by Anne Baker

A mile here, a mile there

September 2, 2015

Hikers, if you can’t get enough of the Appalachian Trail—well, there are now 3.9 more miles of it.

Wait, what? How did that happen?

It’s actually a pretty cool story.

Every year, the latest shelter and mileage information is gathered by volunteers, including Daniel D. Chazin of Teaneck, N.J., who has led the efforts since 1983. Believe it or not, to gather the data, a majority of the volunteers actually use measuring wheels like what’s pictured above—simply because measuring wheels pick up nuances in the terrain.

After the information is gathered, it is then carefully compiled and documented in the ATC’s official guidebooks, which include theAppalachian Trail Data Book and the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion. Re-measurements and relocations result in the mileage changes, and the totals usually vary in some capacity each year.

This year, more than half of the changes in the mileage are in southwest Virginia, with 2 miles added to the total following a re-measurement by volunteers. Increases were also reported in New York-New Jersey (0.1 mile); central Virginia (0.1 mile); Tennessee-North Carolina (1.5 miles); and North Carolina-Georgia (0.2 mile). That brings the total to 2,189.2 miles versus last year’s 2,185.3!

So if you happen to be out on the Trail and you see someone rolling a weird-looking wheel, remember to say thanks—they’re probably making sure you have the most up-to-date information about the footpath we all love so much.

Want to get the latest official A.T. guidebooks and maps? Check out what we have at our Ultimate A.T. Store at You can also call 1.888.287.8673 to place an order.