The Appalachian Trail Section Committee of Keystone Trails Association has completed a reroute of the Appalachian Trail onto the former route of the North Trail. This A.T. reroute is in eastern Pennsylvania just west of the Lehigh River and approximately three miles southwest of Palmerton, PA, along the border of Lehigh and Carbon Counties. It was completed on October 16, 2021. The path of the reroute is shown on the enclosed graphic of a Google Map. The reroute is 2.2 miles in length and will add 0.7 mile to the A.T.
Jim Foster, Chair of the KTA A.T. Section Committee, said: “We’re excited to announce this portion of our reroute. Hikers in the Lehigh Valley have long known about the spectacular views of the Lehigh Gorge available on the North Trail. Now, hikers from all over the world who hike the Appalachian Trail will be able to see it. Our group has made several improvements to the North Trail during 2021. We think it’s time now to show off this great trail to the world, rather than waiting for the entire rerouted Trail to be completed.”
Scenes from the new Appalachian Trail, formerly the North Trail
The rerouted trail will be a return for the A.T. For many years the current North Trail was the path of the A.T. It was moved to the present path because of the environmental damage caused by the former zinc processing plant in Palmerton. Much of that damage on both sides of the Lehigh River has been remediated under the federal Superfund law. The portion from which the A.T. is being rerouted will be maintained as a side trail and is called the Bypass Trail. Thanks to everyone who submitted suggestion on what to name the new side trail.
This reroute is the first phase of a larger planned reroute of the A.T. within the KTA section. The remainder of the reroute will take place after a new path for the trail has been built. A portion of that new trail has been completed just west of Lehigh Furnace Gap by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Mid-Atlantic Trail Crew. More trail building will take place over the next several years. “At this point we do not have a timeframe for the additional reroutes”, Foster said. “We will announce additional reroutes as they become ready.”
HERE is a link to four maps that show all of the planned relocations.
Additional information on the reroute is available on the Section Committee’s website, https://ktalehighgapat.weebly.com/ Questions may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Appalachian Trail Section Committee of Keystone Trails Association is one of 31 clubs that maintains the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, America’s best known and most heavily used long distance hiking trail. The A.T. is the largest hiking-only footpath in the world, extending for approximately 2,190 miles from Mt. Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. KTA’s A.T. Section Committee maintains the A.T. in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania from Lehigh Furnace Gap to Little Gap, plus three adjoining trails, the North Trail, the South Trail and the Winter Trail. Keystone Trails Association, based in Mechanicsburg, PA, is Pennsylvania’s statewide hiking and trails organization. KTA’s main website is https://www.kta-hike.org/