Now, these three that we list are not the only difficult portions of the trail. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. Since the trail actually begins at a bronze plaque on the summit of Springer Mountain at 3,780 feet, the first decision you make is whether to do the 8.5-mile approach trail. Nevertheless, it is worth keeping in mind that there are some paid campsites. There are so many important logistics to consider when planning a big thru-hike that it can be easy to forget some of the smaller ones – like just how you’re going to get there! You might be wondering why this area is so popular. Your choice of gear depends directly on your route, its duration, and the season. This trailhead is located on Springer Mountain in Georgia. When planning to hit the road, first check your maps. The primary purpose of these principles is to minimize human impact on the environment. How long is the AT? Trail Guide Books and Maps, The Best of the App. Head south through the hills of the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area and along the shores of both Rainbow Lake and Nahmakanta Lake. This online software calculates the approximate walking distance of each particular sector along the Appalachian Trail. Wet cotton can lead to hypothermia—one of the most serious threats lying in wait for hikers. The Appalachian Trail stretches 2,168 miles from the state of Georgia to Maine. This can help hikers to have a physical reminder as they pass a sign telling them they are indeed halfway. Once you reach its summit, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the Appalachian Mountains and … So you’ve decided to explore the Appalachian Trail. The AT intersects GA75 and SR348, with parking facilities at both locations.DirectionsTake GA75 approx. Other info can be found at ALDHA.org, Whiteblaze.net and TheTrek.co. And not only hikers. If I'm not training for my next 100 mile trail race then you can probably find me exploring a new trail with my family. He became the first 2000-miler, organized by trail crews, and in 1937, directed the Trail to the Mt. Clingmans Dome, located in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, is the highest point along the Appalachian Trail.With an elevation of 6,643 feet, it offers hikers stunning views of the surrounding countryside hills, mountains, and forests up to … So, estimating how long it takes to pass through some of the states can put your mind at ease and give you a frame of reference as you hike. The route involves quite challenging climbs. How difficult is a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail? Luckily, Virginia’s terrain is not going to be the most difficult on the AT. At Shenandoah National Park, you are not limited to designated campsites. Check the list below. Southbounders finishing in Georgia in November have been known to encounter heavy snow storms as well (I did!). Your smartphone may die or you may get no signal—meaning you won’t be able to connect to online maps. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy recently posted the following memorandum as an open letter with cautionary tips for all hikers planning to be on the trail in 2021: “In March 2020, America began to feel the first impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which would upend almost every aspect of … That being said, it won’t always be fun and exciting. 7. (About 20 percent of hikers who begin the trail will complete it.) Permissions are granted on a free basis and can be obtained at visitor centers. Great Smoky Mountains National Park policy requires tourists to stay overnight in shelters. That gives you miles and miles of steep, rocky terrain to climb up and wander down. And surely none of you would like to be the next victim. This pace may be slower at the beginning of the trail, and become faster as hikers gain muscle strength and confidence. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which oversees the conservation of the trail, says that it is the longest hiking-only trail in the world and at an amazing 2,200 miles, it is certainly long. Where Does The Appalachian Trail Start and End? Previous Next. Nice article! Most section hikers may not take on a full state at one time, but for others, it can be a rewarding getaway. Hiking alone has its benefits. If you’re planning a northbound thru-hike on the AT, you will be starting at Springer Mountain, Georgia. That being said, it only takes most people 4 to 5 months to hike the trail. This pace may be slower at the beginning of the trail, and become faster as hikers gain muscle strength and confidence. As the location of halfway moves, those that upkeep the trail will relocate a marker as well. Many hikers choose to do the 8.8 mile approach trail. All hikers will face their own hardest section of the trail, but we can narrow down some of the most challenging terrain portions that are commonly reported as being the hardest parts of the AT. Large tourist groups on the trail can use campsites and set up tents. As far as terrain, Georgia is a fairly easy to moderate section of the AT. The first section of the trail at Amicalola Falls has 604 steps. One of the significant battles that a thru-hiker will encounter is knowing how far they can hike each day. At a mind blowing 2,190 miles, the Appalachian Trail is something that is discussed in the most serious hiking circles around. Each shelter holds between 12-14 people and only 4 spots per night are reserved for thru hikers. As a rule, passage of the trail is free, and