The North Country Trail (NCT) spans 4,600 miles and stretches from New York to North Dakota. This distance makes it the longest of the National Scenic Trails at more than two times the distance of the Appalachian Hiking Trail and almost 50% longer than the second longest option, the 3,100 miles Continental Divide Trail. As of the summer of 2010, more than 1,800 miles have been certified. The trail is managed by the National Park Service with the help of volunteers across the country.
Altogether, the trail will pass through seven states – New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota and ten National Forests. The hit list of the The North Country also includes –
Four National Park Service areas including
- Wisonsin’s St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
- Michigan’s Painted Rocks National Lakeshore
- Ohio’s Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park
- New York’s Fort Stanwix National Monument
Other highlights –
- 57 state parks and state historic areas
- 47 state forests
- 22 state game areas
The North Country Trail will be, in part, a combination of many local trails pulled together to form one long, continuous trail across the Northern portion of the United States. There are over 10,000 people involved with the trail either as members of the North Country Trail Association or as a member in one of the eight affiliated organizations across the country. In Minnesota, the affiliated trail associations are the Superior Hiking Trail Association and the Kekekabic Trail Association. Other sections will be made available from private citizens across the country granting easements for several hundred miles of trail.
Once the project is complete, hikers trekking through Minnesota will have the option of taking the scenic route via the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route and Kekekabic Trail or taking a more direct route from Duluth to Chippewa National Forest. The difference in mileage between these two routes is approximately 250 miles!