2018 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Registration Now Open
Attention all aspiring 2018 thru-hikers—the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC’s) form is now open to register your start date and location for next year’s thru-hike.
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.
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 non-traditional thru-hike (SOBO/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 2017. Check it out here. They will be updating with the 2018 charts as the season progresses.
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