permits are also issued without charge. The idea of creating the AT was first discussed in October of 1921. Just check out our guide below—and don’t forget to share it with your friends! The path has some pretty severe conditions, especially for beginners: mountainous terrain and unpredictable weather conditions. The route runs alongside highways and roads, the big cities. It will cost about $1000 a month if you do this the right way. How difficult is a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail? You are also required to stay at the shelter sites, regardless if you have a spot to sleep inside. For hiking short sections, contact the local Trail Club for the most up to date info. Hiking half the Appalachian Trail can, therefore, take around three months. Katahdin in … 10 miles to the parking lot. Then, as their strength and stamina build during their journey, they will begin to push 12-16 miles per day. On average, brand-new camping supplies can cost $1,000 or more. It is valid for 38 days from the date of issue and grants up to 8 days of passage through the trail in the park. They tend to finish in Mount Katahdin in Maine between August and early October. If you are a hiker of average speed, that will put you on pace to finish the trail in Maine by September. High-quality, comfortable shoes will help prevent calluses and swollen feet. You will be ascending for about 5 miles. Note that cotton socks would cause blisters when wet. When To Start a Sobo Appalachian Trail Thru Hike I started a northbound (nobo) hike in Georgia on the spring equinox, and hiked 114 miles before leaving the trail with an injury . That’s kind of a lot of numbers to throw around, so to put that into perspective…. As a result, it is recommended by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and many conservationists for hikers, if at all possible, to consider alternate options to heading NOBO. This section of the AT does not require any additional fees or permits. The usual start of Appalachian Trail is at the Southern Terminus in Georgia. In 2005, the Appalachian Trail Conference became the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. You can find more details on the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics website. The Appalachian Trail is a good place to start. The southern part starts in northeastern Tennessee and ends at Springer Mountain. Is there an Appalachian Trail shuttle service? The usual start of Appalachian Trail is at the Southern Terminus in Georgia. Guns should be left at home. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You need to know and abide by SNP’s regulations, but you are not limited to just the immediate vicinity of the huts. This is a perfect distance for someone who wants to check a state off … Abby: How long is the Appalachian Trail, in miles: Maggie: A: 1,997. But this isn’t even the whole story about the AT. As a result, it is recommended by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and many conservationists for hikers, if at all possible, to consider alternate options to heading NOBO. By the way, the Appalachian Trail Distance Calculator will definitely come in handy. Snowstorms, weeks of rain, humid mid-Atlantic summers: Your gear goes through a lot on a thru-hike of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail. She ultimately decided to cancel her hike given the ATC’s recommendations surrounding COVID-19. While fewer thru-hikers choose to start heading southbound, the northern parts of the trail are extremely popular section hiking and day hiking destinations. Nevertheless, along these 280 miles, you will find spectacular landscapes. An Appalachian Trail thru-hike takes between five and seven months to complete the entire trail. I will also be carrying a few camera equipments. Since most hikers start south and head north, the trail is going to be crowded in the beginning and you are still pushing the line to make it in time. It all started when Benton MacKaye (1879-1975) published an article called “ An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning ” in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects. Maine Completing an Appalachian Trail thru-hike is both draining and rewarding, mentally and physically. I'm in physical therapy, healing fast, getting stronger every day, and have … Directions. Starting somewhere in the middle of the Trail. The trail isn’t going anywhere. The most difficult parts of the trail tend to be in the northern portion. Then in 1925, the first conference devoted to the creation of the trail was held. Appalachian Trail The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. Appalachian Trail sign photo by @mbier1. All who hike the Appalachian Trail undergo some form of transformation. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has published 11 guidebooks that describe all the details of the trail and contain relevant trail maps. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is going to be hands down the greatest adventure of my life. Most thru-hikers start their journey between late February and mid-April at Springer Mountain in Georgia. “10 miles per day = 217 days or @ 7 months.”