View Full Version : NOBO or SOBO?

03-12-2006, 22:21
I just wanted to get some opinions from people who have hiked the AT. I won't be able to start the trail until May 1 (I hiked the PCT last year and want to make the Kick-Off Party). Do you think it would be better to go NOBO starting May 1, or wait until June 15 or so and go SOBO? Which way would have more fellow thru-hikers around? Thanks.


03-12-2006, 22:31
I've started the AT on May 1st and i've also southbounded. Either way, the point of doing either one is to not see as many hikers. If you want to see a lot of hikers, you need to start earlier or jump ahead. Unless you hike fast and catch up to everyone around the midpoint. (my guess) I think a soutbound is your best bet. It is a quieter hike, you will see everyone although you won't know them personally, you will get in shape FAST! and enjoy the hike more i think. Up to you! good luck and have fun.

TJ aka Teej
03-13-2006, 08:35
By mid-June around 80 southbound hikers will have left Baxter Sate Park, if the trend holds. You'll start meeting northbounders before you leave Maine, so you'll be among plenty of fellow hikers.

max patch
03-13-2006, 08:43
I left 5/1 on my nobo thru and I caught up to plenty of other hikers within a couple of weeks.

03-16-2006, 20:32
5/5 and there was plenty of people around .. and you still have plenty of time to finish , go north !!

03-16-2006, 20:37
It doesn't really matter. As RITBLAKE and UCONNMIKE. They were gonno go SOBO, then NOBO, then they agonized about going SOBO, did it, and had a great trip.

03-16-2006, 20:55
If you're an experienced hiker, starting NOBO on 5/1 will be no problem. You'll still have many other thrus around--you'll probably catch and pass many of them by Damascus. You may have a night or two without company somewhere along the way, but you won't ever be at a shelter with 25 other hikers, unless it is when you get to Baxter around October 1.

If you prefer hiking and socializing with the pack, and finances for transportation to go coast-to-coast-to-coast allow, have you considered starting April 1, taking a week off to go to the Kickoff, then coming back? Just a thought.

03-16-2006, 21:07
It doesn't really matter. As RITBLAKE and UCONNMIKE. They were gonno go SOBO, then NOBO, then they agonized about going SOBO, did it, and had a great trip.

ya, well said. we covered all the bases! (for a couple weeks we were sure we were going to flip flop) The folks on WB were great in helping us make our final decision. In the end we decided that a. we wanted a guarented chance to finish, and we wanted an end to end hike. Since we were starting in June the decision became apparent. We ended up going sobo and it turned about to be the perfect thru hike for us.

Yah there are far less people, but you end up making a super tight bond w/ a small group of folks. I know the commorodity is just as strong on a NOBO hike but as SOBO's we just felt like were a little special :) I think the sobo 'isolation' issue is overplayed. Honestly I dont think we went more then 1, maybe 2 days without seeing someone. You get to enjoy your walk with out being part of the crazy sweaty herd. To me, and I think Mike would agree, the biggest downside of a SOBO hike is the heat. (you start in the begining of Summer and it doesn't really cool off until mid October, early Nov) If the heat doesn't bother you then this won't be a factor for you. I would recomdend a sobo hike. but I would also recomend a nobo hike, in fact I would just recomend hiking any which way.