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Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail | East Coast
5.00
3 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to hike the Appalachian Trail

  • Trip Highlight

    Experience the best of east coast from Georgia to Maine on foot

  • Trip Highlight

    Hundreds of trailheads and road crossings make it easy to explore

  • Trip Highlight

    Plenty of section hiking, day hiking and thru-hiking for all skill levels

Consider the numbers: this is a 2,200-mile trail that meanders through 14 states, 6 national parks, 8 national forests and on average takes 6 months to hike. The trail traditionally starts in Georgia at Springer Mountain and ends at Mt. Katahdin, Maine. Sure, there’re the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, but the AT makes the first, and greatest claim to American wanderlust. While you can always hike sections of the trail, it’s thru-hiking the trail that remains the pinnacle of the American hiking experience. Find out why the Appalachian Trail is one of the best thru-hikes in the US from Maggie Slepian, backpacker, trail runner, climber, and mountain biker.

Season

Spring through fall

Nearest city

Atlanta, GA is 1.5 hours away from the Amicalola Falls State Park

Duration

6 or 10 days

Skill level

All skill levels are welcome

Itineraries

Most Popular Itineraries

Week-Long Appalachian Trail Hike

6 days

A week-long introduction to the Appalachian Trail for new backpackers, looking for a taste of the thru-hike. Customizable to the skill level of the group, you’ll cover six to 10 miles per day in accessible terrain for around 50 miles. Your days will be filled with exploring highlights such as Blood Mountain, and nights are spent camping under the stars. You’ll be completely assisted by a pro with the freedom to hike in an intimate group.

Starting and finishing points:

  • Week-long group hikes begin at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia, and end at Neels Gap, Georgia.
  • The September 5th hike begins at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and ends at Pen Mar in Pennsylvania. 

Ten-Day Appalachian Trail Hike

10 days

Explore a section of the Appalachian Trail and prepare for the most exciting thru-hike of your life! This section-hike starts at Amicalola Falls State Park and finishes at Deep Gap near Franklin, NC. During a course of ten days, you will be preparing for the challenging Appalachian Trail by learning from the most professional guides in the field! At the end of your ten-day adventure, you will have hiked for 94 miles in total, while learning all about geology, exploring the wildlife and making life-long friendships!

Trip Highlights

A Typical Week-Long Hike Itinerary:

Day One: Arrival and orientation

The first day of your week-long AT hike is dedicated to arrival and orientation. Once you meet your guide around 1:00PM at the agreed meeting point, you’ll register for the hike, set up camp, and go over over the Appalachian Trail and what to expect, including discussing gear and food. After a short 2.5-mile hike to stretch the legs, you’ll head to town for pizza and beer. The evening will be spent sleeping in tents. Please note, if you drive to the meeting point, your car can remain parked there for the entire duration of your hike.

Day Two: Start your hike

In the morning, you will start hiking to the first shelter. It’s a six-mile uphill hike under the forest canopy. Filtering water along the way, you’ll camp and cook food. If the shelter ( a basic, three-sided building) is open, you can opt to sleep there rather than in your tent.

Day Three: On the Appalachian Trail

After a climb to the top of Springer Mountain, you will officially be on the Appalachian Trail from this point on. An easier day of hiking, it’s eight to ten miles depending on the skill level of the hikers in the group. Another night spent in tents.

Day Four: Pace it up

Hiking between six to eight miles, this is one of the challenging hiking days, with several steep uphill climbs and descents.

Day Five: Stop for a break

Depending on the mileage of the previous day, this day is an easier hike in terms of terrain. You’ll get your first real view of the mountains. After hiking out of the woods you’ll shuttle back to the park to get vehicles, have a meal, and then make your way back up to the trailhead to camp.

Day Six: Reach your final stop

To maximize the fun on the final day of hiking, you will be slackpacking today. This means that you’ll only carry a daypack with just water, snacks and daily provisions. There are two options for hiking. The first option is to hike the 11 miles up and over Blood Mountain, a trip highlight with amazing views. This is a full day of hiking from 9am to 5pm. The other option is a shorter six-mile loop up and over Blood Mountain. It’s a later start with more time spent on top of the mountain enjoying the views (weather permitting).

If hikers finish before 5pm, there’s time to explore the Outfitter store that supplies AT hikers, take pics, have a pizza, and buy souvenirs if desired.  Once back at the park, hikers can take a shower at the campground before heading home or continuing thru-hike on their own.

 

Please note: Typical itineraries for beginners include hiking between 6 to 10 miles per day over the course of a week. Your exact itinerary will depend on your chosen hike.

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Reviews

Reviews (3)

Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Joel Crites about Michelle Michaud

Fyrfly is knowledgeable, professional, and super hard working from arrival to departure. It’s obvious she’s doing what she loves. Michelle went above and beyond for me & my kids each day. Recommending this experience to everyone who will listen. And I’m also very thankful for the relationship formed with Michelle that is likely to last a long time – she’s a huge asset to 57hours.