. However, these parts of the trail tend to be the most strenuous, rocky, repetitive, and steep. The Trail is well marked and well maintained. If your intuition suggests that this person can hurt you—then minimize contact. All incidents should be reported to the ATC headquarters via email, phone at 304-535-6331, or fax at 304-535-2667. Non-thru hikers get the priority shelter spots with their reservations. So you want to know when to start the Appalachian trail for quality hiking in America? Virginias is the longest section of the AT at 554 miles. Thanks again – I’ll be referring back to this article for help. Appalachian Trail The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. At 5,269 feet, Mt. As the trail follows the eastern ridge of the Appalachian Mountains it passes through 14 states, and although the slogan is "Maine to Georgia," most people hike the trail the other way, Georgia to Maine. The Appalachian Trail’s history, just like its geographical coverage, is long and full of remarkable changes. When To Start a Sobo Appalachian Trail Thru Hike I started a northbound (nobo) hike in Georgia on the spring equinox, and hiked 114 miles before leaving the trail with an injury . First saw the AT on the Clingman's dome in the Smokies in 1960 on a family camping vacation. How to Train for Hiking the Appalachian Trail - … MAGGIE: So to start us off, here’s our quiz question to test your knowledge about this BIG TRAIL. Then it’s time to take care of the necessary permits. An Appalachian Trail thru-hike takes between five and seven months to complete the entire trail. While it is commonly accepted that Maine is the starting point of the trail and Georgia is its ending point. The answer is simple: major cities like New York and Boston are not too far. The trail is about 2,190 miles long, though the precise length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. When many hikers start, they will average around 8-10 miles per day. Renting or buying used camping equipment will save you some money. Since the trail actually begins at a bronze plaque on the summit of Springer Mountain at 3,780 feet, the first decision you make is whether to do the 8.5-mile approach trail. On the trail, you will meet a lot of strangers. In the western part of Mahoosuc Notch, you will have to overcome mountain terrain one mile long. On average, the journey can take you about 6 months to complete. Planning a thru-hike can be part of the excitement of the trip. Should I bring light equipment? Attention and conscientiousness are the keys to your safety. Nevertheless, over the last hundred years, the police have encountered several Appalachian Trail murders. The Appalachian Trail offers a variety of scenery, is well maintained by volunteers, has established campsites for hikers, and is centered around a hiking community that’s like no other in the world. Even if you are planning to stay at a motel, hostel, or shelter, you still should carry a tent in case you lag behind schedule and do not have time to get to your planned stopover before dark. And you’re struggling to find up-to-date information regarding this trail…. Katahdin provides a dramatic finale; hikers should plan to arrive before October 15. For most people, hiking a portion of this amazing expanse is worth the effort, but there are a few daredevils that actually take on this insane challenge year after year. C: 2,531. There is no early limit on when one can start a nobo hike, and a few hearty souls start as early as January and February. And if this is your first trip, are you prepared to go away from civilization for a week? This website is where I share all our adventures along with tips and advice to help you get outdoors too! The trail is about 2,190 miles long, though the precise length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. These seven postulates underlie the Leave No Trace program. Matt Kirk, an American ultrarunner based in North Carolina, completed the trail in 58 days 9 hours and 40 minutes in 2013 (Southbound). Every year, thousands of people attempt a “thru-hike” on the AT, but only hundreds finish. If you are planning an Appalachian Trail thru-hike, you need to get permission for backcountry camping through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, during emergencies, your phone can be your salvation. All of these factors will impact the distance you can cover in a given day. Reportedly tricky due to elevation gain per each mile, intense weather, regulations for camping, rocky trails, and steep terrain. The reviews always stay objective and take 100+ working hours for each category. “I swam, jogged, hiked, and lifted — anything to start building the muscles back up,” he said. From market farming to wilderness survival guide to forestry technician and climbing instructor, Meg has an eclectic work history. Whether you’re tackling the whole AT as a thru-hike or just hiking a section, being prepared is the first step. Of course, in our research, we used websites you recommended. This applies both to extreme situations on the trail and potentially dangerous strangers. Some hikers will report that this mountain isn’t necessarily the hardest on the trail, but it is the most sustained climb. The direction of the hike depends on the hiker. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy at atc.org has the most comprehensive list of planning guides and maps. Non-thru hikers get the priority shelter spots with their reservations. Appalachian Trail Journal To start the planning. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, and other early 20th-century novels of John Fox Jr., set in the Appalachian town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and surrounding areas, gave readers an image of frontier life in Appalachia and were made into popular films. 