Links to get you started:
Maybe you already have a trail in mind.
It could be the Appalachian Trail, a life long dream to hike its entire 2178 miles along the eastern range of mountains in the United States.
http://www.trailquest.net/thruhike.html is a good place to begin researching.
Perhaps the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail of 2658 miles along the western ranges, from Mexican border to Canada, has captured your imagination.
http://pcta.org and http://trailquest.net/ offers a whole section of planning pages. The PCT is my favorite trail.
The links page at that website will give you tons of other trails available with corresponding sites for research:
If you're looking for a trail closer to home, one perhaps on your side of the country, check out
http://trails.com/ . You can plug in your zip code and it will bring up suggestions, reviews and maps. This site has subscription, and guides for sale. I haven't spent any money there so far.
Reading journals of other hikers, http://trailjournals.com/
or asking questions on a message board, or reading the existing threads at places like http://whiteblaze.net/ or http://backpacker.com/
are good for inspiration too.
Choosing a trail involves asking yourself some questions:
How far would I like to travel to arrive at the trail head?
Do I want a high elevation hike, a "river" walk, or desert?
How many weeks do I have to spend on the trail?
Am I in condition now, or will I train for this hike?
Is this my year to hike an entire long distance trail?
Which months do I plan to hike?
This week we will blog about those questions and offer some personal insights.
My trail journals and web pages can be read at:
Perhaps you are unemployed, a seasonal employee, in school, retired or desire to do something remarkable this year. Long distance backpacking can change your life. I highly recommend it.