View Full Version : Thru hiker counts

08-23-2005, 20:10
I use to have a web page, that told thru hiker counts. Couple of places down south, Harpers Ferry, etc. I don't know if it was ATC web page or what, but I can't find it now. Anyone out there help me? Thanks in advance



TJ aka Teej
08-23-2005, 20:14

Accuracy of the numbers and conclusions are debatable.
Katahdin Stream Rangers are numbering finishing northbound thruhikers at 130+ right about now.

08-23-2005, 21:16
Interesting stuff...why do you think the number of people starting the trail is declining so much year by year?

08-24-2005, 00:34
Interesting stuff...why do you think the number of people starting the trail is declining so much year by year?I think it has a lot to do with todays generation. It keeps declining every year. Just take a look around. How many kids to you see walking around or riding bikes today? Not as many as you use to. I remember when I was younger I had friends that lived 5 miles from my house. I would either walk or ride my bike to there house or even hitch hike. But the kids today will not do that. If mommmy or daddy will not give them a ride to there friends house then they will just stay home and play on there play station or talk on the phone. They are just getting lazyer every year.

08-24-2005, 03:58
There was a big bulge in the count of thru-hikers in 1999 and 2000 (I remember people getting worried that the trail was going to end up end-to-end hikers in a few years), but it's gradually declined since then. My guess is that the "bulge" was largely the result of Bryson's book, which gave a lot of publicity to the AT (and I can speak personally here... this book inspired me to start my section hike). As the book recedes into the past, the numbers have dropped off gradually. If they ever make a movie of Bryson's book (it's not clear at what stage the plans are for this), we'll probably get a big burst of hikers again.

08-24-2005, 04:48
TJ, and all others, thank you. I had the correct web site, but it had been changed, i.e. I couldn't find the info. Thanks again.



neighbor dave
08-24-2005, 08:20
as of 8-20-05 there are over 135 finishers on katahdin!!! i was # 130,chickety was #131, and airbus was #132!!!!!:jump :banana :jump :banana :jump :banana

TJ aka Teej
08-24-2005, 10:40
...why do you think the number of people starting the trail is declining so much year by year?
Could it be the Internet? Once apon a time people had to don pack and boots to find out about the Appalachian Trail. Not all that long ago all you could get from the ATC was a few brochures, and the only thru-hiking guide was a thin unofficial Philosopher's Guide. Ten years ago the Web had just Kathy Bilton's AT page (still here at http://www.fred.net/kathy/at.html ) and the at-l email-list (still here at www.backcountry.net (http://www.backcountry.net) ). Now there's scores of personal hiker webpages and blogs, dozens of sites like the ATC's, Wingfoot's, ALDHA, Rock's, GearTest, BackpackingLight, Trail Journals, and WhiteBlaze. Maybe there's *too much* AT info out there now, maybe the AT info isn't positive enough, maybe all the information about *other* trails is drawing off potential ATers...

That being said, I can remember Ed Garvey's "Appalachian Hiker" being blamed for bringing *too many* people out to the Trail. :D

08-24-2005, 11:00
Not sure I agree with the premise that the number of AT hikers starting the trail is down. I base that statement on the fact that the whole process of accounting for hikers on the trail, be it the starting number or the finishing number is highly questionable.

About all we have to go by are numbers accumulated at various check points along the trail and the number of hikers who submit trail completion paperwork to the ATC.

Some hikers start and don't sign in. Some start and quit in the first week. Some jump on the trail at other points than the southern and northern terminus. Some hikers complete the entire trail and don't send in paperwork.

Its a moving target and virtually impossible to accurately estimate given the current tracking methods.


08-24-2005, 13:57
i speculate that there was a spike in thru-hikers after "a walk in the woods" came out and it's been declining since then. it'll jump back up once some other book or film on the a.t. pierces the popular culture

08-25-2005, 18:03
if they make that dam movie then the trail will be overrun alot more than when the book came out.the completion rate would be around 10-12% or less,as it was in 2000 and 2001 if you go to atc website.
i fear for the trail sometimes,i keep thinking back to new found gap,how many of those people who get out of their cars and see the sign that says"AT"...how many of those cats would be turned on my a movie about the trail and decide to do it,where if they did not would just turn away in their cars and forget about it...i guess it would be a good thing.... maybe in my lifetime they would issue start dates on springer,if things get to bogged down by the spring hordes..i hope it never gets like the milford track in new zealand,where due to over crowding you can only go so many miles a day..:(

Mr. Clean
08-25-2005, 18:48
Congrats to you and Chickety. I'd read about you two occasionally on trailjournals when someone met up with you. How was it?

neighbor dave
08-26-2005, 10:31
we had a great time!!!what an adventure. summit day was blue skies.

would we do it again????
cause we'd like to focus on other long distance trails,that's the only reason!
:banana :jump :banana :jump :banana :jump :clap :clap