In This Article
I wrote a book about how to prepare for an AT thru-hike. As you might imagine, I came across many Appalachian Trail resources in the process. I don’t claim this list is complete, but I believe it is the most comprehensive one online. Regardless of your experience, I’d be surprised if you can’t find something new here to interest you. If you feel I have neglected anything significant, please leave a comment.
Also note that this list used to contain general hiking-related resources as well, but since I have now created a separate list of PCT resources, I decided to keep this one dedicated to AT resources and have created another general hiking resources page. Please check that out to make sure you don’t miss anything that can help you prepare for your thru-hike.
NOTE: All links will open in a new tab or window.
|Last Updated: November 19, 2023|
About the Trail
- 10 famous Appalachian Trail hikers by Laura Moss | Mother Nature Network
- 21 Appalachian Trail Statistics That Will Surprise, Entertain and Inform You by Zach Davis | REI
- 21 Fascinating Appalachian Trail Facts by Kenny Howell | The Trek
- 55 Men, Women and Grandfathers by Peggy Thomson | New York Times
- An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning by Benton MacKaye
- A Privy is a Privy is a Privy, or is it? | Green Mountain Club
- A Quick and Dirty Guide to the Appalachian Trail by Paul Mags
AppalachianTrail.com is an informational resource devoted to the world’s longest hiking-only trail – the Appalachian Trail. From various wildlife you might encounter on the Trail—to the best movies featuring the AT—we have it covered. You can read other hiker’s stories, discover the highest peaks, famous places and attractions on the Appalachian Trail, and research communities along the way. We strive to be your all-everything reference when planning your AT hike and learning about the history of the trail.
- Appalachian Trail Days
- Appalachian Trail Shelters by Chris Cage | Greenbelly Meals
A complete list of shelters, an interactive map, coordinates, distances, and all frequently asked questions related to the A.T. shelters.
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail | Wikipedia
- A.T. Hiking Rates, Section by Section is a statistical look at thru-hikers for the 2001-2010 hiking seasons.
- ATC – 2000 miler application form
- ATC – Explore by State
- ATC – Thru-Hiker Registration Charts
- ATC – Permits and Regulations
- Average elevation change per section by u/nerkal3 | Reddit
- Cool Places to Stumble Across on the Southern A.T. and Cool Places to Stumble Across on the Northern A.T. by AppalachianTrailClarity
- Examining the Thru-Hiker Dropout Rate: Survey Results by Mariposa | The Trek
- Explore the Appalachian Trail in 3D with this tool from BACKPACKER. Experience dozens of the A.T.’s best views, peaks, and towns, travel to Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks, and discover BACKPACKER readers’ favorite spots (share your own and they’ll add it to the map). By the time you get to Katahdin, you may just be ready to lace up your trail runners and quit your job.
- Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Hike The Appalachian Trail by Robert Moor
- International Appalachian Trail (IAT) | Wikipedia
- Map Of The Appalachian Trail by David “Rainmaker” Mauldin
- Permits and fees summary
- The 2022 AT Thru-Hiker Survey: General Information | The Trek
- This Is What Happens to Your Body on a Thru-Hike
- Trail Slang for the Appalachian Trail | WhiteBlaze (Litesmith has a similar list)
- What Are the Steepest Climbs on the AT, PCT, and CDT? by Ryan Linn | The Trek
- Which Triple Crown Trail is Best: Choosing Your Next Long Hike by Eloise Robbins | The Trek
|Trail||Miles||Elevation gain in feet (NOBO)|
|GA & NC||241.5||58635|
|NC & TN||229.2||54203|
|PA & MD||270.5||37638|
|NJ, NY & CT||228.2||42169|
|MA & VT||227.0||48550|
Advice and Tips
- 6 Reasons a Flip-Flop Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail Is the Right Way To Go by Richard “Crossword” Guenther | The Trek
- Appalachian Trail gear lists and surveys | The Trek
Appalachian Trail Maintaining Clubs
ALDHA maintains a spreadsheet of trail maintaining clubs as well.
- Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
- Nantahala Hiking Club
- Smokey Mountains Hiking Club
- Carolina Mountain Club
- Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club
- Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club
- Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers
- Virginia Tech Outing Club
- Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club
- Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club
- Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club
- Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club
- Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
- Mountain Club of Maryland
- Allentown Hiking Club
- Appalachian Mountain Club Delaware Valley Chapter
- Batona Hiking Club
- Blue Mountain Eagle Hiking Club
- Chester County Trail Club
- Philadelphia Trail Club
- Wilmington Trail Club
- Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club
- Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club
- York Hiking Club
- New York – New Jersey Trail Conference
- Appalachian Mountain Club – Connecticut Chapter
- Appalachian Mountain Club – Berkshire Chapter
- Green Mountain Club
- Dartmouth Outing Club
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- Maine Appalachian Trail Club
AT-focused Blogs and Websites
- Alan Strackeljahn did a series of posts covering his 1983 hike on the Appalachian Trail FB group. (the link will open the FB group with the search term “Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal”).
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Jonathan Clement did a series of posts chronicling his 1974 AT thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail FB group. (the link will open the FB group with the search term “AT Diary Entry”).
- Postholer has forums, a planning tool, two mobile apps (one free, one paid), an interactive Google Maps trail map, and journals about the Appalachian Trail.
- Reddit Appalachian Trail Subreddit
- /r/AppalachianTrail FAQ (Google Doc)
- The Hiker Yearbook ($59) is a photographic record of individual Appalachian Trail hikers.
- The Trek is a site dedicated to long-distance hiking. Especially useful is the How to Hike the AT 101 Guide, and the various gear lists and surveys.
- Trail Days official website
- Where Are The Hikers? attempts to predict hiker activity along the Appalachian Trail throughout the year. The visualizations on this site are generated from the locations and dates contained in the Trail Journals entries of Appalachian Trail hikers from 2001-2016. The data is not limited to thru-hikers only; it visualizes all warm bodies on the trail for each day of the year, whether they’re thru, section, or day hikers.
