Google celebrates Appalachian Trail, world’s longest hiking-only footpath, with a doodle

A Google Doodle is a temporary modification of the Google logo on its homepage, created to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures. The inaugural Google Doodle marked the 1998 edition of the Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada, designed by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Their intention was to inform users about their absence in case of server crashes. Subsequent Doodles, including one featuring an alien landing on the Google logo and custom designs for major holidays, were led by early marketing employee Susan Wojcicki.

Google Doodle
Image: Google Doodle

On October 2, Google Doodle is commemorating the Appalachian Trail, recognized as the world’s longest hiking-only footpath. The trail gained its status on October 2, 1968, through the National Trails System Act, which declared it as one of the initial National Scenic Trails. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this act, acknowledging the Appalachian Trail as federal land. Spanning 2,190 miles across 14 U.S. states, the trail has served sightseeing hikers for nearly a century, stretching from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Katahdin, Maine, along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian Mountain Range.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website, people from around the globe are drawn to this trail for various reasons, such as reconnecting with nature, escaping city stress, meeting new people, or experiencing a simpler life. The idea for the trail was initially proposed by Benton MacKaye in 1921, a forester, conservationist, and outdoorsman. His original plan, titled “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning,” envisioned self-sustaining agricultural camps along the route. Many like-minded individuals joined MacKaye’s cause, forming the Appalachian Trail Conference.

In 1937, after combined efforts from numerous trailblazers, the Appalachian Trail was fully connected from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The completion of the trail marked a significant achievement and has since become a symbol of outdoor adventure and conservation. This recognition by Google through the Doodle highlights the trail’s historical importance, celebrating the dedication and collaborative efforts that brought the Appalachian Trail to life.

  • Completing the full Appalachian Trail usually requires five to seven months of careful planning and preparation, ensuring hikers have the necessary supplies for the journey.
  • Each year, around 3 million people visit the trail, with approximately 3000 individuals attempting the challenging feat of completing it from end to end.
  • Google notes that McAfee’s Knob offers a particularly picturesque viewpoint and is widely regarded as one of the most photographed spots along the trail.
  • The trail provides a home for numerous plants and animals, including approximately 2000 rare and endangered species, as highlighted by Google.