by the retreat of ancient glaciers.

9. New England Trail

The New England National Scenic Trail (NET) is a 215-mile hiking trail route that has been in existence for over half a century. The NET travels through 41 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts and is comprised primarily of the historic Mattabesett, Metacomet, and Monadnock (M-M-M) Trail systems.The NET travels through classic New England landscape features – long-distance vistas with rural towns as a backdrop, agrarian lands, unfragmented forests, and large river valleys. The trail also travels through colonial historical landmarks and highlights a range of diverse ecosystems and natural resources: mountain ridges and summits, forested glades, wetlands and vernal pools, lakes, streams, and waterfalls.

10. Pinhoti Trail

Walk southern Appalachian forests in Georgia and Alabama on the Pinhoti Trail. The Pinhoti Trail is a journey of over 330 miles (530 km) through the Appalachian Mountains of Alabama and Georgia. The trail runs from Northern Georgia where it meets the Benton Mackaye Trail to Flagg Mountain in Alabama, which holds a special designation as the southernmost peak of the Appalachians to stand at over 1000 ft. The Pinhoti Trail travels for over 150 miles in both states, and passes through some of the most beautiful sections of each, including the Talladega National Forest in Alabama and the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia.

11. The Long Trail

Hike the Green Mountains through forests and peaks on the Long Trail. The Long Trail is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. It follows the Green Mountains for 270 miles (430 km), crossing the state of Vermont from Massachusetts to Canada. Its rugged route summits Vermont’s highest peaks and visits a multitude of scenic forests, lakes, and rivers along the way. The southern 100 miles (160 km) of the Long Trail run together with the Appalachian Trail. The northern portion of the Long Trail is generally considered to be more challenging and remote than the southern end. The Long Trail offers endless hiking opportunities for thru-hikers, backpackers, section-hikers, and day-hikers.

12. White Mountain National Forest

Climb among the Presidential peaks and along the rugged ridges of the White Mountain National Forest. White Mountain National Forest is home to New Hampshire’s highest peaks. These peaks are some of the most famous in the entire country. Mount Washington and the Presidential Range are some of the most rugged and impressive peaks on the east coast, and have been a mecca for outdoor recreation for generations. In the White Mountains, you will find New Hampshire’s 48 Four-Thousand Footers, over a thousand miles of hiking trails, and endless possibilities for hiking adventures, including a section of the Appalachian Trail.

13. Allegheny Trail

The trail is a 311-mile north-south trail with its northern terminus on the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border near Bruceton Mills. It winds its way south until it meets the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain at the Virginia-West Virginia border. Volunteer workers (with crucial assistance from U.S. Forest Service and State Park staff) maintain all sections of the trail, which is marked by 2″x 6″ yellow blazes.

14. Susquehannock Trail

Located in Pennsylvania’s Potter and Clinton counties, the Susquehannock Trail System (STS) is an 84-mile loop hiking trail. It is marked with 2″ x 6″ orange paint blazes and occasionally an STS emblem. The STS offers the public a glimpse of Pennsylvania’s crown jewel. Part of the STS runs in conjunction with the Donut Hole Trail, and the STS also has a connecting link to the Black Forest Trail. There are also two cross-over trails available to provide hikers with the option of a shorter loop hike.

15. Standing Stone Trail

The Standing Stone Trail follows scenic ridgelines in Huntingdon, Mifflin, and Fulton counties: the rural heart of central Pennsylvania’s Tiltrock Country. Originally built as Link Trail between Mid State Trail and Tuscarora Trail, the SST is a destination in its own right, offering Pennsylvania hikers and backpackers a link to dramatic scenery, wild plant and animal life, and compelling history. The name Standing Stone acknowledges the Oneida people who tended a marker at the mouth of what came to be called Standing Stone Creek in present-day Huntingdon. SST crosses this creek within an old growth hemlock and rhododendron stand now called Alan Seeger Natural Area. The logo represents Monument Rock, one of the bold natural standing stone outcrops the trail passes.

Foothills trail sign

16. Foothills Trail

The Foothills Trail, a 76.2-mile trail, is located in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina. Whether you’re looking for a day hike or planning a multi-day thru-hike, the trail offers adventures of every length and difficulty. Thru-hikers should plan to spend approximately 5-10 days on the trail, while weekend backpackers and day-hikers can utilize numerous trailheads for shorter trips. Not only does the Foothills Trail offer a superior hiking experience (Backpacker magazine rated it as “one of the best long trails in the country”), it also provides access to some spectacular waterfalls for sightseers and photographers.

Mushrooms on a log in Shenandoah National Park. The park is very popular on the east coast.

17. Shenandoah Trail

This comprehensive hiking guide to Shenandoah National Park includes 550 miles of walking paths in this iconic national park in Virginia. The Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular parks on the east coast.


mountain look out from the Pine Mountain Trail

18. Pine Mountain Trail

The Pine Mountain Trail runs along the sawtooth spine of Pine Mountain on the border between Kentucky and Virginia. The mountain is known for its colorful moonshine and post-Civil War feud history. The trail has spectacular views across the Cumberland Plateau. It also has diverse plant and animal life, and interesting geological features (waterfalls, arches, rock shelters, cliffs, gorges and bogs). The trail has a very healthy black bear population. Shelters are spaced roughly 8-14 miles apart and offer privies, bear poles and water new-by. Unlike other trails that are over-loved, this is a newer trail and a hidden gem.

bridge in the distance along the Sheltowee Trace, A popular trail on the east coast

19. Sheltowee Trace

The Sheltowee Trace is a 343-mile (552.00 km) National Recreation Trail. The trail was created in 1979 and stretches from the Burnt Mill Bridge Trail Head in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee to northern Rowan County, Kentucky. The trail is named after Daniel Boone, who was given the name Sheltowee (meaning “Big Turtle”) when he was adopted. Daniel Boone was adopted as the son of the great warrior Chief Blackfish of the Shawnee tribe. The trail is primarily in the Daniel Boone National Forest, but also takes visitors through the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, two large recreation lakes (Cave Run Lake and Laurel Lake), and many wildlife management areas. All but the southernmost 45 miles (72.42 km) are in Kentucky.