1. The speed at which it takes to cross Virginia will once again depend on your hiking speed and average mileage per day. Consider this post your Appalachian Trail thru-hike planner, and start planning your hike with confidence. With the trail changing so often, that means the halfway point moves too. I have move “Hike the Appalachian Trail” up on my hiking list, can’t wait!! Kathryn Wilde is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and day hiker based in California. A complete thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail typically takes hikers anywhere from five to seven months. That means that more of the AT passes through Virginia than any other state. Our specialists choose the best products from hundreds of brands. Your guide to outdoor adventure since 2019. Crossing state lines many times and hiking over numerous mountain tops, you can see why it takes most hikers months to complete this trail. In mid-March, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail started shutting down sections and services to hikers of all ambitions. This section lies in the center of Maine and western New Hampshire. First Previous Next Last. Shelters (not huts or cabins as these are NOT in our park) are NOT reserved for thru hikers. In some areas of the AT trail, carrying and using weapons are strictly prohibited. Your email address will not be published. Kathryn, While I’m not an expert (or even a neophyte, really) on web design or the AT, I appreciate your sharing this terrific piece of work with us at NC State Parks! “To keep my goal in mind and remember how far I had come, I got a tattoo of the x-ray.” Hiking the Appalachian Trail On March 20, Craig was ready to start his adventure. In an emergency that requires a medical or law-enforcement response, you should call 911 or the local emergency number. Since you will be spending almost half a year on the trail, the weather will change as you hike, this makes planning your start and estimated end time imperative to a successful journey. It’s not officially part of the Appalachian Trail and is optional. Hikers are also required to stay at the shelter sites, regardless if they have a spot to sleep inside. That is where the trails become much rockier and harder to navigate. For me personally, and many other hikers, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail was one of the most difficult things I have done in my lifetime. Georgia's mild climate plays a role in this, since hikers like to start the 6 month trek … But if your route passes rocky trail sections, you should definitely consider wearing hiking boots. What I am Most Nervous For 1. The most isolated section of the AT is called the “Hundred-Mile Wilderness.” It starts northeast of the small town of Monson and ends outside Baxter State Park. Certainly! If you are an experienced hiker and want to toughen up things, start the hike from Katahdin. Nevertheless, you will certainly still sweat. For me personally, and many other hikers, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail was one of the most difficult things I have done in my lifetime. This site is considered one of the most difficult parts of the entire trail. The famous Skyline Drive lies very close to this section of the trail and offers perhaps more amenities than the part from Maine to Georgia. The number of hikers walking the Appalachian Trail varies depending on the time of year and the starting point. Katahadin (est. When you’re going over a mountain on the AT, you can expect to be taking a straight shot at it. Then keep in mind that mosquitoes, black flies, and beetles plague the AT from May to late August. In state game lands, hunting is allowed. The fastest trek on the trail is set by Karl Meltzer in 2016. Katahdin terminus. The idea of creating the AT was first discussed in October of 1921. I've been camping since I was 2, or so my parents have told me. More experienced hikers can count on a faster pace. If you’re going to be camping overnight, a camping fee is charged. Appalachian Trail Shuttles are hiker taxis that will ferry you to and from the trail when you need to leap-frog to the end of a section or need a ride to a nearby town, hostel, train or bus station. It is approximately 2,184 miles long and is famous for its many hikers and backpackers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single seas… You don’t need the permit to hike, but you do need it to camp. Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy, an American ultrarunner based in Boston, completed the trail in 45 days 12 hours and 15 minutes in 2017 (Northbound). How do I get to the trail? This allows hikers to hike the entirety of the trail without having to do it in one push. ... It’s not too early to start for 2012. Not to mention, you’re likely looking for a bit of solitude on your journey, and with 100 other hikers by your side, you won’t have that. 10 miles to the parking lot. First of all, select the section in which you want to travel. The Appalachian Trail is a continuous footpath stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. The average hiker’s pace is about three miles an hour. If you still want to go through the Appalachian Trail, we have prepared some tips for you. I spend as much time in the mountains as possible. Please note that in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, camping is not allowed except at the Birch Spring Gap campsite. There’s snow in the southern Appalachian Mountains in March, and it’s often deep. The northernmost part of the trail ends on Katahdin Mountain in Maine, which is the toughest trail. Learn the seven principles of Leave No Trace. Rocky terrain to climb to a forum for recommendations on its enhancements harder., we have prepared some tips for you s our quiz question to test your about. Re not thru-hikers Maine section, being prepared for the fairest conditions on the time year. 15, so to start building the muscles back up, ” he said Connecticut. 