Sneak Peek: 2016 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Stats

There was a lot of talk this time last year about what to expect from a record-breaking 2016 season. Thanks to an onslaught of sustainability efforts, LNT initiatives, and encouraging of non-traditional thru-hikes, the Trail community was on top of it. We checked in with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and got the numbers for what the 2016 season actually looked like.* The numbers were record-breaking indeed, so let’s put our hands together for everyone who did their part to leave the Trail better than they found it. Here’s a sampling of the overall numbers from this past year.

Note: Not all hikes have been reported, so these numbers are best guesses based on current reporting. 

Northbound Thru-Hikers

nobo

NOBO thru-hikers accounted for 77.6% of 2016 thru-hikers

3,377 : NOBO thru-hikers (estimated) who started in Georgia: 25% increase over 2015 NOBO starts
1,537: NOBO thru-hikers photographed at ATC Headquarters in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
1,231: NOBO thru-hikers registered in Baxter State Park, Maine: 23% increase over 2015 NOBO finishers

These finishers represent 36% of hikers who started a NOBO thru-hike, which is a higher ratio than the popular assumption of a 20-25% success rate.

Southbound Thru-Hikers

sobo

SOBO thru-hikers accounted for 11.26% of 2016 thru-hikers 

490: SOBO thru-hikers who started in Baxter State Park: 19% increase over 2015 SOBO starts
259: SOBO thru-hikers photographed at ATC Headquarters in Harpers Ferry: 34% increase over 2015 

Harper’s Ferry represents 53% of SOBO starters. We have not been provided with the completion numbers for SOBOs as of publication.  

 

Flip-Flop Thru-Hikers

485: Hikers who registered their intention to start a flip-flop in 2016:
366: Hikers photographed at ATC Headquarters
~98: Started in Georgia
~268: Started mid-trail (generally Virginia or West Virginia)

The ATC noted the surprising amount of starting locations used by 2016 Flip-Floppers. The ATC noted dozens of locations to start and finish flip-flop hikes, ranging mid-trail from North Carolina all the way up to New England.

The ATC’s online registration initiative was a success, with 70% of NOBO thru-hikers registering their intent to hike, as well as their starting location and date. This helped spread the start dates out, and allowed thru-hiker hopefuls to see the less-busy intended start dates. In total, over 3,000 people registered their intention to thru-hike. Let’s keep that trend going! Check out the 2017 registration charts here.

 

*All 2016 numbers courtesy ATC, January 18 2017. All 2015 numbers were taken from an ATC report from December 18, 2015

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • Jack : Oct 11th

    You ralize what Pastor Johɑnsson advised us on Sunday is that Ꮐod
    actually likes worship. Daddy added.

    Reply

What Do You Think?