Appalachian Trail in West Virginia

The view near Raven Rocks on the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia. (Grant Blankenship)

A major portion of one of the world’s most famous hiking paths, the Appalachian Trail, passes through states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. How much do you know about the AT in general, and its route in the Bay states in particular? Answers are below.

1. Approximately how many people have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail?

A. 15,000

B. 17,000

C. 19,000

D. 21,000

2. Roughly how many people hike a portion of the trail each year?

A. 1 million

B. 2 million

C. 4 million

D. 8 million

3. There are three ways to complete the AT. Thru-hikers do it in one trip. There are two other ways: section hiking and flip-flopping. Which is which?

A. These hikers walk the AT over a number of years. Each year, they usually pick up where they left off.

B. These hikers walk the entire trail in unconnected sections to avoid weather extremes, crowds or to break in ones’ hiking legs by starting on an easier section.

4. Of those who attempt to thru-hike the AT, how many succeed?

A. 15 percent

B. 25 percent

C. 35 percent

D. 45 percent

5. The AT’s route is marked with white blazes. Blazes of the same shape mark side trails to overlooks, sites, parking lots or shelters. What color are these blazes?

A. Blue

B. Orange

C. Pink

D. Yellow

6. One Bay watershed state contains the most miles of any state along the trail, while another contains the fewest miles of any state along the route. Which states are they?

A. Maryland

B. New York

C. Pennsylvania

D. Virginia

E. West Virginia

7. The two easiest states to hike through are in the Bay watershed. Which two?

A. Maryland

B. New York

C. Pennsylvania

D. Virginia

E. West Virginia

8. The route through Pennsylvania is known to be particularly rough on hikers’ feet because erosion has littered the trail with small stones. This has led to a nickname. What is it?

A. Keystonesylvania

B. Pebblesvania

C. Rocksylvania

D. Trippsylvania

9. What is the Maryland Challenge?

A. Completing Maryland’s section of the trail in one day.

B. Eating a 1-gallon, “rocky road” banana split at AT I C Ice Cream, which is located halfway through the route in the state.

C. Reach Maryland by July when thru-hiking north.

D. Reach Maryland by May when thru-hiking south.

10. In another challenge, hikers travel 42.9 miles along the ridgeline between West Virginia and Virginia all the way to Pennsylvania, which involves crossing the border in Maryland — all in 24 hours. This challenge is known as the:

A. Chesapeake Challenge

B. Four-State Challenge

C. Long & Lickety Split Challenge

D. Ridge Runner Challenge

11. None of the Bay states’ highest points is on the AT, although it does come within a half mile of one of them. Which is it?

A. Maryland’s Hoye-Crest

B. New York’s Mt. Marcy

C. Pennsylvania’s Mt. Davis

D. Virginia’s Mt. Rogers

E. West Virginia’s Spruce Knob

12. Which Bay tributary is considered the dividing line between the northern and southern sections of the trail?

A. James

B. Potomac

C. Shenandoah

D. Susquehanna

13. One Bay state’s portion of the trail includes feral ponies at Grayson Highlands State Park brought to the area to help manage vegetation at the site. At Blackrock Summit, hikers can see exposed quartzite that was once part of the seabed of the Iapetus Ocean, an ancient body of water older than the Appalachians. Which state is it?

14. This Bay state is home to Harpers Ferry, location of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s headquarters. Many consider Harper’s Ferry to be the midpoint of the entire trail, but this is only psychological; the actual midpoint is farther north. Which state is it in?

15. Trail highlights in this Bay state include Delaware Water Gap; Pine Grove Furnace State Park, which contains the AT’s true midway point; and the Blue Mountains, including the Pinnacle; and Hawk Mountain, renowned for the thousands of migrating raptors who fly by every fall.

16. Most of this state’s peaks are less than 1,400 feet in elevation, and the AT’s lowest elevation occurs here in Bear Mountain Zoo, (124 feet). This state is also home to the trail’s oldest section, which was completed in 1923. (The AT is not in this state’s portion of the watershed.)

17. In this Bay state, most of the AT runs along the ridgeline in South Mountain State Park, which includes scenic vistas such as High Rock, Annapolis Rock and Weverton Cliffs.


1. B

2. B

3. A. Section hiking, B. Flip-flopping

4. B

5. A

6. D. Most, E. Least  

7. A & E

8. C

9. A

10. B

11. D

12. D

13. Virginia

14. West Virginia

15. Pennsylvania

16. New York

17. Maryland

Kathleen Gaskell is the Bay Journal's copy and layout editor and author of the Chesapeake Challenge. Contact Kathleen at

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