When people talk about the longest hikes in the world, they often think of the Appalachian Trail (AT).
Why wouldn’t they? It’s an American classic. But it’s not the only long one out there.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest hiking trail in the world is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on the West Coast of the United States. However, that title is only temporary as the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) will take the record once the trail is completed. I’m not entirely sure how they judge which trail is the longest for that record because the American Discovery Trail is longer. My guess is it’s because the ADT combines with paved roads from time to time.
This list of long-distance hiking trails does not include trails in the US. Please see the link below if you want to read about those.
More Via: Top 10 Longest Hiking Trails in the World.
The Triple Crown of Hiking informally refers to the three major U.S. long distance hiking trails:
- Pacific Crest Trail – 2,654 miles (4,270 km) long, Washington, Oregon, and California between Mexico and Canada following the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range.
- Appalachian Trail – 2,184 miles (3,515 km), between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine.
- Continental Divide Trail – 3,100 miles (5,000 km), between Mexico and Canada following the Continental Divide along the Rocky Mountains and traversing Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
The total length of the three trails is about 7,900 miles (12,700 km); vertical gain is more than 1,000,000 feet (300,000 m) (190 miles). A total of 22 states are visited if the three trails are completed The American Long Distance Hiking Association – West (ALDA-WEST) is the only organization that recognizes this hiking feat. At the ALDHA-West Gathering, held each fall, the Triple Crown honorees are recognized and awarded plaques noting their achievement. As of October 2011, 155 hikers have been designated Triple Crowners. 
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (in short Continental Divide Trail) is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Peak which separates the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages.
Thru-hiking is hiking a long-distance trail end-to-end. The term is most commonly associated with the Appalachian Trail, but is also used for other lengthy trails and long distance hikes, including the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail in the United States and Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. Thru-hiking is also called “end-to-end hiking” or “end-to-ending” on some trails, like Vermont’s Long Trail. Section hiking, on the other hand, refers to hiking a complete trail by hiking all of its individual sections, not in continuity or, necessarily, in sequence.