The Entire Appalachian Trail!!

Showing 21-47 of 47 messages
The Entire Appalachian Trail!! RockyRaccoon 3/5/05 7:41 PM
Hi all,

Ok, this is cool! Here are about 300 placemarks which show the location of every single overnight shelter, cabin, or lean-to along the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Although I don't have the GPS data to draw the actualy centerline of the trail, the shelters are close enough that it's an easy matter to see where it goes! What's more is that you can right click on any placemark to see notes about the shelter, whether or not there is a fee to stay there, the capacity it holds, who maintains the shelter, etc.

It's quite a lot of data and of course I did not do it by hand. I used the suggestion in this post to do it. The Appalachian Trail website makes the data available -- I imported it into Microsoft Access as a table and generated a report with all the appropriate XML tags. If anybody is interested, I might be able to make the Access file available so that everybody can see how it is done. In all, I was able to import all 300 placemarks with the proper descriptions in less than 30 minutes and that includes the time it took to set up the Microsoft Access report. Very convenient indeed!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Take care,


BTW, in the description of each shelter, if the capacity reading indicates "zero", it indicates that the information is not available.
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! Hill 3/6/05 12:14 PM
Good post Mr. R. How about a follow-up for other trail systems like the Pacific Crest trail on the other side of the country for instance.
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Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! steve_bryan 3/6/05 7:05 PM
Fantastic information! It is because of posts like this that I keep coming back frequently to this BBS. It is remarkable how many unique ideas that keyhole makes feasible to pursue.
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! Phred 3/6/05 8:15 PM

Just Terrific.

As always,


Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! indweller 8/7/05 9:50 AM

Can you make that Access file available per the offer here?

Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! tomoa731 10/12/05 5:20 PM
Thanks so much, many hours must have gone into this....
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! Travel_By_GPS 11/16/05 1:55 PM
I wish I would has seen yours before I did this . Very simular to yours except, I had added a route connecting all the shelters. Yes, some of the shelter were orphaned because of several being in the same area.

I didn't know you could do what you did with Access. I used a map authoring program called ExpertGPS which will output .gpx then converted to .kmz using Google Earth. More details on my web at

Travel by GPS is a free site for downloading GPS data for recreational activites from all over the world. Contributors welcome.
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Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! PaulPv 12/19/05 7:19 PM
Try this:

Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! csmith_Traveler 12/19/05 8:00 PM
Hooray! Love it! Wanna go and do it!!
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! sgtpepper868 1/26/07 12:58 PM
Slight correction:

Grey Knob and Crag Camp shelters in North Presidentials are owned and maintained by the Randolph Montaineering Club (RMC), not the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) as posted.
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! (polyline) irativesfo 4/30/07 9:07 PM
I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2006, came home, and threw up a polyline KML file of the AT, using the most recent data posted on the ATC's website. Fun stuff.

The actual KML file can be found at It is pretty big, though.

Now, I am working on digitizing the AT off of historic maps, and georeferencing photographs...
The Entire Centerline of the Appalachian Trail!! imnewtryme 5/9/07 10:43 AM
I've always wanted to see how close the trail came to my house.....

This is the entire length of the trail, in line format!
Add the placemark kmz from the parent post, and you've got all the trail data in one map!

Here is the most recently posted polyline file from the website converted to KML for use in Google Earth.
The GPS data has not been updated for 5 years ( 3/12/02 ), so it might be a bit off, but better than nothing!

The Appalachian Trail website makes the data available.
I opened it in ArcMap and used an extension released by the City of Portland called Export to KML 2.3.5.
This is a great extension for ESRI ArcMap to export points, lines, and polygons to KML. highly recommended.

and Go Hokies!

The "view in google maps" doesn't work because the KML is too big, FYI.

PS The previous polyline post link was broken, so here's my contribution.
Re: The Entire Centerline of the Appalachian Trail ATGardner 1/18/08 7:35 AM
thank you very much.
I was just looking for a way to covert those esri files to kml. I appreciate your work. now it's back to geo-tagging my '02 thru hike on picasaweb...
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! schmuttis 1/23/08 6:49 AM
After finding this post, I thought you all might be able to help us since you are interested in the Appalachian Trail and GPS readings from the trail.

We have a website that collects information on Appalachian Trail parking/access areas including GPS coordinates. For some states (PA) we have a good many readings but others nothing. We are always looking for more information to make our site more useful to AT hikers. If you should have any GPS readings for AT parking/access areas we would very much appreciate it if you would submit them to our website: At the bottom of the main page, are links for submitting this information.

Thanks for taking the time to read this
Previous data inaccurate; Accurate data here QuiGonJin 2/15/08 10:41 AM
Hello All:

I wanted to let y'all know that the previously posted "888578-AppalachianTrailCenterline.kmz" and "21124-Appalachian Trail Shelters.kml" files are inaccurate because the coordinate data uses the NAD27 datum, whereas Google Earth requires WGS84 datum.