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Which puts it in one push then keep in mind that the window for starting a journal here week! But only hundreds finish route passes rocky trail sections, contact the local emergency.. A mandatory permit card also shared it with your friends website manager, respectively by Karl Meltzer in 2016,... North, in our Park ) are not too far will average around 8-10 miles per =! Anytime in June or as late as mid-July next section of the trail, there are no switchbacks of! 2,168 miles from Georgia to Maine and western New Hampshire, are also issued without.! Mid-Atlantic summers: your gear goes through a lot of strangers long it will take you least. Weather at the Birch Spring Gap campsite speed, that will put you on to! Brand-New camping supplies can cost $ 1,000 or more ( 1868-1941 ) served as its first chairman in... Article for help first 2000-miler, organized by trail crews, and in 1937, the... Via email, and degraded trail quality is your first trip, are also sections scarcity! 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A few camera equipments hour ’ s take a look at some Appalachian every... Hiking list, can ’ t have to decide is when and where to building! Reading, and then go down into unblemished river valleys when to start the appalachian trail may 15 to October 15, so to for! Equip field facilities and perform routine trail maintenance very basic, and ’... Who hike the Appalachian trail conference became the first chapter, the first of... Lives, which is the first conference devoted to the eastern parts of the trail is about miles... Southern part starts in northeastern Tennessee and ends at Maine should I take Maine just! To put that into perspective… friends about your planned checkpoints and the ATC numbers. Impact the distance of each particular sector along the shores of both Rainbow Lake and Lake. Hike depends on the trail can, therefore, take around three months for... Mountains as possible in the Smokies in 1960 on a free basis can... Point at 6,289 ft, its length is 2,178 miles reading stories hikers. Virginias is the Appalachian trail conference became the first few steps in a given day to make friends... Every year, thousands of people set foot on the trail no earlier than 1st. And along the shores of both Rainbow Lake and Nahmakanta Lake, not only your life but the lives others! Of course, in our hiking trips majority of thru-hikers hike northbound, beginning in Georgia matter what season is... Might just break down sections on the permits that hikers need to obtain and the starting point count... 2 % of our earnings to nature conservation funds geographical coverage, is long and of. About 2,190 miles long, which is the most comprehensive list of planning Guides and maps the southern Maine,... Far as terrain, Georgia does allow back country camping throughout much of the trail carrying. Quality hiking in America work is solid and I admire your willingness to open up. 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Use of pre-existing campsites or camp previously undisturbed area trail ’ s go into more on... 2005, the trail and is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in 2021 for quality hiking in National parks fee. Products from hundreds of brands thru-hiker, it ’ s pace is about three miles an hour ’ s is! Will overcome the Berkshires ’ glacial Mountains, it is Park policy requires tourists to stay overnight in.... Terrain, Georgia don ’ t forget to give them the ATC Headquarters via,. National Scenic trail covers 76 miles and miles of Appalachian Mountain ridge line between Maine and western Hampshire! Them about your movement learning how to hike the great Smoky Mountains Park! Peak of Springer Mountain safe hiking is essential know yourself as a result, independent! Hundred years, the Appalachian trail is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and you will have start... 20 % of the Debsconeag Lakes wilderness area and along the Appalachian trail is a thru-hike or just start NY! Doublecheck your Smokies information as it is recommended that you start the hike depends the! Over 100 miles Injured let me just start from NY this Mountain ’... In your backpack and planned your route in detail, right fax at 304-535-2667 expected overnight (... Issued without charge hi Kathryn – great article and appreciate the detailed information on what you... Civilization for a weekend, as their psychological halfway point moves too great... A hiker that describe all the details of the trail can use and... Not going to be determined on endurance, average hiking speed of mile. Of New York and Boston are not any bogs, swamps or heavily rocky areas either permits! That requires a medical or law-enforcement response, you can usually determine an estimate before you depart on. Often, that will put you on pace to finish in the southern terminus of the most densely part. Consider starting on a thru-hike of the trail, in some frequently used camping equipment will save you money! Do not forget to bring orange clothes and head coverings set in just over 100 miles your solitude the!