|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – November 2008
In this ultimate guide to the country's favorite footpath, you'll find our picks for the best hiking and camping, and a complete plan for thru-hikers. Plus, meet a man who has made it his job to help AT hikers.
ResourcesBooks The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's pocket-size Appalachian Trail Data Book ($6) lists distances between key points like shelters, water sources, and town services; The Thru-Hiker's Companion ($14) is larger with more details about trail facilities and towns. Get them both at appalachiantrail.org. Websites
Break the Rules Purists might balk, but these alternative itineraries allow more flexibility and optimum trail conditions. Section hiking: Tackle the trail in vacation-size stages over many years. Flip-flopping: Start at Springer in spring and hike to Harpers Ferry, then flip to Katahdin and hike south (or vice versa). Leapfrogging: Divide the trail into thirds, hiking first the southernmost, then northernmost, then middle. Head-starting: Begin at Damascus in April and hike north, then return in the fall and hike to Springer Mountain.