And as of November 1, '96 - you will be able to get lots of info at Wingfoot's Page for Thru-Hikers.
1. How long does a thru-hike take?
Most people spend between five and seven months on the Trail.
2. When do people generally start?
Most people start in early April from Springer Mountain. The folks
from the Georgia A.T. Club advise beginning no earlier than April
15 because of the potential for severe weather prior to that.
Some people choose to go from north to south instead. People choosing this direction generally start in Maine in June.
3. Do you need to be an experienced
backpacker to thru-hike the trail?
The odds are probably in your favor if you have a certain amount of
experience under your belt before attempting a thru-hike. But, you
can also read about people like
Joe and Sandy
4. How much does it cost?
While there are no fees involved for hiking the Trail, it ends up
costing between $2000-4500. This would include books and
maps, transportation to the trailhead, food, occasional lodging,
occasional restaurant meals, etc. And then of course you will need to
have proper equipment.
5. Who was the first person to thru-hike the
Earl Schaffer hiked the whole A.T. in 1948 and subsequently wrote
about the experience in his book Walking with Spring. You
can read a bit about Earl on the Appalachian Adventure Page, in
the entry for the first week in July.
6. How many people thru-hike, or
otherwise complete the Trail every year?
From 1948 until 1970, the numbers per year were a single digit with
no hiker reporting having completed the Trail in many of the years.
1970 saw ten folks complete the Trail, including Ed Garvey. In
1979, the numbers jumped into the triple digits, and starting in
1990, numbers have been in the low 200's. (Approximately one-third
of the reports filed are by people who have done the hike in
sections over the course of 2 to many years.) Another person who
hiked the whole A.T. was Justice William O. Douglas, the same person
largely responsible for saving the C & O Canal from being turned
into a highway.
Here is a chart showing how many people have hiked the whole A.T. year by year.
page and Wolf Packs'
Hiking with Dogs Info.
"Traildog" e-mail list and the "Traildog
Hiker's Shelter" |
Back to the Main
7. Do any dogs make the
hike? They can't make the entire hike, as dogs are not allowed
in the Smokies nor in Baxter State Park in Maine. Dogs must be kenneled
or otherwise provided for during these stretches. If one feels one
must take one's dog,
check out the ATC's
page about hiking with dogs and be sure to read the article
"Hiking with Fido." ATC can also give you
information about people who can help you kennel and shuttle your
dog in the Smokies and Maine. Also see Phil Heffington's page about hiking with
8. What about horses or bikes?
No pack animals or wheeled vehicles are allowed on the Trail.
(There are a very few miles where this is not the case. For
example, the 3 mile stretch that coincides with the C & O Canal Towpath
allows horses and bikes.)
9. Did I hear something about a blind man
You probably did!
Bill Irwin hiked the Trail with his dog, Orient, in 1990. You
can read about it in his book Blind Courage: Journey of
Faith, available from the ATC or see a video about his
10. Are there any special health issues to be
Most definitely. Water-borne diseases including
giardiasis, tick-borne diseases including Lyme Disease, in addition
to possibilities of falls, stress fractures, dehydration, etc.
page on tick-borne diseases.
See AMC's page and Wolf Packs' Hiking with Dogs Info. Jim Greenway's "Traildog" e-mail list and the "Traildog Hiker's Shelter" |
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