Don’t Forget to Register Your 2019 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

Attention all aspiring 2019 thru-hikers—don’t forget to register your thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC’s) form, including start date and location.

Register Here

Registration is entirely voluntary, but helps both future thru-hikers and the ATC track the busiest start dates and locations. 

With the AT increasingly in popularity every year, the ATC has been hard at work looking for opportunities to maintain the trail as sustainably as possible while encouraging use. Voluntary registration and promoting nontraditional hikes are some actions already put in place. Even if you’re heading out for the night or taking on a section hike, the ATC’s AT Camp page will take registrations for hikes of all distances.

In 2016, nearly 80% of all attempted thru-hikers set out for a NOBO hike, with the ATC reporting an estimated 3,377 hikers beginning their hike at Springer Mountain.

Stats and image via

Hikers are free to start their thru-hike when they want, but with voluntary registration they’ll know what to expect, and can plan accordingly. For NOBOs beginning on the more popular days in early spring, the shelters and even tenting areas can run out of space. Planning a nontraditional thru-hike (SOBO or flip-flopping), or choosing to start on a less crowded day won’t just make it a more enjoyable experience for the individual hiker, it will have an overall positive impact on trail sustainability.

On the ATC’s registration page, hikers can also see how many people were registered to start on certain days in 2018 and 2019. Check it out here. They will be updating the 2019 charts as the season progresses.


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Comments 5

  • TBR : Sep 25th

    I think the ATC needs to reconsider “encouraging use” by thru-hikers, given the crowds putting pressure on the trail, the shelters and the spirit of the hike.

    • Chris : Sep 25th

      So who decides on the spirit of ones hike?

  • Dave : Nov 23rd

    Is there a start date chart for going SOBO?

    • Glenn : Dec 8th

      I am considering a SOBO and everything I have read says June 1 thru mid july. I live in Maine and am considering June 1st, black flies are abundant at that time

  • Mike : Feb 23rd

    I’ve registered for a flip flop starting in Harper’s Ferry. How/Where do I get the hang tag? Should I stop at the ATC office in Harper’s Ferry when I start my hike? What, exactly, happens there when a thru hiker starts?? Do you register again and get assigned a number like they do at Amicalola? What about the half way picture? Do you return to the ATC office on the southbound portion of your hike for a cool halfway picture? Or is that only for NOBOs?


What Do You Think?