The current record for completion of the A.T. is 45 and a half days, set by Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy in 2017, who accomplished an impressive average of 48 miles a day. Consider starting on a weekday, versus a weekend, as the trails will be less crowded. Less than 25% of all those who set out to complete this trek succeed. The only downsides to sleeping in shelters are the possible presence of mice, and of course the possibility of overcrowding. The average miles per day for a hiker on the A.T. is 12-16. As a northbound hiker, it is usually best to start your hike in March or at the very latest, the first half of April. This website is where I share all our adventures along with tips and advice to help you get outdoors too! The 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine and is one of the most challenging long distance hikes in the United States. Most hikers begin at Springer Mountain in Georgia in the spring and head north to the trails terminus at Mount Katahdin in Maine because the northern mountain is frequently snowy and cold well into the spri… A complete thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail typically takes hikers anywhere from five to seven months. Given the average completion time of five to seven months, total on-trail spending can be from $5-7,000 per person. The Appalachian Trail will span 554 miles across the state of Virginia. This includes gear, trail resupply, and town expenses. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt a thru-hike; only about one in four makes it all the way. The average hiker’s pace is about three miles an hour. It’s a strong and durable cord used for parachutes, and it’s vital to carry in case of emergency survival situations. When you’re going over a mountain on the AT, you can expect to be taking a straight shot at it. Shelters, water, and even the trail route itself are prone to change from year to year. Thru-hiking is when someone hikes a long trail from beginning to end without skipping any part of the trail. Do your research beforehand. © 2020 Outdoor Command. This amounts to approximately 5,000,000 steps, a number sure to fill your step-tracker-wearing friends with envy. Ballpark Estimate: $2,000 to $9,000. However, the range of weight loss differs wildly from one person to another: The heaviest person in the study lost just under 70 pounds, while the lightest lost only 5. They offer an opportunity to socialize with other hikers and are much more convenient than tents when it comes to packing and carrying. Everest after finishing a thru-hike. Personally for the trip I budgeted right around $5,000 but would have preferred to … Cost isn’t the only factor in determining who succeeds in completing the AT, […] There is an abundance of water sources on the Appalachian Trail, with one at almost every shelter, and plenty of streams along the path. Your equipment must be durable when hiking the Appalachian trail, so high-quality materials like stainless steel are a good choice. How many states does the AT cross? This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. This bracelet makes an excellent addition to any backpack, helping the trek across the backcountry to be just a little easier. Starting my trek on February 18 th, at a fairly relaxed pace, gives me 238 days to reach Mt. We think that thru-hiking the A.T. is an honorable undertaking, and encourage all aspiring 2000-milers to aim high, but remember to take a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the proposal for the hiking trail was first presented in 1921, but the Trail was not technically completed until 2014 when a final major stretch was formally acquired and received permanent protection. That being said, it is not surprising that hikers take from 5 to 7 months to cross it. The trail is about 2,190 miles long, though the precise length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted. What do I need to take on the Appalachian Trail? It’s also easy to resupply, just have them sent to your post office stops along the trail. Still, many hikers see Harper’s Ferry of West Virginia as their psychological halfway marker. The Appalachian Trail is a path located in the eastern United States. Our favorite is the Savior Survival Gear Paracord Bracelet, which provides 12 feet of extra-hardy 7 strand 550lb paracord. Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Survey Demographics. Katahadin (est. You’ll need to let them know where you’ll be and when to make you easier to locate in case of an emergency. Because of the magnitude of this undertaking, every hiker should have a designated support person at home. You’ll pass through 14 different states on your journey, so who knows what new experiences the trail has in store. There are 70 towns along the Appalachian Trail, but we recommend visiting only a handful. Depending on the ability of the hiker, some will go up to 20-25 miles near the end of their trail days. The Appalachian Trail is one of the most popular thru-hikes in the United States, along with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). It takes 5 million steps, an average of 16 miles per day on the Appalachian Trail, for 6 months, to complete the longest hiking-only trail in the world. This is arguably the hardest climb across the entire A.T., so the southbound route is only recommended for experienced hikers. I gathered that the normal time to perform the whole trail is 5-7 months. If you want to learn more about the Appalachian Trail, check out the ATC website for some useful information. , which provides 12 feet of extra-hardy 7 strand 550lb paracord. With a formal education in writing, Meg can translate her outdoor experiences into accessible and relatable content for any reader. This can be a vital aspect, as many hikers have set up drop points and only carry enough food to get them from one drop point to another. Southbound hikers are also limited in start dates, as the trails on Katahdin might not open before the first of June. Your email address will not be published. Once you’ve decided your full commitment to conquering the trail, you’ll need plenty of time to plan out specific details. However, some State and National Parks require permits to hike through. The