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  1. #1

    Default Visitation Sites Northbound

    What are some of the easiest access or best towns for meeting a family member or friend while doing a thru hike? I'm planning a 2022 northbound hike and wanted to start planning were I can meet up a few times during my hike. Closeness of an airport and short rental car drive would probably be best. Thanks!

  2. #2


    Pretty much anywhere along the trail is within a 2 hour drive of a major airport until you get up to NH/ Maine. Then your drive time goes from 2 hours to 4 hours.

    Some fun towns along the way:
    Helen, GA
    Gatlinburg, TN
    Damascus, VA
    Washington, DC

    Harpers Ferry, WV
    New York City

    Harrisburg, PA

    Hanover, NH
    Bethel, ME
    Once you get up into CT north take advantage of the small town America of New England
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 12-03-2020 at 17:37.
    Trail Miles: 4,007.6 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 84.0
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  3. #3


    To the above I would add Roanoke, VA. Located exactly where you need to break this Virginia blues.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Northern Virginia


    Driving distances:

    The trail from Front Royal to Harper's Ferry is between 35 minutes (Snickers Gap) and 55 minutes (Harper's Ferry) from Dulles Airport. The trail in Maryland is between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes from BWI Airport.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    northern whites


    Gorham NH and Bethel Maine are almost the same distance from the Portland Maine airport. Gorham is 81 miles. Both are tourist towns but Gorham is right in the middle of the northern whites. If you can convince them to stay a night or two they can slackpack you for a day or so. Unless you are still a purist by the time you get to the whites, the opportunity to do a day or two of slackpacking is a major pick me up especially given the hassle finding legal camping spots along the ridge. Sadly unless they are in very good shape they will not be able to keep up with you on a hike as the AT near Gorham and north of Bethel is as rough as it gets. If they pick Gorham there is also the opportunity for them to drive up to the summit of Mt Washington by a private autoroad or take a van up or take the cog railroad up from the other side (both charge for the privilege. On a good day they can see many miles of the trail you are hiking.

    Flights into Boston are typically less costly than Portland as there are more airlines that fly to Boston but its about 3.5 hours from the airport to Gorham if they miss rush hour. Boston drivers practice combat driving and it can be scary for someone not used to it and its not easy to navigate out of town. Portland on the other hand is super convenient with minimal traffic. One caution about flying into Portland is Gorham Maine is about 15 minutes from the airport while Gorham NH is 2 hours. The local road signs are pointing to Gorham Maine.

    Both Bethel and Gorham are busy most weekends in the summer although Gorham is busier with ATV traffic. There are not many chain hotels in either location but many independents. There also can be deals at the Ski resort near Bethel. There are also air B&Bs sprinkled around the area. There are more chains and room down in North Conway NH and closer to the airports but less convenient to the trail.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 12-10-2020 at 08:01.

  6. #6
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    Constant Amazement


    I would say that an easy and inexpensive place for a family visit in New England would be Rutland, Vermont. Fly to Burlington and drive a rental to Rutland -- it's about 60 miles of easy rural driving, so there's no fighting with big-city traffic. Rutland has several very inexpensive motels, so sticking around for 3 or 4 days wouldn't be outrageously costly. The people in Vermont are very welcoming.

  7. #7
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Marlboro, MA
    Journal Entries


    For New England, I would recommend your friends and family fly into Manchester, NH [MHT], rent a car, and then stay in the large room /suite at the Notch Hostel.

    Super clean, with private bath and entrance for them but still connected to communal area. You can stay in the bunk room. Good vibe there between all different kinds of folks old young, thrus or peak baggers and just people enjoying their different adventures.

    You would have a gazillion opportunities to hike a short section with them, or meet up with them at great back country spotsó with them taking the short way in. Their car opens up many possibilities, and would allow them to have a great vacation even when you are not around.

    At a minimum, worth a Google.

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