- A Different Existence by Cole W. Burke
- A Road More or Less Traveled: Madcap Adventures Along the Appalachian Trail by Stephen Otis, Colin Roberts, et al.
- A Season on the Appalachian Trail: An American Odyssey by Lynn Setzer
- A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
- Appalachian Hiker: Adventure of a Lifetime by Edward B. Garvey
- Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-Year Hike on America’s Trail by Jeffrey H. Ryan
- Appalachian Trail Happiness by Michael “Rev” Kane
- Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Planner by David Lauterborn
- Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis
- As Far As the Eye Can See: Reflections of an Appalachian Trail Hiker by David Brill
- AT Last: an Appalachian Trail Trek by “That Older Couple” by Brenda & Charlie Quesenberry
- AWOL On the Appalachian Trail by David “AWOL” Miller
- Backpacking with Jesus: “Its not Always about the Hike, But more about the Journey” by Stephen D. Dean
- Balancing on Blue: A Thru-Hiking Adventure on the Appalachian Trail by Keith Foskett
- Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis
- Between a Rock and a White Blaze: Searching for Significance on the Appalachian Trail by Julie Urbanski
- Blind Courage by Bill Irwin
- Breakfast with Salamanders: Seasons On The Appalachian Trail by Alan Richardson
- Chicas on the Appalachian Trail: Women-Specific Tips for Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail and Conversations with Badass Women Hikers by Jen Beck Seymour
- Dancing with the Mountains: Alzheimer’s, Angels, and the Appalachian Trails: A Journey of Spirit by Paul Travers
- Dead Men Hike No Trails by Rick McKinney
- Discovering the Appalachian Trail: A Guide to the Trail’s Greatest Hikes by Joshua Niven and Amber Adams Niven
- Easily the Hardest Thing I’ve Done: My Appalachian Trail Experience by Logan Bridgeman
- Free Outside: A Trek Against Time and Distance by Jeff Garmire
- Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
- Hear the Challenge – Hike the Appalachian Trail: A mental, physical, and informational prep to hiking the AT by Kyle Rohrig
- Hiker Trash: Notes, Sketches, and Other Detritus from the Appalachian Trail by Sarah Kaizar (Author), Nicholas Reichard (Photographer)
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail (2 volume set) by James R.Hare
- Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul V. Stutzman
- Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman
- Hitch’s Story by Paul Pierpoint
- How the WILD EFFECT Turned Me into a Hiker at 69: An Appalachian Trail Adventure by Jane Congdon
- How to Hike the Appalachian Trail: A Comprehensive Guide to Plan and Prepare for a Successful Thru-Hike by Chris Cage
- How To Hike The A.T.: The Nitty-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek by Michelle Ray
- In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60 by Leslie Mass
- In the Real World I Hike: Transformation of Purpose and Self in Five Million Easy Steps by Michael “SY” Sisemore
- I Quit My Job and Hiked the Appalachian Trail by Michael “Mountain Goat” Falduto
- Just Passin’ Thru: A Vintage Store, the Appalachian Trail, and a Cast of Unforgettable Characters by Winton Porter
- Katahdin: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Reckless Abandon by Mr Kevin E Newsome
- Katahdin or Bust: Increasing Your Odds of Enjoying Hiking and Backpacking by Gail Hinshaw
- Last Man to Katahdin by Rick Savard
- Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail by Roland Mueser
- Lost on the Appalachian Trail by Kyle Rohrig
- Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail by Heather “Anish” Anderson
- My Appalachian Trial I: Three Weddings and a Sabbatical by Steve Adams
- My Appalachian Trial II: Creaking Geezer, Hidden Flagon by Steve Adams
- No Parents No Horses No Bedtime by Tucker Atwood (Rosebud) (2019 AT memoir) (Read an excerpt)
- Northbound With Theo: A Man and His Dog Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail at Ages 75 and 8 by Soren West
- Northbounders: 2,186 Miles of Friendship by Karen Lord Rutter
- On The Beaten Path: An Appalachian Trail Pilgrimage by Robert Alden Rubin
- On the Trail with Chappy Jack: Devotions for the Path You’re On by Jack Layfield
- Only When I Step On It: One Man’s Inspiring Journey to Hike The Appalachian Trail Alone by Peter Conti
- Outbreak In The Woods: Thru-Hiking During a Worldwide Pandemic by Ryan Michael Beck
- Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner by Jeffrey “Loner” Gray
- Platinum-Blazing the Appalachian Trail: How to Thru-hike in 3-Star Luxury by Bruce (“RTK”) Matson
- Pushing North: Tame the Mind, Savor the Journey by Trey Free
- Rethinking Life on the Appalachian Trail: The 2008 Thru-hike of “Rethinker” by Gary Bond
- Returning to Katahdin: A Thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail by Bruce (“RTK”) Matson
- Sauntering Thru: Lessons in Ambition, Minimalism, and Love on the Appalachian Trail by Cody James Howell PhD
- Sir Fob W. Pot’s Journey to Katahdin (Volume 1, Volume 2) by Steve Johnson
- Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker
- Sojourn in the Wilderness: A Seven Month Journey on the Appalachian Trail by Kenneth Wadness
- Sole Searching on the Appalachian Trail by Sam Ducharme
- Stumbling Thru: Hike Your Own Hike by A. Digger Stolz
- Stumbling Thru: Keepin’ On Keepin’ On by A. Digger Stolz
- Tales from the Trail: Stories from the Oldest Hiker Hostel on the Appalachian Trail by Sherry Blackman
- Take a Thru-Hike: Dixie’s How-To Guide for Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Jessica “Dixie” Mills