northern parts of the trail are more complicated, and the weather is less forgiving. Trail life is often cheaper than “real” life. Most thru-hikers will complete the Appalachian Trail in 5 to 7 months, with 165 days being average. An Appalachian Trail thru-hike takes between five and seven months to complete the entire trail. The Appalachian Trail Conservatory has asked aspiring thru-hikers to consider other route options and other times of the year, as the huge amount of traffic the A.T. sees northbound at the start of April is very damaging to the wildlife. On average, most thru-hikers end up spending about six months on the AT traveling from end to end. The average hiker will take about 5 million steps on a thru-hike, and most of the time he / she will be hiking on rough, steep terrain. Every year, trail modifications such as reroutes are made, mainly for preservation reasons. Most backpackers will go through 4 or 5 pairs of hiking boots on the route. You’ll also want to keep in mind that different legs of the trail are more difficult than others. Thru-hikers burn on average 5,500 calories a day, which could be double what you’re used to eating. Thru-hiking is hard, it requires great physical and mental strength, there’s no point going around it. 50 of these hikers were age 70 and above. 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. The highest elevation on the trail is Clingmans Dome, 6643 feet above sea level. That is very far from the truth. The specific part of the trail that should be called the hardest is hard to pinpoint. A thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail typically takes between five and seven months, although speedsters have done it in less than 50 days. No matter if you are traveling northbound or southbound, the passes you make over these mountains and these states will be days you remember. The speed at which it takes to cross Virginia will once again depend on your hiking speed and average mileage per day. This allows hikers to hike the entirety of the trail without having to do it in one push. Starting off at Springer Mountain and following the path the whole way to the northern terminus in Maine, 89% of A.T. thru-hikers opt for this traditional path. Crossing state lines many times and hiking over numerous mountain tops, you can see why it takes most hikers months to complete this trail. There are also plenty of campsites along the Appalachian Trail, and they make a great option for some nights. That’s about the average: One study found that hikers who walked the full length of the trail tend to lose about 15. From market farming to wilderness survival guide to forestry technician and climbing instructor, Meg has an eclectic work history. The first few steps in a successful thru-hike experience are getting to know the trail and getting to know yourself as a hiker. The total expanse of the Southern Maine section, including the Bigelow Range, will be just over 100 miles. This was set on the northbound route, which is the most popular choice for the A.T. By far the most popular choice amongst hikers on the Appalachian Trail is the northbound route. Consider why you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail- if it has anything to do with peace and solitude, you’re better off avoiding these crowds. 4-5 - Average pairs of shoes an AT hiker will go through There are an estimated 3 million visitors that hike parts of the AT each year, yet only about 20,000 thru-hikers have completed the trail since 1936. Hiking the Appalachian Trail covers about 2,168 distances from Georgia to Maine. Your guide to outdoor adventure since 2019. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Matt Kirk, an American ultrarunner based in North Carolina, completed the trail in 58 days 9 hours and 40 minutes in 2013 (Southbound). I think you're more likely to get a good ballpark figure for the PCT than the AT. It takes five to seven months to thru-hike the trail while a section hike can take two or more months. Over 5 months this amounts to $2250, which may seem like a shocking figure. But six months of food and supplies can still add up. Shelters are usually near water sources, with fire pits and even bathrooms. Hike the Appalachian Trail. There will be portions that are harder than others, as well as some high elevation crossings. Average time. Permits are required for The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee ($20), Shenandoah National Park in Virginia (free), and Baxter State Park in Maine (free). You will cross many halfway markers as you make your way through Pennsylvania. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. A complete thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail typically takes hikers anywhere from five to seven months. The trail is protected along more than 99% of its course by federal or state ownership of the land or by right-of-way. 165 - Average number of days it takes to complete an AT thru-hike. Thru-hiking (or through-hiking) is the practice of hiking an established long-distance trail, from end to end. That's because the PCT really restricts the time in which you can thru hike it before it starts getting dangerous. This can help hikers to have a physical reminder as they pass a sign telling them they are indeed halfway. However, these parts of the trail tend to be the most strenuous, rocky, repetitive, and steep. You could choose to go the traditional northbound route, but risk crowding and damage to nature. About Us | Camping | Tents | Fishing | Game Cameras | Hiking & Backpacking | Privacy Policy | Affiliate Disclosure | DMCA It isn’t the fact that the mountains are huge on the trail, but that there are no switchbacks. That means some speedsters use a support team while others choose to be self-supported, much like that of a thru-hiker. Increasingly, A.T. hikers are opting for a different approach, foregoing both the northbound and southbound routes. Either way, plan on spending a considerable amount of time on the trail. This year, 2015, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Data Book, the AT is 2,189.2 miles. Jennifer Pharr-Davis, an American ultrarunner from North Carolina, actually set two separate speed records on the trail. On average, the total cost of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is $5,000-$7,000. Reportedly tricky due to elevation gain per each mile, intense weather, regulations for camping, rocky trails, and steep terrain. All of these factors will impact the distance you can cover in a given day. That averages out to about 10 miles per day. One of the significant battles that a thru-hiker will encounter is knowing how far they can hike each day. 