In the United States, the Triple Crown of Hiking refers to the combination of three trails designated "National Scenic Trails": The Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Canada to Mexico through Washington, Oregon, and California (2,645 miles); The Continental Divide Trail, which follows the Rockies (2,558 miles), and the Appalachian Trail through the Appalachian mountains (2,168 miles). Altogether, they pass through 22 states.
Only 27 people have ever completed hiking the Triple Crown in their lifetimes. Sports Illustrated likens the Triple Crown of Hiking to the Seven Summits for climbers: a difficult feat that aficionados dream about, but few take on.
In October 2001, 40-year old Brian "Flyin' Brian" Robinson, a former Eagle Scout and systems engineer at Compaq from San Jose, California, completed the Triple Crown of American hiking within one calendar year, making his 7,371 mile (11,941-kilometer), 300 day hike the longest, fastest walk in American history.
Aided by very low snowfalls on the PCT and CDT, was able to achieve an average of 30 miles/day.
Practicing "ultra light" or speed hiking, his winter camping gear weighed only 19 lbs and his summer pack 13 lbs. The 6 foot 1 inch, 155 lb. man didn't lose any weight on the trip, consuming nearly 6,000 calories a day, including junk food binges on his 95 resupply stops. Robinson had spent 2 years training and planning the trip.
Sources: Robinson's journal entries, courtesy of his father's Web site:
Blaine Harden, "Hiking's Triple Crown, on 6,000 Calories a Day," International Herald Tribune, October 30, 2001, http://www.iht.com/articles/37291.htm