- Take the Path of Most Resistance: How the Appalachian Trail Saved Me from the Sixties and Taught Me Everything You Need to Know by David Hiscoe
- Tales from the Trail: Stories from the Oldest Hiker Hostel on the Appalachian Trail by Sherry Blackman
- Ten Million Steps: Nimblewill Nomad’s Epic 10-Month Trek from the Florida Keys to Québec by M. J. Eberhart
- The Adventures of the Barefoot Sisters: Book 1: Southbounders by Lucy Letcher and Susan Letcher
- The Adventures of the Barefoot Sisters: Book 2: Walking Home by Lucy Letcher and Susan Letcher
- The Appalachian Trail: A Biography by Philip D’Anieri
- The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-Tos, and Huts by Sarah Jones Decker
- The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back to the Hills by Earl Shaffer
- The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail by Brian King and Bill Bryson
- The Appalachian Trail Food Planner: Second Edition: Recipes and Menus for a 2,000-Mile Hike by Lou Adsmond
- The Appalachian Trail Hiker: Proven Advice for Hikes of Any Length by Victoria and Frank Logue
- The Appalachian Trail Reader by David Emblidge
- The Appalachian Trail Workbook for Planning Thru-Hikes (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail) by Christopher Whalen
- The Don’s Brother Method: How I Thru-Hiked the Appalachian Trail and Rarely Slept in the Woods by Mike Stephens
- The Good Hike: A Story of the Appalachian Trail, Vietnam, PTSD, and Love by Tim Keenan
- The Mountains Called and We Went: The Trail Looked So Flat On the Map by Angela James
- The Path: Hiking the Appalachian Trail in 8 Steps by Craig Stiver
- The Things You Find on the Appalachian Trail: A Memoir of Discovery, Endurance and a Lazy Dog by Kevin Runolfson
- The Thru-hikers Planning Guide by Dan “Wingfoot” Bruce
- The Trail by Meika Hashimoto
- The Trail Is Ours: A Father and Son’s Appalachian Trail Thru-hike by Scott C. Durkin
- The Trail is the Teacher: Living and Learning on the Appalachian Trail by Clay Bonnyman Evans
- The Unlikely Thru-Hiker by Derick Lugo
- The Unseen Trail: The Story of a Blind Hiker’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail by Michael O. Hanson
- Then the Hail Came by George Steffanos (online book)
- There Are Mountains to Climb: An Inspirational Journey by Jean Deeds
- This Wild Land: Two Decades of Adventure as a Park Ranger in the Shadow of Katahdin by Andrew Vietze
- Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the heart on the Appalachian Trail by Dennis R. Blanchard
- Through Hiker’s Eyes: A Journey Along the Appalachian Trail: Part One: Springer Fever by Lawrence Alexander
- Trail Magic by Louis R Agoston Jr.
- Thru: An Appalachian Trail Love Story by Richard Judy
- Thru Hiking The Appalachian Trail: 100 Tips, Tricks, Traps and Facts by Jen Beck Seymour and Greg Seymour
- Trailside Guide: Hiking and Backpacking by Karen Berger
- Triple Crown Diary: Appalachian Trail by Thomas Hogeboom
- Unlost: A journey of self-discovery and the healing power of the wild outdoors by Gail Muller
- Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail: A Story of War, Brotherhood, and the Pursuit of Truth by N. B. Hankes
- Walking on the Wild Side: Long-Distance Hiking on the Appalachian Trail by Kristi M. Fondren
- Walkin’ On The Happy Side of Misery: A Slice of Life on the Appalachian Trail by J.R. “Model-T” Tate
- Walkin’ with the Ghost Whisperers: Lore and Legends of the Appalachian Trail by J. R. “Model-T” Tate
- Walking North: A Family Walks the Appalachian Trail by Mic Lowther
- Walking the Appalachian Trail by Larry Luxenberg
- Walking to Maine: A Scoutmaster’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail by Glenn Justis
- Walking with Spring by Earl Shaffer
- We’re Off to See the Wilderness, the Wonderful Wilderness of Awes: A Hiker’s 2000-Mile Adventure by M.E. “Postcard” Hughes
- When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee
- Where’s the Next Shelter? by Gary Sizer
- Whistler’s Walk: The Appalachian Trail in 142 Days by William Monk
- Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail by Leonard M. Adkins (Author), Joe Cook (Photographer), Monica Sheppard (Photographer)
- ZOBY: Small Dog, Big Adventures: On The Appalachian Trail by Tonya “Monarch” Lonsbury
- Thru-Hiker Dogs is a Facebook group for those planning to hike with their dog
- The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has a useful page that covers issues concerning dogs on the trail
- Hiking with Fido by Tom Grenell
- So you think you want to thru-hike by Steve Lund | Backcountry
- Dogs and The Smokies: What You Need to Know by Stacia Bennett | The Trek
Each year will have at least one thru-hiker class group so search for your year and join (try “Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers Class of 20XX”).
Other Facebook groups:
- Appalachian Trail
- Appalachian Trail Europe
- Appalachian Trail Hostels, Lodges, and B&Bs
- Appalachian Trail – Hostels – Lodges – B&B’s – Hot Spots
- Appalachian Trail – Loud, Proud & in Color
- Appalachian Trail Motivation Page
- Appalachian Trail Section-hikers
- Appalachian Trail Thru Hiking Food
- Appalachian Trail: Women’s Group
- AT Hiker Supporters (for parents and supporters of thru-hikers)
- Trail Days Ride Board (for rides to and from Damascus, VA for Trail Days and to offer rides)
Guidebooks, Maps and Apps
There are two Appalachian Trail guides used by the vast majority of all thru-hikers: AWOL (paper, PDF) and FarOut (mobile app). I list those below, but there are others that might interest you as well. For other resources that cover multiple long-distance trails, see my general hiking resources page.