I've been working extensively with this data since some friends are hiking the entire AT in 2008 and I'll be joining them for a section. I decided to translate the AT centerline data into something I could use in my GPS unit. Man-oh-man did that open up a can of worms! After much work and a lot of pain, this is what I discovered:

The original data used to create the AT centerline file and the AT shelters file came from the AT conservancy website, from their GPS and GIS data page. That webpage clearly states that the data is NAD27. Apparently when these data were converted into .kmz and .kml files the coordinates were not translated to WGS84 as is required by Google Earth.

Because the wrong datum is used, the coordinates are offset to the west and slightly to the south. You can see this effect by loading the "Appalachian Trail Datum Comparison.kmz" file (in a follow-on post) into Google Earth. Take a look at the Description in the Properties page for more information. Briefly, the red NAD27 track (from "888578-AppalachianTrailCenterline.kmz") is displayed west of the green WGS84 track (from attached "Appalachian Trail.kmz") and the green track clearly lines up with the AT whereas the red track does not. Also the shelter waypoints are clearly offset west in the NAD27 data and miss the actual shelters whereas the WGS84 waypoints land on the shelters - or at least closer :-).

Attached is an accurate AT centerline file "Appalachian Trail.kmz" and, in a follow-on post, is an accurate collection of shelter waypoints in "Appalachian Trail Shelters.kmz". In addition to being accurate, these files are more usable since the AT centerline has only 39 track sections (plus 2 short spur tracks to the top of Mt. Washington) whereas the original centerline data had 4549 track fragments. And the shelter waypoints have complete and accurate comments in their Descriptions whereas the original shelter waypoints had less information that was sometimes truncated and incomplete.

I've also created a bunch of files that can be used with a GPS unit (i.e., .gdb and .gpx files). These files show the entire AT or sections of the AT, with varying distances between track points (therefore varying numbers of total track points). Also these GPS files have waypoints for the AT shelters with either a full comment with full information (like the comments in the Google Earth file) or with a brief comment with essential information (e.g. shelter capacity) such that the comment will not get truncated when loaded onto a GPS unit. I plan to make these GPS files available somewhere - haven't decided where yet but perhaps on my nascent website - please look there sometime in the near future and I'll have more info available.

I hope all this info is useful.

Accurate data: AT Shelters QuiGonJin 2/15/08 10:45 AM
As mentioned in a previous post, here is "Appalachian Trail Shelters.kmz", which gives accurate locations for AT shelters together with complete comments.

See previous post "Previous data inaccurate; Accurate data here".

Accurate data: Comparison NAD27 to WGS84 QuiGonJin 2/15/08 10:50 AM
Here is the "Appalachian Trail Datum Comparison.kmz" file, which compares inaccurate NAD27 tracks and waypoints to accurate WGS84 tracks and waypoints for the Appalachian Trail.

Take a look at the Description in the Properties for info about what this file displays. Also see previous post "Previous data inaccurate; Accurate data here" for more information.

Re: Previous data inaccurate; Accurate data here ATGardner 2/22/08 1:30 PM
Thank you very much for your effort in fixing up the trail data.
I was trying to unit eht 4200 sections into 33 (for 320k coords), and I ran into several problems myself. The biggest one was that the original kml didn't have the sections in right order, so I had to put them all in a set, and each time just pick up the next closest section to the one I am "holding" in order to concatenate the coords into one long list.
But then I realized the actual data was wrong, and not in the way you found out - there are some bits on the trail where the coords create a loop. It is probably just a glitch in the data, but I was wondering if it came this way from the ESRI files, or maybe something went wrong along the way.
Well, as I said, I didn't even know the data was a bit to the west, so thanks again for making it all that much more accurate. But you can see this loop problem at your section 37 (For example), about 0.08 miles east of Pierce Pond Lean-to. Just wondered if you have an idea as to why it happens (and it happens in several other places as well), and how to fix it.

I'd also love to hear how you managed to transfer the data into your sections.

How accurate data was generated; .gpx file for AT QuiGonJin 3/3/08 9:13 AM
This is a response to Noam, post #1119366 - 02/22/08 01:30 PM.

Hi Noam:

I'm glad you can utilize the data that I put together.

I understand what you mean about the original .kml file with the sections in arbitrary order, and also in arbitrary direction. Those were some of the many obstacles I had to overcome in order to synthesize these data.

As for the loops, I'm guessing that the original coordinates were derived from GPS tracks and, when pausing along the trail, the GPS fix wandered around a bit thereby creating 'clouds' where many points were closely spaced and the track formed loops, figure eights, etc.

I work as a software engineer when I'm not hiking so I put together a Python program to process these data. First I searched through all endpoints of the original 4500+ tracks and found those that were closest to each other in order to put tracks together. I thought that was all that would be required but I ended up with lots of errors and strange pairings. Thus began the real trouble.

