The International Appalachian Trail complements the Canadian Appalachians – and now extends even into Europe.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada
Perhaps America’s most famous long-distance trail is the Appalachian Trail (AT), but it turns out the epic trail doesn’t actually end at the border with Canada – rather, it stretches all the way to in Canada with the International Appalachian Trail (IAT). So if one completes an AT-thru hikedon’t think the trail (or at least Appalachia) is all ‘done’.
The International Appalachian Trail follows the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail at Mount Katahdin in Maine. It then crosses New Brunswick, the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec and Newfoundland (to get from Quebec to Newfoundland, you have to take a ferry). The trail (through IAT branded trails) even extends to Greenland and into Europe. It would definitely be the hike of a lifetime to complete the full trail as it is now!
How International Appalachia Complements Appalachia
Age-old Appalachia doesn’t stop at the Canadian border just because someone draws a line there on a map.
The Appalachians are a mountain system in North America, and although they are found primarily in the United States, they also extend into southeastern Canada. From north to south, the Appalachians start from the Canadian island of Newfoundland and extend to central Alabama. In total, the range extends to around 2,400 miles or 4,000 kilometers.
Appalachia is vast and beautiful. It is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, formed around 480 million years ago, according to the section (long before the dawn of the dinosaurs).
The Appalachian Trail was proposed in 1921 and was completed in 1937. The trail is now a continuously marked trail from Spring Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. About 3 to 4 million visitors walk parts of the trail each year.
Hiking the International Appalachian Trail in Canada
The proposal to continue the Appalachian Trail in Canada with the International Appalachian Trail was made in 1994.
- Construction: Late 1990s
- Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland
- Length: 1,580 miles or 2,540 km
The Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland have parts of the northern Appalachians.
From Cap Forillon in the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, he returned to New Brunswick and crossed the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island. It then crosses the island to the ferry to Pictou, Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia, the IAT travels to Cape Breton, where hikers can cross into Newfoundland.
This section of Newfoundland resumes at Port-aux-Basques and heads northeast along the Long Range Mountains. This trail is for adventurous hikers. It meanders through remote and breathtaking scenic areas like the Lewis Hills and Gros Morne National Park. This section ends at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site (where the Vikings settled North America exactly 1,000 years ago).
This means that the Canadian International Appalachian Trail is divided into segments and is not one continuous trail – unlike the Appalachian Trail to the south.
Extension of the International Appalachian Trail across the Atlantic Ocean
In recent years, the International Appalachian Trail has expanded across the Atlantic Ocean – there are now International Appalachian Trails in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Wales, in England, Spain and Portugal – although these trails have nothing to do with the modern Appalachian mountain range.
The idea of having an Appalachian Trail across the Atlantic is due to the fact that 250 million years ago, in the Paleozoic era, these areas were together. While the Appalachian-Caledonian mountains may seem like a world apart today, they weren’t always that way. The remains of the Appalachians-Caledonia are found today in the countries traced today by the International Appalachian Trail (as well as the Anti-Atlas mountains in Morocco).
These mountains are all part of the ancient Central Pangean Mountains – they were formed when the continents (Laurussia and Gondwana) collided to form Pangea. It is strange to think that the Highlands of Scotland were once part of the same chain as the Appalachians.