The Appalachian Trail is a wonderful place to backpack and hike.
It is not only beautiful but it is an important part of the conservation effort in the United States.
Each year people plan their hike along this scenic footpath.
If you are considering joining them, planning your hike before you get started is always recommended.
How Far Do You Want to Hike?
Your planning hinges on the answer to this question. Are you looking to take a short day hike? Most of those that use the trail do so as day hikers. Their goal is often just a few miles or if they are near a scenic overlook, they plan to climb that far.
Others plan a weekend backpacking trip for two or three days. You can cover at least twelve miles of the Appalachian Trail over a weekend.
You will need to prepare a little more carefully than if you were only taking a day hike. You’ll need more equipment and supplies so should plan for a heavier backpack.
Long distance hikers are often referred to as “section hikers.” They take a linear hike that lasts a week or longer. They will need the same types of supplies as a weekend hiker but will require more of it. They will have to carry more supplies for the longer camping trip or they must plan on resupplying while they are on the trail.
The thru hiker is one that is attempting to trek the entire Appalachian Trail in one trip. This is a huge undertaking requiring great physical and mental stamina.
This type of hike requires planning of a different sort than the other types of hikes and should not be attempted until you read the Appalachian Trail’s guide for those that are planning a thru-hike to ensure your hiking safety.
When to Hike the Appalachian Trail
During the summer the Trail is crowded and is full of biting mosquitoes and other bugs. You can access weather conditions and the best time to travel the Appalachian Trail by visiting their website. They have a host of information whether you are planning a long or short hike that can enhance your experience.
You can look at their interactive trail maps; decide where you want to begin and where you want to end up. The advice you find on the website will hold you in good stead so that your time on the Appalachian Trail is fun as well as successful.