How To Hike The Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail on a sunny day.
Appalachian Trail on a sunny day.
  • Hikers need to store food in a bear can as high up a tree as┬ápossible
  • You will need close to 5,000 calories a day during an Appalachian Trail hike
  • Hikers should urinate In the woods away from shelters and campsites

Traveling on the Appalachian Trail can be one of the most rewarding experiences for hikers. This is a challenging trail that requires preparation and training. The trail spans across fourteen different states. The wildlife along the trail is plentiful, and hikers may see bears, wild ponies, and numerous bird species. Less than 15,000 people have finished the entire hike. The trail consists of frequent changes in elevation, and completing the trail is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest about sixteen times.

Pack the Proper Equipment

Packing gear for your Appalachian Trail hike can be challenging because you need to be prepared for any scenario, but you can not have too heavy of a load. The Appalachian Trail is 2,190 miles long, so you will not be able to carry a heavy pack. Essentials you should pack include a sturdy backpack, rain gear, bug repellent, light, compact tent, water filter, a bear can, toilet kit, compass, maps, and a first aid kit.

Train Before You Go

The Appalachian Trail is very long, and it also very steep with difficult terrain. Before you go, test all your gear and train your body. Cardio and weightlifting are essential if you want to be physically fit enough to tackle the Appalachian Trail. Stretching, yoga, and meditation are also useful when preparing yourself for the trek. Wear your gear or add weights when doing cardio.

Pack the Right Food

You will need close to 5,000 calories a day when hiking the Appalachian Trail. Food is fuel, and it is important to put the right fuel in the tank. Healthy food is best, but it is also a good idea to pack some high-calorie snacks that can give you some quick energy. Make sure you have a wide variety of food. If you eat the same things every day you will get bored. There are numerous mail drops along the Appalachian Trail where you can send your food, but you should also keep some calories in your pack. Be sure to tie your food in your bear can as high up as possible. Twelve feet above the ground and six feet from a tree trunk or limb is a safe distance. Make sure you cook and store your food away from your campsite. Dehydrated food is convenient, and be sure to use a camping stove instead of a campfire.

Remember the Leave No Trace Rule

Pack up all your garbage before you leave, and if you see litter along your hike pick that up, too. Remember the phrase: "pack it in, pack it out." The privies (outhouses) along the trail are only for feces. Urinate In the woods away from shelters and campsites. If there is no privy then you should bury your fences in a cat hole. Pack out your disposable wipes or toilet paper, too. Most disposable wipes are not biodegradable, and toilet paper can be dug up by animals.

Stay Safe and Prepare

The Appalachian Trail is extremely challenging, and if you do not prepare properly there will be problems. Hikers need to train before the hike and pack all the required gear. Remember to respect your surroundings and nature. The terrain can be hazardous, and bears pose a serious safety risk.


More in Travel