In August 2012, National Geographic included the International Appalachian Trail in the World's Best Hikes: 20 Epic Trails.
"A truly great trail winds into the essence of a place, so when assembling this list of the world’s great hikes we kept an eye on more than the footpath. We looked for walks that travel deeper into a location’s history and culture. Sure, there’s outdoor adventure on each of these 20 hikes, but the trails also tell a rich story. So here they are, the holy grails of trails across the world." - Doug Schnitzspahn
Best For: Appalachian Trail thru-hikers looking to beef up their resumes; hikers with a fondness for primordial geology.
Distance: The current trail includes approximately 1,862 trail miles from the end of the U.S. Appalachian Trail in Maine to the North American trail terminus at Crow Head, Newfoundland.
The IAT is an attempt to connect a primordial mountain range that traversed part of the supercontinent of Pangaea more than 200 million years ago before separating into multiple ranges. What remains of those peaks in North America has become the famed Appalachian Mountains of the United States, but few of the Appalachian Trail's thru-hikers will want to admit that the mountains continue on into Canada—and don't stop there. The remains of those mountains stretch from Labrador to Greenland and then down to the European continent, with vestiges in Scotland, France, Spain, and even across Gibraltar to Morocco.
For the full story of the International Appalachian Trail as a National Geographic World's Best Hike, go to the National Geographic website.
For IAT Scotland's West Highland Way's inclusion in the National Geographic World's Best Hikes, again go to the National Geographic website.
For IAT Iceland partner Iceland Touring Association's Laugavegurinn Trail's inclusion in the National Geographic World's Best Hikes, again go to the National Geographic website.