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. Some hikers will report that this mountain isn’t necessarily the hardest on the trail, but it is the most sustained climb. Crossing all 14 states via the Appalachian Trail amounts to approximately 5,000,000 steps. We hiked an average of just under 20 miles a day with backpacks that weighed up to 40 pounds! The time required to complete the AT depends on the hiker’s physical abilities. 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. Joey Campanelli, an American ultrarunner based in Utah, completed the trail in 48 days 23 hours and 28 minutes in 2017 (Southbound). They’re spaced from 5 to 15 miles apart, and if there’s a town with lodging nearby then it could be up to 30 miles before you reach the next one. This is a much more challenging way to hike the trail, as it means traversing the hardest part first. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, out of the 1,500 to 2,000 hikers who try to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail every year, only 200 to 300 hikers succeed. Being careful means we’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking A.T. for longer. This pace may be slower at the beginning of the trail, and become faster as hikers gain muscle strength and confidence. It stretches between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through 14 states in total. However, this trail is most famous as a thru-hike. There is no such restriction for the AT. Speed records of the trail have been set in just over 41 days. ← The Best Camping Gear for Beginners (Buying Guide), How to Build the Ultimate Backpack Repair Kit →. There are also plenty of campsites along the Appalachian Trail, and they make a great option for some nights. That means that more of the AT passes through Virginia than any other state. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains. In order from south to north, the A.T. passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Dehydrated backpacking recipes are popular with thru-hikers, as they provide more calories while not being as expensive as shop-bought dehydrated meals. This will mean that your solitude on the trail will be limited. This section will be just over 100 miles long. You might wonder if you need a permit to thru-hike this trail, but it’s not necessary for the whole thing. Most people start with 5 to 10 miles per day. With the trail changing so often, that means the halfway point moves too. A typical shelter on the A.T. is just a floor, three walls, and a roof, accommodating 6-12 people on average. For more information, read our, whole review of the best paracord bracelets, If you want to learn more about the Appalachian Trail, check out the. Most A.T. thru-hikers burn out in the first week, which is why it’s important to train in advance. There are a lot of factors involved in overall hiking time, and it will vary from hiker to hiker. Her fastest time was in 2011, taking her 46 days 11 hours and 20 minutes (Southbound). Annually, more than 4,000 volunteers contribute over 175,000 hours of effort on the Appalachian Trail, an effort coordinated largely by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy(ATC) organization. For example, our article on the best campgrounds in New England features Beartown State Forest Campground, situated perfectly for a stopover off the A.T. Knowing all of the places where you can stop for food and water as well as receiving packages is vital to completing the A.T. The current overall and supported record for hiking the Appalachian Trail belongs to Karel Sabbe, a Belgian dentist and ultrarunner who finished the path in 41 days, 7 hours, and 39 minutes in August 2018. It stretches between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through 14 states in total. *Occasionaly you’ll see an asterisk next to an amenity, this denotes services located 0.5 to 3.0 miles off the trail* Also, anyone who has spent any time on the AT knows that it is a constantly changing trail. The current unsupported record for completing the Appalachian Trail is 45 days, 12 hours, and 15 minutes, achieved by ultrarunner Joe McConaughy in 2017. Most section hikers may not take on a full state at one time, but for others, it can be a rewarding getaway. To hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail is a huge undertaking. “15 miles per day = 145 days or @ 5 months”. If you’re planning to tackle the AT heading South, you will need to be determined and in excellent physical condition. Usually starting at a pace of 8-10 miles each day, and then slowly working upwards. You can search for good deals, but don’t compromise on quality; for the Appalachian Trail you need high-quality lightweight equipment, or else you risk not being able to complete it. In total, the AT passes through eight national forests and two nation… The average (mean) age of hikers in the survey was 34 years old, plus or minus 13 years, with a median age of 29 years old. 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. There are 260 shelters along the entire Appalachian Trail, which is an average of one every 8.5 miles. Only 20% of 2,000-milers (people who have successfully completed the trail) are women. We took many breaks during the trip to relax, but when we hiked, we took it seriously. Not to mention depending on the time of year, water may be scarce on these legs. When starting in March, hikers can expect a few weeks of winter weather and sometimes deep snow. For example, our article on the. Many hikers prefer these shelters to tents as it’s much easier without the setup time and the added weight. But make sure you know some of the excitement of the best camping for. A different approach, foregoing both the northbound and southbound routes, some will go to. 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