View Full Version : Pharmacies along the trail?

07-24-2004, 12:14
I have a medical condition which requires daily medication. If I thru hike I will probably need to visit pharmacies along the trail unless I can have meds mailed to me. Curious as to the frequency of pharmacies along the trail. IE, are there enough that I'd find one at least once a month on a thru-hike?



07-24-2004, 12:59
I have only hiked from Springer to Bland VA but in that section of the trail I can tell you that finding a pharmacy on a monthly basis would be no trouble. There is, or at least I would be willing to bet there is, a pharmacy in Hiawasse, Franklin, Gatlinburg, Erwin, I think there is one in Damascus, and in other places where you might not find a pharmacy, Hot Springs, NOC, you should have no trouble getting a ride to a pharmacy.

One thing I would reccomend is thinking about the types of medications you take, if your condition is treated with a medication that isn't commonly used you might find that a pharmacy in a smaller town doesn't have what you are needing. They can get it, probably within a day or two, but you have to make sure you have a day or two to wait. I am diabetic and take a fairly new type of insulin that many pharmacies, even in larger cities, don't stock. So keep this in mind.

Pencil Pusher
07-24-2004, 13:13
You could do a bounce box as well. It's a box you'd put your meds in and ship to a post office ahead of you on the trail. When you get there, you restock from the box and ship it ahead again. Though a safety stock would be a good idea, just in case there's a mixup with your box.

Conversely, another hiker who's diabetic is taking two pounds of insulin for his Long Trail hike. It sounds like he took enough for the trip and if that's the case, two pounds doesn't sound bad for a month's supply. Enjoy your time hiking, hope this helps.

07-24-2004, 13:26
Thanks for the replies! It helps. Do you think the ATC would have a listing of pharmacies along the trail?


Jack Tarlin
07-24-2004, 14:38

There are absolutely pharmacies every month or so on the Trail; in fact, you wouldn't have to go a month.

Off the top of my head:

Assuming you start with whatever medications you need, you can resupply in such places as Gatlinburg, Erwin, Damascus/Abingdon, Pearisburg, Troutville, Waynesboro, Charles Town (WV, near Harper's Ferry), East Stroudsburg (near Delaware Water Gap), Williamstown MA, Manchester Center, Hanover, and Gorham. These are some that come immediately to mind; there are certainly other ones on or very near the Trail, so monthly or near-monthly resupply shouldn't be a problem

07-26-2004, 00:27
Just off the top of my head I remember Salisbury CT and Great Barrington MA having pharmacies. You can also catch a ride to Bingham ME from Caratunk which has a pharmacy. You should be good to go.

07-26-2004, 00:56
Thanks thanks thanks, will have to write down the towns. I may also contact the ATC and see if they know of nearby pharms.



07-26-2004, 11:05
Thanks thanks thanks, will have to write down the towns. I may also contact the ATC and see if they know of nearby pharms.

While the presence of pharmacies shouldn't be a big issue, getting refills of prescriptions from out of state may be a bigger problem. If you are after controlled substances, I'd probably work with your local pharmacist and doctor to forward supplies to you.

Otherwise, I'd ask your local doctor for a letter of introduction on his letterhead, and a few copies of the prescriptions of needed meds. This will make it easier for a suspicious/cautious pharmacist to verify the prescription and refill request. I'd laminate these, or at least keep in a well sealed Ziplock.


07-26-2004, 11:27
I find it much easier to use next day air and have my meds mailed from home.

this of course depends upon you having a very trustworthy person at home to manage the pick ups and mailings.

07-26-2004, 14:23
Last year a hiker needed a prescription filled and the only pharmacy within walking distance in town was closed on Sunday...having said that...I believe a new "chain" drug store is going in down the street across from the Post Office so it shouldn't be a problem next year. I thought it kind of odd that a drug store was closed on Sundays.

07-26-2004, 21:06
Here's a link to a site I used to find addresses of supermarkets and hardware stores ( for food and fuel ) when I plan long distance hikes and hobo travels.
http://www.citysearch.com/ You can find details like if the store or pharmacy is open 24 hours, and get maps with a click.

TJ aka Teej
07-26-2004, 22:00
Curious as to the frequency of pharmacies along the trail. IE, are there enough that I'd find one at least once a month on a thru-hike?

Pharmacies are listed in the Trail town descriptions in both the ALDHA Companion and Trailplace's Handbook. You can view the 2004 Thruhiker's Companion for free online at www.aldha.org (http://www.aldha.org) Check the hours of operation, and consider having your meds mailed to you instead.

07-27-2004, 00:45
Thanks everyone for the info. It looks like I'll make arrangements with my doctor and have my parents mail me the meds each month. If that is feasible, and I think it is, it takes away a lot of the guesswork (ie, is the pharmacy going to be open? will they have what I need in stock? etc.).



08-30-2010, 01:35
id like to also thank everyone for their info. dug up this old thread for my thru hiike. i have diabetes but insulin is sold without a prescription so i plan to make monthly stops along the way.. got my 2010 thru hikers companion ordered and on the way so between that and the towns listed here i feel alot better about the subject. thanks to all

Doc Mike
08-30-2010, 07:26
Just a suggestion for meds not requiring special care such as insulin. Get a 3 month supply before leaving and use a bounce box or just carry them.

If you use a national chain they can be filled at any of their stores. (walmart, rite aid, cvs, etc)

Doc Mike

Old Grouse
08-30-2010, 08:52
There's a pharmacy in the center of Kent CT.

08-30-2010, 13:54
doc mike.. insulin only lasts for thirty days without refridgeration, so carrying 3 months worth at a time isnt possible. insulin does last almost indefinitely in the fridge tho, but as i dont see myself carrying a refridgeration unit, ill have to resupply once a month.. thas why alot of times u hear the monthly re up comment in pharmacy posts im guessing.. speaking of walmart, anyone know where any might be located on the trail? walmart has insulin especially made for their stores which is 40 percent cheaper than the average pharmacy.

Doc Mike
08-30-2010, 19:54
Iron guts, might have confused you when I left out the punctuation.

For meds not requiring special care. Obviously insulin does and so do many other meds.

But for the run of the mill hypertension and cholesterol meds a 3 month supply would save time and miles in finding a pharmacy. Besides with 3 months at a time you usually save money over one month at a time.

BTW all insulin is not created equal so make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. If you are doing the trail I would recommend the insulin pens since no syringes to draw up and less chance of contamination in a not so clean environment.

Doc Mike

08-30-2010, 23:16
yep got my pens at the ready my friend. yeah misunderstood your post.

08-31-2010, 13:34
YES. You will come across, at THE VERY LEAST, 1 pharmacy per month.