- 2023 AT Hiking Information. Hostels, Shuttles, Permits, and Much More! by Hoosier Hikes | Reddit
- ALDHA Thru Hiker’s Companion is the only official ATC guidebook for thru-hikers, section-hikers and day-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. It contains a mountain’s worth of information and data on shelters, water sources, town services, and other hiker-oriented facilities along the trail. The information is compiled and published every year by ALDHA volunteers—many of them long-traveled veterans of the A.T.—with valuable input from the staff of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It contains up-to-the-minute knowledge of the A.T. from current hikers and trail maintainers and provides essential information on hiker-oriented services on and near the trail.
Price: A PDF version is included with ALDHA membership ($10) or you can order a print version for $14.95
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail (APPA) Interactive Webapp
This webapp shows the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and primary features associated with it. It includes the treadway, associated side trails, parking areas, shelters, campsites, privies, scenic vistas, and Trail Club sections along the Appalachian Trail. The primary intent is to serve as a general reference tool for the public.
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy Guides and Maps
- Appalachian Trail Database (the “ATDB”) is a geographical dictionary collecting trail mileage, position, and elevation for over 500 A.T. Waypoints, including: Trail Shelters, Post Offices, Features, and Hostels. You can use the database as an aid for detailed planning of A.T. section and thru hikes or simply to browse Appalachian Trail features and resources. (NOTE: I believe this was last updated in 2006)
- Appalachian Trail Data Book consolidates the most basic information from 11 detailed official guide books into a lightweight table of distances between major Appalachian Trail shelters, road-crossings, and features. It is divided according to the guidebook volumes and updated each December to account for Trail relocations, new (or removed) shelters, and other changes. In addition to codes for lodging, food, water, and other essentials, the Data Book is keyed to both the individual guidebook sections and to the separate maps.
- Appalachian Trail Elevation Profile Map Sets (pocket profile, 0.14 oz. | 4 g each map)
Price: $80.82 for entire set
- Appalachian Trail Interactive Map | The Trek
- Appalachian Trail Mileage Chart by Dwhike | SummitPost
This is a listing of points of interest along the trail with their NOBO mile number. The information comes from 2009, so it is quite outdated. What makes it still worth consideration is that (1) it is free and (2) there are links to many of the points of interest that provide unique content about them from SummitPost.
- The A.T. Guide (still called AWOL’s Guide but AWOL sold it) is the most popular guidebook on the Appalachian Trail. It has all the info you need for hikes of any length on the A.T., and is especially strong for town information (including maps of the main towns you will pass or come close to along with hostel, restaurant, resupply, and shuttle options for each). It also lists a profile (including elevations) of the entire trail and lists all shelters. There are two versions, NOBO and SOBO, and you can buy hard copy, loose leaf, and PDF versions. For more information, check out Follow Bigfoot’s YouTube review of it.
AWOL also offers 12, 15 and 18 miles per day plans that you can downloading as Excel spreadsheets (and which I have included in my Appalachian Trail Planning, Resupply & POI Google spreadsheet)
Price: $15.95 for paper or loose-leaf, $13.45 for PDF.
- Gaia GPS Smartphone App can replace a standalone GPS device.
Price: $20 per year (follow Adventure Alan’s link and get 20% off).
- Google Maps of Appalachian Trail
- FarOut Guides (formerly called Guthook) is a fantastic mobile and Web app. If you download the maps, it works offline with GPS (which you can toggle on and off while using and which turns off when you close the app or your phone). It also occasionally updates the content whenever you are connected to data (auto update is a setting to toggle). Different icons are used to indicate points of interest (called waypoints, e.g., full, half full, or empty water drop to signify the presence of water and how reliable the source is). You can choose which sections and which types of maps as well as comments and photos to download, so if your phone is memory constricted this can help. There are three types of maps available: topo (three sources to choose from), Google street (street, satellite, terrain, or hybrid), and USGS offline satellite. The Google option will also show useful things off the trail, which is helpful for when you plan to go into town if you won’t have mobile data working. You can also register a free account which will let you add comments, but this is not required. There are so many useful features (e.g., ability to toggle between map view, an elevation profile map, and a list view of all or selected waypoints) that you might want to see online reviews to get a better feel for them. Follow Bigfoot has a useful video review of the Guthook app as does Michael K Davis. Finally, note that both versions are good, but iOS has better features than the Android version.
Price: The app itself is free but you must pay for the trail contents, either by section (there are nine total) or for slightly less money ($60) you can buy the entire trail as a bundle (recommended). One big plus is that updates are free forever. The approach trail is included for free so you can play with it to see how the app works before you decide to purchase. Note that there is usually one or two significant sales (20-25% off) each year so if you are planning ahead, monitor the FB groups or signup for their newsletter to hear about these sales.
- Hanover (NH) and Norwich (VT) Appalachian Trail Hiker’s Guide
- Map of the Appalachian Trail by u/Puzzled-Sherbet-7850 | Reddit
- National Geographic – Trails Illustrated Appalachian Trail and Wall maps
Price: 13 A.T. section maps @ $14.95 each or the complete bundle for $149.95; wall map of the entire trail for $16.95.
- Noam Gal’s offline maps for use with the Backcountry Navigator or OruxMaps apps.
- Postholer Appalachian Trail Pocket Maps and Trail GPS App
Price: The Android app and trails is $9.99; there are three paper map volumes – southern A.T. ($32.86), central A.T. ($30.98), and northern A.T. ($32.86)
- Postholer interactive Google Maps trail map lets you toggle various points of interest (mile markers, roads, resupply points, weather, fire info, terrain, and cellular coverage).
- Postholer Wall app is designed to communicate trail information in a very timely manner. Features include: Water Reports (send water reports while you’re standing at the source), Trail Reports (send a trail report so the folks who maintain the trail can respond promptly), and Trail Chatter (find out what your hiking buddies are up to, regardless of their place on the trail).
