Appalachian Trail

Archive

Poles seem simple, but they're an important part of your hiking or backpacking kit. Here are our all-time favorites.

Only five others—all men—have completed the thru-hiker’s Holy Grail in fewer than 365 days

Told here in full for the first time, this is the horrifying story of the first murder on the Appalachian Trail, the kidnapping that followed, and how one woman learned to survive.

The route patches together portions of five other thru-hikes and includes sections of trail-less meandering through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. It's no wonder that only one person has ever completed it—yet.

Want to take the kids along? Follow these tips from families who've done it the long way.

Karel Sabbe set a new record of 41 days, 7 hours, and 39 minutes. And he did it without much money or fanfare, proving that you just gotta run like hell.

Up at 4 a.m., then run the equivalent of two marathons before dusk. Now repeat that for 45 days.

Ultrarunner Harvey Lewis is vying to clutch the fastest known time for a supported run on the 2,190-mile thru-hike—and so far he's on pace

Judy Gross started LightHeart Gear out of her house in 2006. Today, her shelters are favorites of thru-hikers across the country.

The last two tree sitters fighting the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline project in Jefferson National Forest surrendered to police. Will others take their place?

Stories—from new to very, very old—to stoke your wanderlust

Decades of political infighting have stymied construction of the North Country Trail, which, if finished, would run for 4,600 miles. Now it looks like Congress may finally be ready to get its act together.

And other things you should remember when you meet a plus-size hiker on the trail

In October, the 107-year-old Boy Scouts of America announced that it will begin accepting girls as Cub and Eagle scouts for the first time. But the Girl Rangers toppled this gender barrier more than 48 years ago.

The fight to keep a 300-mile pipeline out of Jefferson National Forest is heating up. The Forest Service has cut off all food and water supplies to the protesters, and supporters are becoming desperate to help.

In today’s era, claiming an adventure record requires more than skill. You need a laundry list of caveats and qualifiers.

With no official governing body, it’s up to athletes to prove their fastest-known-time claims. But as the stakes increase, substantiating these feats has become more complex than ever. For those who still intend to pursue an FKT, though, these guidelines will help.

Even when weight is at a premium, don't skip these items

A group of hired caretakers, called ridgerunners, are working to protect America’s favorite wilderness footpath from the hordes of people who walk it each year

Yeah, it's gross, but we have to talk about it. Here's how to prevent wet conditions from ruining your backpacking trip.

At 82 years old, Dale "Greybeard" Sanders recently became the oldest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

On October 26, Dale “Greybeard” Sanders became the oldest person to thru-hike the nation’s most iconic wilderness trail

For more than two decades, Jeff Caldwell has lured in hikers, couchsurfers, and other women (and they're almost always women), enthralling them with his tales of adventure. Then he manufactures personal crises and exploits their sympathy to rip them off. Our writer corresponded with Caldwell while he was still on the run, and came away with an intimate look at the life of a serial scammer who's found his easy marks in the outdoor community.

Christian Thomas, a.k.a. Buddy Backpacker, finished the Continental Divide Trail on September 18, becoming the youngest person to complete all three of the nation's longest hiking trails

We asked some of our favorite hiking guides to dish on the shoes and boots that they’ve fallen in love with over the years

Here's some key equipment and planning advice from a first-timer who just completed the Appalachian Trail

And the potentially catastrophic injuries he suffered make the time even more impressive

Here's everything he relied on while blazing up the trail

August’s full solar eclipse is the first visible from the United States since 1979. Traveling over 14 states on its way east, from Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse passes over the southern end of the Appalachian Trail - a 2,200-mile wilderness hike that winds from Georgia to Maine.

Another controversial speed attempt on the country's most popular trail points to the need for a better system for verifying hikers' times

Inspired by iconic American long trails, a new generation of pioneers are creating paths for hikers and bikers the world over

The Great Eastern Trail spans nine states and 1,600 miles just west of the Appalachian Trail, but private landowners, meager funding, and sluggish construction are holding up the completion of America's next big wilderness route

Part Burning Man, part Camino de Santiago, part Fringe Festival thrown in for good measure, Trail Days is 72 hours of hiking mayhem.

Facing a failed marriage and an underwhelming job, Tonya Holt decided to sell her belongings, cancel her apartment lease, and set out on a six-month wilderness backpacking trip. Who she’ll be when she finishes, she isn’t sure.

Jim Tabor began stashing hand-carved spoons along the AT six years ago as souvenirs for through-hikers. His creations have come to symbolize the generosity of the tight-knit trail community.

Watch to see why 20 Appalachian Trail thru-hikers decided to attempt the 2,200 mile journey this year.

In 1955, Emma Gatewood became the first woman to solo thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail

Dale Sanders is an 81-year-old Kentucky-born retired civil servant who's leaving his wife and dog at home for the next five months to claim a record on the country’s most popular wilderness trail

Ever wonder what type of person takes six months off to hike the famous trail? Well, here's your answer. Presenting the average AT hiker, based on data from a 2016 survey.

This year, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimates that 3,400 individuals will attempt a thru-hike, making it one of the busiest years in the trail’s history. We met up with a few of these hopefuls as they set out.

What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine during a summer of bitter political upheaval? Everything you can imagine, from scary moments of racism to new friendships to soaring epiphanies about the timeless value of America’s most storied trekking route.

As more hikers take on the 2,190-mile route each year, Lyme disease intensifies its spread across the eastern U.S.

What ruins one man's day can transform another's

Sound crazy? Not to Bekah and Derrick Quirin, who are embarking on a thru-hike with their one-year-old this March

A proposed 300-mile natural gas pipeline would cut a swath across the Appalachian Trail and could undermine protections for other National Scenic Trails across the country

In 1988, girlfriends Claudia Brenner and Rebecca Wight were attacked by Stephen Roy Carr on the Appalachian Trail.

An unknown hiker from Atlanta claims to have broken the Appalachian speed record. The question is: Can she prove it?

This spring, Virginia-based photographers Chet Strange and Parker Michels-Boyce set up a photo booth at Mile 806 of the Appalachian Trail. Using a classic studio backdrop, they captured dozens of northbound thru-hikers as they made their way toward Cold Mountain in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Strange and Michels-Boyce aimed to capture the variety of folks and personalities tackling one of America’s great trails. Here are 13 of our favorites.

GPS trackers and cell phones give us a false sense of security in the wilderness. And with more thru-hikers than ever set to take on the Appalachian Trail this year, we should be on alert.