The Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia, is the most popular hiking destination on the East Coast. Perfect for the most experienced and adventurous campers, the Appalachian Trail also features day trips suitable for novice hikers and nature lovers who prefer a mere stroll. Regardless of experience level, there are four main tips for section hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Plan Ahead

Planning an expedition through the Appalachian Trail requires an understanding of the terrain. Hikers should also consider their abilities and the purpose of the section hiking. Sightseers will likely need less gear and planning than serious hikers who plan to spend nights in the wilderness. Different times of the year will affect travel and hiking conditions. When choosing when to begin a section hiking trip, first decide which season, scenery, and activities are the top priority.

Shuttle and Lodging Expenses

Section hiking requires some thought in regards to transportation and lodging. Shuttle expenses and off-trail hostels or other overnight accommodations are generally the most significant part of an Appalachian Trail hiking budget. Planning the logistics is relatively easy thanks to modern GPS technology and well-marked mile indicators. However, when relying on shuttle services, there is little room for spontaneous plan changes.

Adequate Preparations

Whether backpacking, day hiking, or extended camping, there are some essentials for any Appalachian Trail visit. Emergency first aid supplies and protection from insect bites are crucial. Maps or other documentation listing necessary services, water sources, lodging, and other landmarks is another mandatory feature for any hiking expedition. Food, water, and a multi-use tool kit are standard essentials for any camping or hiking trip.

Wildlife Encounters

The Appalachian Trail is fully stocked with all the beauty nature has to offer. This includes several different types of wildlife, some of which are potentially dangerous to humans. Black bears, copperheads and other venomous snakes, and mountain lions could be prevalent in some areas. Foxes, deer, rabbits, and several species of birds are also visible throughout these popular trails. Most animals prefer their solitude and will not harm hikers. The best course of action is not to engage or provoke wildlife and take care not to disturb their nests, dens, or other living areas.