NOTE: I am not sure how this is different from their paid Android app.
- Spotted on Trail (iOS, Android) is an app guidebook on the flora and fauna that live along the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail. There are mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, trees, and flowers. Included, are summaries of each species and the app allows you to document where you were when you found the species. [REF]
- WhiteBlaze Pages is a newer guidebook, around since 2017. It looks to be similar to the ALDHA Companion and the A.T. Guide.
Price: $10 (PDF $5).
- Wikitrail.org is a project to create a free, complete, and up-to-date guide for the Appalachian Trail, including a Google map of the trail, a distance calculator, a planning tool, and lists of towns, trailheads, resupply points, and maildrop locations.
Hiker Reports and Analysis
Below are online summaries or analysis of thru-hikes I have come across. If you know of others, please let me know.
- 2015 thru-hike summary Infographic by Sara “Stretch” Duoma
- 2017 thru-hike stats and expenses by Ounce
- 2019 Thru-hike summary Google spreadsheet by Adam Boggs (Storm Chaser)
- Analyzing My Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike — Expenses and Statistics by Jeff Blum
- AT Budget | What did I spend on my thru hike? by Aron Goss (OG Hikes) | YouTube
- Earl Shaffer’s Appalachian Trail Hike Diary, 1948
Join Earl Shaffer in his hike over the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in 1948. Follow Shaffer through transcribing his trail diary that detailed the trails he hiked, forged and documented as well as events the daily events of his travel.
- Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Hike The Appalachian Trail by Robert Moor | BuzzFeed
- How Much Does It COST to Hike The Appalachian Trail? — Actual Credit Card Statement! by PackAndSoul | YouTube
- How much I spent on my thru-hike by u/Ok_Tailor_5382 | Reddit
- Shane O’Donnell shared a Facebook note with a detailed breakdown of his 2015 costs and mileage averages.
- Shotgun’s 2021 thru-hike stats (Google spreadsheet)
- The 2021 AT Hiker Survey: General Information by Joal and Jenny | The Trek
- The Hard and Fast Numbers of the Appalachian Trail by Carl Stanfield | The Trek
- Top Tents and Shelters on the Appalachian Trail: 2022 Thru-Hiker Survey | The Trek
- WhiteBlaze user map man did a detailed statistical analysis of thru-hikers that includes a breakdown of the average number of days to get through various sections. It’s a bit dated, but still informative.
Hostels, Hotels and Shelters
- A Complete List of Appalachian Trail Hostels: 2021 Edition | The Trek
- ALDHA Map of AT Hostels, Lodging & Outfitters (with contact info and directions)
- ALDHA Map of A.T. Shelters
- Appalachian Trail Hostels
- Appalachian Trail Shelters
- Hostels Along the Appalachian Trail – NOBO
- Map of AT hostels
- WhiteBlaze Appalachian Hostel listing
NOTE: I have included lodging options in my Appalachian Trail Resupply & POI spreadsheet.
See the general hiking resources page for a few options that aren’t specific to the A.T.
- The Hike Safe Card ($25 for an individual, $35 for a family) covers search and rescue in The Whites Mountain in NH, one of the more dangerous sections of the trail.
Mail Drop and Resupply
- ALDHA has a useful A.T. Mailing Label page that provides an easy way to create mailing labels for many of the locations along the Appalachian Trail (post offices and hiker hostels). Simply fill out your return address and select a location and a separate window will popup containing the completed mailing label. Print out the window (right click) and you’ve created your mailing label. The organization also maintains a Google map with all the post offices and resupply locations.
- AppalachianTrailClarity offers a Stamp of Approval on Maildrops (PDF) for knowing your maildrop options (mile markers, addresses, links, are included) and also a PDF listing of Major Resupply Points Along the Appalachian Trail (includes northbound mile markers, links, phone numbers, etc.). There are also other useful articles for getting the most out of your A.T. experience (don’t-miss places, food menu, FAQ, hygiene tips, etc.).
- AT Resupply FAQs: Shopping Strategies, Nutrition Tips, and More by Brian Garner | The Trek
- Google Map of Resupply locations (Gold = on trail, Green = 1-2 miles off trail, Blue = 3+ miles off trail)
- Ideas for an Inexpensive Thru-hike (Hiker Advice) by weathercarrot | WhiteBlaze. Written in 2003 so probably of limited value but worth checking out for how to think about planning.
- John Michael Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), a 2019 thru-hiker, made a detailed Appalachian Trail Resupplies 2019 document (original, editable version).
- Joyful Rambler (Moon Pie) offers a copy of the spreadsheet she created for her 2018 thru-hike, with nine different resupply box destinations (including addresses).
- The A.T. Guide has a list of post offices along the trail.
- The Trek has a couple of useful mail drop resources. One is a listing of their suggested places to send and the other is just a full listing of all places you can send.
- WhiteBlaze has a couple of useful resupply resources, including a Resupply Locations List, a Resuppling within one miles from the Appalachian Trail for a thru hike post that lists various resupply points along the trail, with those lying within 1 mile of the trail highlighted, and the fairly famous Re-Supply Information (2007) by Jack “Baltimore Jack” Tarlin.
NOTE: I have included resupply options from these sources in my Appalachian Trail Resupply & POI spreadsheet.
|USPS? While you probably have heard about USPS Priority Mail shipping for mail drops, Shane O’Donnell has written a detailed tutorial titled USPS Regional Rate Boxes For Hiking Dummies that can often save money compared to Priority Mail if you live on the East Coast.|
Miscellaneous Articles and Resources
- 7 Things I Absolutely Hated About Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Kelly Floro | The Trek
- 10 Fantastic Hiker Traditions on the Appalachian Trail by Kenny Howell | The Trek
- A Guide to Backpacking the AT via Mass Transit from NYC: Harpers Ferry to Maine by u/blipsonascope | Reddit
- Alex Petrovnia has a fascinating Twitter thread about the geological wonder of the Appalachian mountains
- American Classic: Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Michael Lanza | Backpacker
In this ultimate guide to the country’s favorite footpath, you’ll find our picks for the best hiking and camping, and a complete plan for thru-hikers. Plus, meet a man who has made it his job to help AT hikers.
