Celebrating 95 Years of the Appalachian Trail's Origins at Bear Mountain

April 06, 2018
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Celebrating 95 Years of the Appalachian Trail's Origins at Bear Mountain
Colors of Bear Mountain. Photo by Ed O'Hara.


In 1923, Trail Conference volunteers built the original section of the Appalachian Trail. Our volunteers still maintain and protect the Trail to this day.

Most trail lovers know the Appalachian Trail runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. But quiz even the most enthusiastic thru-hiker, and she may not even realize that the Trail’s true start is right here, less than 50 miles north of Manhattan.

Ninety-five years ago this October, volunteers of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference officially opened the first constructed section of the Appalachian Trail, which they built and blazed through Bear Mountain State Park. Nearly a century later, Trail Conference volunteers still selflessly give their time and energy to ensure that the 174 miles of A.T. spanning New Jersey and New York remain open, safe, and enjoyable for everyone who follows that iconic white blaze.

The Trail Conference invites everyone to explore this incredible trail; our maps, guidebooks, and website are great resources to get you started. As we celebrate 95 years of Appalachian Trail stewardship, we hope you’ll be inspired to join us in making a positive contribution to the Trail’s legacy.

Saturday, June 2, is a great day to get involved in volunteerism on the Appalachian Trail. Join the Trail Conference and REI as we celebrate National Trails Day by performing service projects along the A.T. on Bear Mountain. 

In July, our A.T. volunteers will be out in full force from the Delaware Water Gap to the Connecticut border maintaining the Trail and engaging visitors as the thru-hiker “bubble” makes its way through our region. The RPH Cabin Volunteers will be holding their annual work weekend and barbecue July 13-15. And expect to spot an impromptu tailgate or two at A.T. trailheads throughout the month as our trail family offers some trail magic.

Throughout the season, our trail crews will be working on several projects on the Appalachian Trail, including the Long Distance Trails Crew’s rehabilitation of the Trail on West Mountain in Bear Mountain State Park, and the West Jersey Trail Crew’s restoration of the Pochuck Boardwalk in Wawayanda State Park. June through October, the Bear Mountain Trail Crew will be working to complete a reroute of the original section of the A.T. on Bear Mountain. Our crews are eager to meet people who want to make a difference outdoors, and they excel at teaching volunteers with little or no experience the skills they need to help build and repair trails.

We’ll be posting more details on these projects and events at nynjtc.org. Interested in a specific project, or want to find out about other volunteer opportunities that support the Appalachian Trail? Email us, and we’ll help you get started.