The trail's north end is the top of
Mount Katahdin in Maine; its south end is the peak of Springer Mountain in
Georgia, with an 8.8-mile approach trail from Amicalola Falls State Park to get to the start.
At the north end, Millinocket is the town to check out if you
need a hotel to hang out in; alternatively you can book a campsite at
the foot of Mt. Katahdin.
(those who take on the entire trail in one go) most often prefer
starting at the south end. Hikers can start early in the year
in (relative) warmth and hike north as the weather warms up. If you're
coming from any distance, it's usually necessary to book a shuttle from
the Atlanta airport or bus station, which will cost about $100.
Alternatively you could hitchhike.
to south the trail passes through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York State, NewJersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia,West Virginia, Tennessee,
North Carolina, Georgia. Here's a good Wikipedia page to track the trail state by state
Hard copy resources: Stackpole Books has five separate books
(scroll through the backpacking books to the five books) with excellent
written descriptions of what to expect along with detailed maps. They're in the $20 to $22 (US) range.
Amicalola Falls in the state park of the same name. It's 729 feet high and the tallest
falls in the U.S. southeast. There are 604 steps from bottom to top and it's a real test
of the beginning thru- or section-hiker's resolve. Most hikers tackle it in the same state
as I did: not as fit as I'd like to have been and carrying too much weight. Springer
Mountain seems far away at this point. May 24, 2013
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy produces an Appalachian Trail Data
Book, which is a slim hiking-friendly booklet. It's a boiled-down
version of the 11 books the Conservancy produces that have far more
detail and colour. The latest (2013) version costs $6.95 st the ATC store
If you are an extreme Spartan you could get away with this book only if you did the rest of your research online before your
walk(s). The Conservancy says it's their all-time best seller.
For the rest of us, there are the 11 guides put out by the ATC
To buy the whole lot (maps and guides) would put you out $318.50 as a
non-memeber. At that price, it would be worth becoming a basic member
of the conservancy ($35) and reducing the guide cost to $286.85 (US).
The maps are fun, but they are not really necessary on the trail unless
you're really into maps; you can always check out a general map on a
rack or wall when you get into a town if you need a general orientation.
I'd guess that the most used book on the trail is David "Awol" Miller's
"The A.T. Guide." It's detailed enough to get you from shelter to
shelter and from watering hole to watering hole, includes maps of towns
along the way, has details of where to resupply, where hostels are
available, and much much more. It's the guide I used and I highly
recommend it. It can be bought directly from Miller at his website.
While you're there, sign up for updates to the guide. he'll send you
regular updates that list trail changes, new enterprises, closed
enterprises, changed hours of operation, etc. etc.
While you're at it, get a copy of Miller's chronicle of his own
thru-hiker adventures on the trail, "Awol on the Appalachian Trail."
He's also got an unabridged audio copy of his book.
A good site for calculating distances can be found here
, based on 2013 information.
pass through national and state parks, as well as private property,
there are different regulations. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has
a page detaining regulations and permits