- Exit Interview: I Was a Black, Female Thru-Hiker on the Appalachian Trail by Sarah Laskow | Atlas Obscura
- Fresh Ground Leapfrog Café – Just a simple North Carolina country boy trying to encourage, motivate, feed, or give a ride to hikers (also see “Trail Angel Spotlight: Fresh Ground and his Leapfrog Cafe”).
- Gender Differences among long distance Backpackers: A prospective study of Women Appalachian Trail Backpackers by David R Boulware, M.D. | NIH
- Gimme Shelter: The Pros & Cons of Sleeping in Shelters on the Appalachian Trail by Stubbs | The Trek
- How the AT Works: What DOES a Maintainer Do? by Cosmo | The Trek
- How to Thru Hike the Appalachian Trail: A 101 Guide | The Trek
- Is the Appalachian Trail’s Iconic Shelter System Obsolete? by Kelly Floro | The Trek
- Lightning Safety on the Appalachian Trail | ATC
- Looking back: Thru-Hiker’s Handbook by Dan Bruce by Paul Mags
- Shelter Etiquette on the AT by Maggie Wallace at The Trek.
- SoBo Vs. NoBo Thru Hikers: The Tiny Differences and The Immense Similarities by Carlie Gentry | The Trek
- The Appalachian Trail Passport
- The Case for Bear Canisters on the Appalachian Trail by Cosmo | The Trek
- The Sobo’s guide to Baxter and Katahdin by Teej
- Walking Off Grief on the Appalachian Trail by Gunnar Lundberg | Catapult
- What is it Like to Sleep in an Appalachian Trail Shelter? by Philip Werner | SectionHiker
Movies and TV Programs
There are many movies and television programs about the Appalachian Trail. Here are some that either I have seen and enjoyed personally or seen recommended by others.
- 2000 Miles to Maine (2004)
- A Walk in the Woods (2015)
- Appalachian Impressions (2005)
- Appalachian Trail – The Beaten Path (2011)
- Appalachian Trail Documentary: Hike Your Own Hike (2016, YouTube)
- Appalachian Trail Thru Hike 2019: Togs (2019, YouTube)
- Barbarian Utopia: Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Thaddeus Lamar (2014, DVD only)
- Beauty Beneath the Dirt (2012)
- Dirty South Bounders (2013)
- Five Million Steps (1987, YouTube)
- Flip Flop Flippin’ (I and II) (2014)
- Flow: A Journey Through Culture and History on the Appalachian Trail by Alex Bentley (2015, YouTube)
- Getaway: The Appalachian Trail Documentary (2017, YouTube)
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail Movie Documentary by BikeHikeSafari (2018, YouTube)
- Into the Wild: My Journey on the Appalachian Trail by Julia Sheehan (2019, YouTube)
- Karl Meltzer: Made to Be Broken
Ultrarunner Karl Meltzer has long dreamed of setting the speed record for crossing America’s Appalachian Trail. Now he sets out for his third and final attempt to run the 2,188 miles (3,523 km) in less than 46 days, 8 hours, 6 min. (Watch for free online)
- National Geographic: Appalachian Trail (2009, available on YouTube as of this writing)
- North to Katahdin (1992)
- Operation Northbound (2018, YouTube)
- Paul’s Boots by REI (2016, YouTube)
- Southbounders (2005)
- STRINGBEAN – Appalachian Trail FKT Documentary (2017, YouTube)
- The AT Experience by Andrew “Reptar” Forestell (2015)
- The Ghost explores Heather Anderson’s personal journey from unknown hiker to the holder of some of the most coveted records in the hiking world. | Vimeo
- The Green Tunnel (A six month journey along the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail, condensed and reinterpreted into five minutes of stop-motion).
- The Long Start to the Journey by Chris “Frost” Gallaway (2015)
- The Oldest Thru-Hiker (2018, PBS)
- Thru Story: A Season on the Appalachian Trail by Shane “Jester” O’Donnell
- Trail Angels on the A.T. (Windows to the Wild | PBS)
It takes months to hike the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Host Will Lange meets “trail angels” whose generosity is legendary among hikers.
- Trail of Trust (2012, PBS)
- Trailside: Make Your Own Adventure (Facebook fan page) was the longest running outdoor “how-to” adventure series on Public Television. Produced by New Media, this is arguably their best: Thru-hiking The Appalachian Trail. Shown in Season 3 over two episodes (8 and 9), it tracks the progress of several Thru-hiker in 1995.
- NOTE: you can find an introduction video, the episode on hiking the White Mountains , and one of the AT episodes on YouTube, but finding the second episode seems to be a chore (buying old VHS copies on eBay may be the best option).
- TREK – A Journey on the Appalachian Trail (2003)
- Walking Home – Appalachian Trail Documentary (2017, YouTube)
- Walking Off the War (2013, PBS)
- Walking with Freedom (2005)
On-Trail Tips and Resources
- AMC Thru-Hiker Pass program is a special pass that gets you 50% off all but your first night in a campground in the Whites and includes two free baked goods and a bowl of soup at the AMC huts, plus a 10% discount on supplies at the AMC stores. Used wisely it more or less pays for itself. Just mention that you are a thru-hiker when you pay a caretaker for your first night and you’ll receive the pass for free. I have heard that sometimes a hut won’t bother to mark your pass when you get the freebie so you can possibly get more than intended. That wasn’t the case for me and I personally wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that but HYOH.
