Hiking the Appalachian Trail can be an incredible experience, whether you make it a day trip or a longer journey. Either way, hiking the Appalachian Trail is something you have to be prepared for. There are basic rules hikers need to follow and basic supplies every hiker should bring. Find out how to make the most out of your hike with these guidelines.
Things you'll need:
- Adequate food and water
- Appropriate clothing
- Garbage bag for trash
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight if hiking past sunset
- Additional equipment if camping
- Choose Your Hike The Appalachian Trail is huge and passes through fourteen states, national forests, state parks and game lands from Georgia to Maine. Some hikers tread the entire 2,175 miles, but for most hiking, the Appalachian Trail involves a day hike or a weekend camping trip. Decide what you are ready for and determine your nearest crossroad by looking at the Appalachian Trail (AT) website's interactive map. There are over 500 roads that cross the trail and numerous parking areas along the route.
- Know the Rules Make sure you know what you can and cannot do while hiking. For example, no waste is permitted. For the most part, hikers are free to camp along the trail but there are permits that are required and fees that are charged throughout some of the national parks. Familiarize yourself with the rules that will pertain to your hike by looking at a guidebook or the AT website.
- Packing Before your Appalachian Trail hike be sure to pack appropriately. Make a list of what you will need, which depends on how long you will be hiking. If you're only going for the day, bring snacks such as trail mix or energy bars. Bring enough water to drink as well. Sunblock, insect repellent, a garbage bag, a map and compass are other essentials. Make sure your hiking shoes and clothes are comfortable and functional because a long hike is much longer than a leisurely trip to the park!
- The Hike With your bag packed with supplies and your shoes laced tightly, it's time to start your hike. Enjoy the beauty of the forests and mountains but always stay aware of your location and time frame. If you are camping, give yourself plenty of time to set up camp and start a fire before nightfall. Pace yourself while hiking and stay aware of your food and water supply. In case of emergencies, carrying a whistle with you is a good idea. Blow in it three times as a call for help.
- Cleaning Up While hiking the Appalachian Trail be sure to take care of all your waste. This footpath is shared by millions of visitors a year as well as surrounding wildlife. Do not leave behind food scraps, water bottles or any type of garbage and be sure to take care of your own human waste properly. Enjoy the hike and leave the trail as beautiful as it was when you arrived.