View Full Version : Trial Section Recommendation

08-07-2015, 06:22
Hi All

I'm planning a thru-hike in 2017 (yes, I've left it too late for 2016 by the time I've saved up enough to take the time off work, and got myself fit!) But I'd like to hike a trial section of the trail in 2016. I figure I can test my gear, find out if I really like it, and if I'm fit enough. I've read AWOL's book and guide, and watch Red Beard on YouTube, and appreciate there are *big* differences along the trail, but wondered if anyone has any recommendations for a section that is "representative" of the AT?

If I start at Springer I guess I'll start with all the newbies, and if I go for the White Mountains I won't have had time to get fit for carrying a pack! I thought perhaps start south of Harpers Ferry so I can end up at the ATC headquarters, but not sure if that's representative of the trail?

Any thoughts?


08-07-2015, 07:09
NY east of the Hudson River headed north would be a great section for this and also easy to get to.

Gambit McCrae
08-07-2015, 07:59
Just start like the other 90% and walk north. The newbies are good entertainment and wont last thru the smokies. I've considered going back to Georgia in the spring just to see the heard for entertainment.

08-14-2015, 18:04
Really need to know how far you want to go to suggest a section!

08-14-2015, 18:05
Or how long rather...

08-14-2015, 18:10
No, GA is fairly easy. If you want a real trial go somewhere fairly hard. SW Maine is a good test. Waynesboro, VA to Erwin, TN is also good for stretching your legs.

08-14-2015, 19:54
If you make it nobo to new hampshire and maine, you will be ready for them. Nothing to worry about at all, or need to test yourself on.

A trip to US for a trial run seems superfluous. If you are in decent shape, with average pack, you will be fine.

The AT varies, but so does hikers conditioning. Very few start in really top shape.

If you want a good trial run though, hike the long trail in vermont.

08-14-2015, 20:34
It's hard to pick out a "typical" section for your trial. It would help if you could tell us how long your 2016 is and what time of year.

You don't want your trial section to be harder than average or easier than average. So I'd skip New Hampshire and Maine (hard) and Maryland & Southern Pennsylvania (easy). Starchild's suggestion of NY east of the Hudson is a good one. I have 2 other suggestions: (1) Central Massachusetts (Rt. 20 outside Lee) to Vermont and as far as you can get in Vermont, time permitting; (2) Virginia from Daleville to Waynesboro where the AT parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway but doesn't cross it as much as it does Skyline Drive further north.

Whichever route you take, good luck!