- ATC Incident Reporting (include links to the A.T. Incident Report Form and the Bear Incident Report Form). While the Appalachian Trail is a relatively safe place to visit, that does not mean that there are no potential dangers while you are hiking or camping. If you see something, say something — this will help keep the A.T. as safe as possible.
- AT Thru-Hike Tracking Info is a Google spreadsheet that I created to help you easily track your progress and your expenses. Just enter a few fields of information each night in camp and at the end you will have a lot of interesting statistics available to summarize your hike (they are automatically calculated so you don’t need to do any extra work).
- Basic Advice For Newbies by The Solemates (Jacob L. Cartner) | WhiteBlaze
- Datto’s AT Thru-Hiking Tips is really long and dated (he hiked in 2000) but there are tons of useful gems in this document (the most useful of which I have included in this book).
- Great trail tricks and Words of Wisdom for hiking the Appalachian Trail by Moxie00 & Doctari | Whiteblaze
- The Appalachian Trail State by State Overview: Highlights, Hiker Tips, Maps, and More by Kelly Floro | The Trek
Organizations and Advocacy Groups
- Amicalola Falls State Park
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has a lot of useful information on their website, including a page to explore the trail by state or via an interactive map and a voluntary thru-hike registration.
- Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA)
- Baxter State Park
- National Park Service (Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah)
- Shenandoah National Park permit (free)
- Baxter State Park permit to hike Mount Katahdin (free)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park Backcountry Permit System ($20),
Planning and Preparation Resources
- Appalachian Trail Planning, Resupply, & POI is a Google spreadsheet I created, which aggregates different data sources and spreadsheets I have come across in my research. I have tried to make all of the disparate but useful information available in one place. I have also done extensive work to manually update a lot of the information that was a bit outdated. The goal is not to replace the fantastic guides and apps that already exist, but rather to offer a different format for viewing existing as well as new information.
- Appalachian Trail Distance Calculators. There are two of these and both allow you to easily calculate the walking distance between two points along the Appalachian Trail. One is from Wikitrail.org, a project to create a free, complete and up-to-date guide for the world’s long-distance hiking trails, and the other is from Mike Calabrese, Randy Rowell, and Steve Shuman. Both will show you selected waypoints between your two selected destinations but the Wikitrail option is more mobile-friendly.
- Appalachian Trail Elevation Profiles. The FarOut app has a very useful elevation profile feature that will show you the total ascent and total descent for whatever section is displayed on the screen. You cannot simply enter a starting and ending point but with some manual dexterity you can accomplish the same thing. Alternatively, the already mentioned Appalachian Trail Distance Calculator includes estimated ascent and descent amounts. If you don’t mind using older data (1998-2011), WhiteBlaze member map man also put together an analysis of AT elevation gain and loss by section and fellow WhiteBlazer Odd Man Out took that data and put it into a spreadsheet.
- AT Expense Budget is a Google Spreadsheet created by Faith Achhammer for budgeting, planning, and important links and Far out mapping info. [REF]
- AT Hiking Rates, Section by Section by map man | WhiteBlaze
This is an old (2001-2010) analysis of how long it takes to hike various sections of the A.T. The study is limited to northbound thru-hikers (NOBOs) who completed their hike in one hiking season.
- Hiking Plans. The A.T. Guide site has hiking plans for 12 miles, 15 miles, and 18 miles per day (with associated Excel spreadsheet downloads; last updated 2011 but still useful as a guide).
- Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Getting the Best Mobile Phone Service by Jeff Blum
- Postholer’s Appalachian Trail (AT) Planner is designed to help you dynamically create a realistic hiking plan based on your hiking style.
- The Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Checklist by Kelly Floro | The Trek
- The Thruhiking Papers by Spirit Eagle (Jim and Ginny Owen) is not a “thru-hikers manual” but rather a collection of thoughts and feelings about the realities of thru-hiking the A.T.
- WikiTrail Appalachian Trail planner is an attempt to sketch-out how your hike might look. Enter your start date, estimated time needed to get into trail shape, how often you plan to take a zero day, your average hiking speed, and the number of hours you plan to hike each day.
I include a longer list of general hiking-related podcasts on my general hiking resources page.
Regulations and Restrictions along the trail
- ATC – Camping Regulations on the A.T. outlines camping regulations in different areas on the A.T. If a specific area has imposed regulations on dispersed camping, those regulations are likely a safety effort, a conservation effort, or both.
- Camping regulations in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area of New Jersey
- Fresh Ground Leapfrog Café is a famous trail angel that travels up and down the trail feeding hungry hikers and sometimes providing rides.
- Miss Janet is a longtime trail angel.
- TrailAngelList.org: Appalachian Trail
Transportation and Parking Options
The following online sites offer lists of shuttle providers along the trail.
- Acorn Trail Guides
- ALDHA A.T. Trailhead Parking: Map (with optional directions), Excel (with locations and waypoints), and PDF (with locations and waypoints)
- Appalachian Trail Parking/Access
- ATC Shuttle, Parking, and Transportation Info
- Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
- How to Get To Springer Mountain by Maggie Slepian | The Trek
- Map of Trailhead Parking Along the Appalachian Trail
- WhiteBlaze Appalachian Trail Shuttle Providers List
The A.T. Guide (AWOL) and the A.T. Thru-Hikers’ Companion both include shuttle providers, though they are not an online resource. Likewise, though not listed in any organized fashion, the FarOut App does list some providers, either explicitly or via the comments feature.
I include a longer list of weather tools on my general hiking resources page.
- Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail Weather (atweather.org) (Web and Android only)
Due to the spotty, slow, and unreliable cell signal in the Appalachian mountains, Pat Jones had a tough time getting weather forecasts with data hungry commercial weather applications. He created Appalachian Trail Weather to use an extremely small amount of data (less than 1kB) in order to pull back a fast, accurate forecast with as little battery drain as possible. Simply enter your current mile location and get the closest 7 shelters to your location. Click on the shelter you wish to get the current and future forecast for that location. Sort by State, or view all shelters in one list.
