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How to Prepare to Hike the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is the premier long distance hiking route on the East Coast. Enjoy its unique opportunities to connect with nature with a solid hiking plan.


  • Step 1: Decide how far Decide how far you want to hike. A hike on the Appalachian Trail can be anything from a short day hike to a 2,175-mile trip along the entire length of the trail.
  • Step 2: Consider when you want to hike. If possible, plan to avoid times when the trail is muddy, crowded, or plagued with insects.
  • TIP: A northbound hike from Georgia to Maine typically begins in March or April and ends in September. The reverse route is usually hiked between June or July and November.
  • Step 3: Decide where Give some thought to where you want to hike. Identify a section of the trail, and consult a guidebook to become familiar with the route.
  • Step 4: Decide how much Determine how much distance you can realistically cover. Don't expect to cover more than 8 miles a day at first.
  • Step 5: Take some practice hikes Take a few overnight practice hikes if you are planning to hike a long stretch of the trail.
  • Step 6: Travel light Plan to travel light. Your backpack should weigh no more that 25 to 40 pounds if you will be hiking the entire trail. There will be plenty of opportunities to resupply along the way. Happy trails!
  • FACT: Work on the Appalachian Trail began in 1928 and was completed in 1937.

You Will Need

  • Desired distance
  • Desidred season
  • Desired location
  • Practice hikes
  • Light pack

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