The American Perimeter Trail- 12,000 Miles of What Could Be The Longest Thru-Hike in the U.S.

Spencer Cox | BackcountryBackcountry
American Perimeter Trail
A general outline of the American Perimeter Trail. Photo credit: Rue McKenrick

When it comes to thru-hikes, names like the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles), Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles), and Continental Divide (3,100 miles) typically come to mind. Together, these three behemoths comprise what is known as the Triple Crown- the completion of which is the holy grail for avid thru-hikers. But what about the American Perimeter Trail? If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it doesn’t actually exist yet… but in upcoming years, that could change.

Triple Crown finisher, Rue McKenrick has embarked on an ambitious project- to create a monstrous 12,000-mile thru-hike known as the American Perimeter Trail (APT). As the name suggests, this trail will follow the rough outline of the United States and connect the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs all the way down the west coast, with Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia. If McKenrick’s dream comes to fruition, the APT will the longest thru-hike in the United States by far.

thru-hike
A celebratory Rue McKenrick upon completion of the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail. Photo credit: Rue McKenrick

After completing the Triple Crown, McKenrick searched the U.S. for other lesser-known thru-hikes but was disappointed to find that there weren’t any other trails of the same magnitude. Instead of giving up, McKenrick felt inspired and opted to create his own thru-hike.

Currently, the APT is in the early stages of development. At this very moment, Rue Mckenrick is somewhere in Michigan along the U.S.-Canadian border scouting potential routes. He plans for the APT to utilize some pre-existing trail, however, much of his scouting is taking place in completely remote and undeveloped areas of wilderness. McKenrick hopes to finish his scouting and a rough draft of a map by October.

Upon his return home, McKenrick is excited to get straight to work in making this trail official. This process will require working with a number of government agencies and could take years. Nonetheless, McKenrick is determined to turn his dream into reality. If you would like to follow McKenrick’s progress and receive updates regarding the progress of the APT, be sure to follow his Facebook page and blog!

APT
Hiking along Lake Superior. Photo credit: Rue McKenrick

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