2015 Thru-Hikers: Sneak Peek Into Another Record Year

In recent years, conservationists encouraged thru-hikers to stray from the traditional north bound hike in order to alleviate environmental impacts on trail. These efforts have paid off, considering that Alternative thru-hikers currently represent the largest increase in hikers. South Bounders exhibit the next biggest increase. And North Bounders have steadily been increasing at about the same pace (10% per year).

Hikers Photographed In Harpers Ferry as of October 9th:

• 1384 NOBOS: 9% higher than last year. The ATC approximates that 2700 hikers started in Georgia this year. This means that about 51% of hikers made it from Springer Mountain to Harpers Ferry.
• 145 SOBOS: 21% higher than last year on October 9th.
• 280 ALTERNATIVE thru-hikers: an astounding 157% increase over last year on October 9th.
Current estimates suggest that this will be the 5th record year in a row for both NOBOS and SOBOS.  This is likely the 4th record year in a row for alternative-itinerary thru-hikers, who have portrayed the most dramatic of changes.  There are several very good reasons why future AT hikers should consider a flip-flop thru-hike.

As of October 22nd, Baxter State Park has documented:

• 980 NOBOS, which represents about a 29% dropout rate between Harpers Ferry and Katahdin.
• 2,109 Long distance hikers came through the park. This number includes: NOBOS, SOBOS, ALTERNATIVE thru-hikers and hikers who hike at least 100 continuous miles from or to Baxter State Park.

As hiker-registration is not currently a requirement on the AT, these numbers are only representative of hikers who desire to be documented.

*Approximations courteously provided by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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