How to Hike the Appalachian Trail

How to Hike the Appalachian TrailThe Appalachian Trail is part of a national scenic trail, and extends from Maine to Georgia in the United States. The trail is a generous 2,175 miles long, and consists mainly of mountainous terrain and unchartered wilderness. There are many ways to access and hike the trail, but having the right supplies on hand is essential to making your experience a memorable one.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Determine your hiking destination. Because the Appalachian Trail runs through so many states, you will need to find a general location from which to start. Downloading a PDF guide from will give you descriptive detail on each location and help you decide which one is best suited to your needs. If you are looking to only walk a set number of miles, track the distance on the map of the trail area you will be visiting, and only follow that specific route.
Step 2
Decide how long you want to be gone. If you are planning a day trip, a basic, lightly packed backpack with standard supplies will suffice. For a weekend trip or a longer excursion, be sure to pack added supplies, as well as camping gear and equipment.
Step 3
Pack for your hike based on the length of your stay and location you will be traveling to. For longer trips, double up on supplies and needed items. For warmer areas, such as the southern states, try to pack as lightly as possible and dress accordingly. For northern regions where it may be a bit cooler, dress in layers, so you can remain at a comfortable body temperature throughout the hike. Check the local listings to make sure the weather during your trip will be satisfactory.
Step 4
Refer to your topographic map and Appalachian hiking trail brochure. These will serve as your guides as you make your way out onto the trail.
Step 5
Embark on your hike. Stay centered on the trail as you move along. Walk at a slow but brisk pace, so you can enjoy the scenery and nature the trail has to offer.

Tips & Warnings

Hike the Appalachian Trail with a buddy. If you end up getting hurt, he can go off and summon help.
If you plan on camping during your hike, be sure to pack a lightweight tent and backpack.
Take along plenty of water, so you can stay hydrated throughout the trip, even in cold weather.
Check the weather forecast for the area you will be hiking in. Dress accordingly, but layer your clothing, just to be safe.
Never venture off the trail path alone. There could be dangerous terrain in the area, and if you became lost, no one would know where to find you.
Leave wild animals alone when they are in their natural habitat, as their behavior can be unpredictable.

Article Written By Julie

Julie is an outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer. She enjoys hiking and camping the North Woods of Michigan, as well as remote regions of Canada. She spends her free time backpacking and exploring new and unchartered territory on all of her outdoor expeditions.

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