Essentially all of the anomolies were caused by the loops and clouds of closely spaced points described above. Rather than try to programmatically detect and remove the loops (very difficult) I solved the problem of detecting when lines crossed each other and how to pair them up thereby allowing me to string together long tracks, the ultimate aim, but the loops and clouds remained. I ended up with a few dozen tracks, which I manually massaged to eliminate some and split others into managable sizes, finally ending up with the 39 tracks in the data that I previously posted.

I decided that I wouldn't try very hard to further clean up the 39 full-resolution tracks since they have points that are generally spaced closer together than necessary. Thus many of the loops and point clouds remain.

I translated the full-resolution tracks into .gpx files that may be used with a GPS unit or mapping program. These .gpx files may also be imported into Google Earth. I filtered the .gpx tracks using various criteria, for example spacing the points every 50 feet. This effectively removes the loops and clouds since those points are usually spaced less than 10 feet.

At this time I have an extensive collection of various .gpx files and .kml files for the Appalachian Trail and its shelters. I will be making these files available shortly. I intend to post them on my website (disclaimer: I have no commercial interest, I want to make this large collection of files available to those who can use them in the most effective way possible). Attached is one of these files (in the .zip), a .gpx for the entire Appalachian Trail with points spaced approximately 50 feet and including all shelters with complete information for each shelter.

Again, I'm glad you can make use of these data and I hope that my efforts will help AT hikers and others interested in the Appalachian Trail.

GPS and Google Earth Files for Appalachian Trail QuiGonJin 3/6/08 7:40 AM
Hello All:

GPS and Google Earth files for the Appalachian Trail and its shelters are now available on my website at:

There's a lot of data there and it's not practical to post it here in the community forum, hence putting it on my website. I have no commercial interest, I only want to share the data with those who can use it.

I put so much work into generating the data in the first place, I then put together a variety of combinations (tracks filtered for various intervals, shelters included or not included, etc.), which you'll find on the website.

For general interest, attached is a Google Earth file with high resolution tracks for the entire Appalachian Trail and including all shelters along the trail with complete comments describing each shelter.

Thanks and good luck to all AT hikers.

Re: The Entire Centerline of the Appalachian Trail wvfd14 8/14/08 1:07 PM
ESRI arcmap v9.3 will now automatically convert data from shapefile to kml without having to use the script.
Elevations Added to AT Tracks and Shelters QuiGonJin 11/29/08 8:36 PM
Hello Again Everyone:

I'm glad that the GPS and Google Earth data that I posted has been well received and people are making good use of it.

One user, Chris Johnson, made a significant contribution to these data by adding accurate elevations to every track point and shelter waypoint. He sent me the elevation data and I integrated it into all the GPS and Google Earth files that are available on my website at - Now when you download any of the data, the elevations are included.

Also, take a look at Chris's website at - he's got elevation profiles for the Appalachian Trail as well as lots of other cool maps and profiles and Google Earth files.

Best wishes and good luck to all -

Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! gauravakrani 12/8/08 9:49 AM
wow friend you took some of your time for this great information keep it up.
Re: Elevations Added to AT Tracks and Shelters enrobsob 12/21/08 10:04 AM
Thanks Guy! Wonderful.
Re: Elevations Added to AT Tracks and Shelters Mark_E 4/30/09 9:49 AM
Thank you for all of your efforts. Right now I am using this data to help search for a missing AT hiker.
Re: Previous data inaccurate; Accurate data here Drupal Focus Consultant 1/27/10 4:17 PM
Thanks you very much for the clarification of the NAD27 vs WGS84 datum on Google Earth. Would still like to know what algorithm you used.

In particular thanks for reducing the original 4549 track fragments. I am still confused why they choose such a large number, considering that the Appalachian Trail is only 2176 miles. Maybe it coincided with Google Map Tiles featureor a faster load.

As a section hiker, I would prefer the line to be fragmented according to the AT Data Book. Which uses state-Line and Major Feature (Rockfish Gap, Fontana Dam).

(1) Maine
(2) New Hampshire - Vermont
(3) Massachusetts - CT
(4) New York - New Jersey
(5) Pennsylvania
(6) Maryland - West Virginia - Northern Virginia (Front Royal)
(7) Shenandoah NP
(8) Central Virginia (Waynesboro - New River)
(9) Southwest Virginia (New River - Damascus)
(10) Tennessee - North Carolina (Damascus - Fontana Dam)
(11) North Carolina - Georgia (Fontana Dam - Springer Mt)
extra) Amicalona Falls Approach Trail
eatra) International AT (Katahdin - Gaspe Pennisula, Canada)
Re: The Entire Appalachian Trail!! Sam Claassens 11/12/13 10:32 AM
You are a lifesaver mate!

Much appreciated :)