- Appalachian Trail Weather (The Appalachian Trail Database)
- Appalachian Trail Weather offers charts pertaining to average low and high temps, average precipitation, and hours of daylight along the Appalachian Trail, courtesy of Rainmaker and Swinky.
- Trail weather was created to provide a way of seeing current and future weather conditions along the entire Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail, whereas most existing trail weather sites only provide forecasts for one location at a time. Because of that, the site is very data-heavy and is not recommended for hikers on the trail looking for local weather conditions (it’s better for looking ahead and planning).
YouTube Channels and Videos
This isn’t even close to a comprehensive list and I’m sure there are some great ones I am unaware of. But, here are the channels and videos I have enjoyed, found useful or get mentioned often in online groups. A useful tip for channels is to click on the Playlists tab, as the better ones have organized their various videos by theme (e.g., backpacker basics, Appalachian Trail, favorite A.T. towns, etc.).
- 10 Memorable Places on the Appalachian Trail by Sensatious Hiatus
- Amanda Bess
- Andrew Skurka Instructional Series (my favorites: Finding five-star backpacking campsites, Guyline system & knots for tents, tarps, & hammocks; Finding five-star backpacking campsites; How to pack a backpack: Organization & load; How to poop in the woods & perform a backcountry; Food Storage & Protection: Techniques for bears and mini-bears; Protecting Down Insulation from Moisture)
- A Summer on the Appalachian Trail  by Anthony Ottati (Mugwort) | YouTube
- Appalachian Trail 2021 Thru Hike by Goob’s Adventures
- Appalachian Trail – Google Earth Tour – NOBO by Steven Veldt is a unique video series that zooms along an aerial view of the trail via Google Earth. It’s a cool way to see a birds-eye view of the trail.
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy
- Appalachian Trail Landmarks to Keep You Motivated Your Entire Thru-Hike! | FULL LIST state-by-state by Taylor the Nahamsha Hiker | YouTube
- AWOL: AN APPALACHIAN TRAIL THRU HIKE DOCUMENTARY by Semi | YouTube
- Backcountry Banter
- Backcountry Edge’s How to Lace a Hiking Boot For Better Fit illustrates a double overhand knot (surgeon’s knot) and techniques to achieve different goals with your lacing.
- Bill Caulway
- Chica and Sunsets
- Craig “Hawk” Mains
- Craig M – Spielberg
- Darwin onthetrail
Lots of great videos covering almost everything. Good content and high quality video production.
- Dean Barber’s 1985 AT Thru Hike on 8 mm, Georgia to Maine | YouTube
- Derek Hansen is the author of The Ultimate Hang and has some useful videos related to hammocks and tarps.
- Evan’s Backpacking Videos
Evan thru-hiked in 2018 with a few twists: he hiked with a tarp and bivy, he didn’t use a sleeping pad (except in the Smokies), he wore sandals, he used an umbrella, he didn’t use hiking poles, and he avoided the typical hiker diet of junk food and sweets, focusing on low-carb foods instead.
- Fight for Together
- Follow Bigfoot
I found his Everything you need to know about Katahdin & Baxter State Park, trekking poles, hiker hygiene, and trail etiquette videos especially useful.
- Hiking Self-Care Series: Feet, ankle, shins, calves
- Hiking the AT in Georgia by Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
- Homemade Wanderlust (Dixie)
- How my body changed during a thruhike of the Appalachian Trail by Impala on Trail
- IB TAT (note: lots of profanity)
- I Can’t Do This Alone – Appalachian Trail Thru Hike 2021 By HeadNorth Mike McKay (“Trunkle”) | YouTube
- There are multiple videos illustrating how to hang a bear bag. Dixie at Homemade Wanderlust shows you three different methods (including a method for using two trees when you can’t find one ideal tree) and Backcountry Banter and Follow Bigfoot have videos illustrating the PCT method.
- Jeff Myers (MyersTech Hammock Lab) sells some cool soft hammock and tarp suspension accessories that serve as an alternative to hardware products. His channel illustrates these and also includes some useful DIY tutorials and ideas for different ways to hang a hammock or tarp.
- Joyful Rambler (Moonpie)
- Kentucky to Katahdin is the channel of Kentucky, who I met after staying at The Station @ 19E and ended up hiking together the entire rest of the way to Katahdin, about 1800 miles together. So, if you follow him you will basically be seeing what my hike was like.
- Neemor’s World
- Operation Northbound. Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike 2018 by Matheson Brown | YouTube
- Outdoor Adventures (Frozen)
Has a useful Beginner Backpacking and Beginner Hammock Camping series as well as fully vlogging his 2019 A.T. thru-hike.
- Professor Hammock
- Seven’s Hiker Trash Video
His Advice For Thru Hiking The Appalachian Trail and How To Thru Hike The Appalachian Trail videos are good for those just starting to consider doing a thru-hike and his Tips on Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail video is a recap of his favorite town places along the trail. I find his style to be very blunt, long-winded, and opinionated, but he does have some good tips to share.
- So You Want to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail? by Lottiebug (Comet)
- The Entire Appalachian Trail in 5 Minutes by Craig MacPherson (“Spielberg”)
- The Answer is Not a Hut in the Woods by exurb2a | YouTube
To jump straight into his account of the trail, it starts about 11:30 into the video.
- Ultralight Dandy
- White Blaze – Stories from the Appalachian Trail
- Why (Do I Hike) by Nikola “Tesla” Horvat
(REF: Stunning New Documentary “Why (Do I Hike)” is a Love Letter to Thru-Hiking)
- Wild on the Trail
- Yamaneko Hikes is a clever chronicle of Cruise Missile’s thru hike. She names her backpack and treats it as the main character in the journey. It may or may not be your cup of tea but it’s worth checking out to see.
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