The first 40 miles of the AT are picturesque, serene, and exactly the adventure I was looking for. Cant wait to hike more of it. After this week, I feel experienced enough to safely set out for section hikes on my own. Thanks so much!!

Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Martha Mahoney about Michelle Michaud

FANTASTIC!!! The AT is much more challenging than I expected which gave me extra satisfaction in completing mt first hike on it. It is stunningly beautiful. Michelle is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. She is fun to be with and easy-going. She is helpful and makes the experience achievable – even for a beginner like me. She is a logistics genius as well – everything went according to plan. She makes excellent suggestions to avoid any potential discomfort or setback. She is great physical hiker. Michelle can tell stories and facts about the trail which was wonderful. I would have not been successful on the AT without Michelle.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Patricia Severn about Michelle Michaud

Outstanding!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Atlanta, GA

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Atlanta, Georgia, please refer to the Georgia Department of Public Health website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

  • A local Appalachian Trail hiking guide
  • Campsites fees
  • Hostel/resort accommodation for one night (Day 1, Day 4 or Day 5 depending on your chosen itinerary)
  • Permits
  • Transportation throughout the adventure
  • Transfer back to your vehicle after the hike

What’s not included:

  • Meals*
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights and flight taxes
  • Sleeping bag, tents & personal items
  • Shuttle back to the vehicle in the middle of a hike if the hiker is quitting

*Some meals are included depending on the trip you book.

How fit do I need to be?

You need to be able to hike for full days, carrying a full daypack or backpacking pack. Each day you will hike between four to six hours or between six to 10 miles per day for a total of 50 miles each week. The terrain can be challenging and the weather unforgiving. That said, if you are looking for adventure and up to the task of multiple days or weeks of full-day trekking, you’ll be rewarded immensely.

What do I need to bring?

Your exact gear list will be dependent on the itinerary you choose and will be provided after booking. Here’s a list of the general equipment you need to bring:

  • Backpacking pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40-60L bag)
  • Water bottle
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hiking boots
  • Spare warm clothes
  • Down or synthetic jacket
  • Rainproof jacket
  • Compass & map
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, first aid kit, toilet paper, etc.)
  • High quality sunglasses
  • Head lantern
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Why should I hike the Appalachian Trail?

The camaraderie, trail magic, and the sheer number of hikers all make the trail accessible for just about anyone. People of all ages, from 5 to 86 have hiked the trail. Doing a thru-hike, though, requires a great sense of your own physical capabilities and mental stamina. Most people who stop on the trail do so because of injury, as people often set unrealistic paces and their bodies can’t keep up. For those who have successfully thru-hiked, you’ll find that they were all patient and didn’t really push themselves until they’d found their trail-legs. Take your time, set realistic goals and manageable expectations.

What about group sizes and age requirements?

Groups for week-long hikes usually consist of two people for southern sections and four people for northern sections. For the three or six-month hikes, a minimum of five hikers are required for the trip to take place. You can arrange a private trip with a guide, if you’re traveling alone or a larger party. All pricing is per person.

A deposit of $200 per person is needed to secure your spot. Full amount should be paid one month prior to departure.

Everybody over the age of 16 is welcome on this hiking adventure.

Cancellation policy

With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.

For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Cancellation Policy, which states:

If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.

In case of cancellation due to COVID-19, you can reschedule or get a full refund.

For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.

Getting there and meeting locations

You’ll typically meet your guide on Sunday for a day of preparation ahead of the hike. After your stay overnight, the guide will bring you to The A.T. trailhead.

If there is a complete thru-hike scheduled, you must be able to join the group wherever they may be unless you wish to hike outside of the hiker season. If no thru-hike is scheduled, there will be week-long group hikes offered each month from different locations.

Each month there will be 2 week-long hikes offered: one starting from Amicalola Falls State Park in NE Georgia to Neels Gap, and another one further north along the trail. The September 5th hike begins at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and ends at Pen Mar in Pennsylvania. 

The thru-hike usually begins around mid-March to the beginning of April at Amicalola Falls State Park near Atlanta, Georgia, and officially ends on top of Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. Transportation from Baxter State Park to the bus station or Bangor International Airport will be included. Additional transportation back to Atlanta can be arranged for an additional cost. 

 

View FAQ
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Before you go, you have to decide how to go

While the numbers alone may seem daunting, they don’t need to. Planning for this trip is akin to the hike itself — slow and steady, go at your own pace. It’s not a race after all. While the number of people who thru-hike the trail is much smaller than those who set out, a lot of hikers enjoy the AT in sections, which makes for a very attractive option if you don’t do it all in one go.

For thru-hikers, the very first consideration is whether you want to hike the trail northbound (NOBO), or southbound (SOBO). Each has its merits. For example, do you want a chillier New England spring or a warm Georgia one? There’s lots to consider, but thankfully, there’s a ton of resources out there to help you get on your way. Regardless of how you proceed, make sure to Leave No Trace and have good Trail Karma.

Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding

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