25 Thru-Hike Inspired Tattoos

Tattoos have long been humanity’s way of expressing creativity, transience, and permanency all in one. What better way to show others that you’re artistic, have a bit of an “edge”, and don’t mind having a piece of art stamped on your body for the rest of your years? According to Huffington Post, about 23% of Americans today have tattoos, and 32% of people age 30-45 have gotten inked. That’s quite a few tramp stamps. Alas, we all know most AT hikers are way too cool to ask for crappy flowers around “Luscious” at the small of their back. I did see a few tribal tattoos on my thru hike, but they were only section hikers (go figure). What I found really, really cool, though, were the AT tattoos. Most thru-hikers hadn’t gotten one yet, claiming they planned on inking themselves once they finished (myself included). There were a few former thru-hikers and trail angels, however, who had their AT ink bright and shiny for the masses to “Ooo” and “Ahh” at. We asked around the internet and got a few people to show us just how awesome/cool/super tatastic they are, here we go!  Be sure to check out our updated list of Appalachian Trail Tattoos as well.


First off, there’s Guinness, a 2011 thru-hiker:

Look at the colorrrss!

Look at the colorrrss!

Then there’s the standard, yet solid AT logo from BooBoo, a 2000 thru-hiker:


Simple, yet sweet.

Or how about Hudson’s (who is currently thru-hiking) inventive and very appropriate farmer holding some big hiking sticks:

Farmers can hike, too.

And here we have Geared Up donning the classic AT signpost:

Green. Just like the tunnel.

Green. Just like the tunnel.

Elysia took this one at the Inn at The Long Trail with two shots of Tullamore Dew:

Shots. Shots. Shots. Shots. Shots. Tats. Shots.

Shots. Shots. Shots. Shots. Shots. Tats. Shots.

Then there’s legion, who hiked the AT and got the logo/map on his leg. Then he did the same for the PCT. Can we say “bad f***ing ass”?

We're requesting his calf skin be placed in a picture frame once he kicks it.

We’re requesting his calf skin be placed in a picture frame once he kicks it.

This may be a bit narcissistic, but it’s ok because I said that. Here’s the one I got just last week:

It's actually the number of jelly beans in the jar.

It’s actually the number of jelly beans in the jar.

BONUS UPDATE: Here are X more, posted onto the Appalachian Trials Facebook Page.

Danny Hopson with a classy boot footprint.

appalachian trail boots tattoo

Cheesewiz sporting an intricate AT map / scroll.

cheesewhiz appalachian trail scroll tattoo

This classic tat belongs to Stinky.

katahdin at springer tattoo

Spider and co. with the matching tats.

matching at tattoos

The Mayor.  Also, that’s not a red outline, just blood.

still bloody at tattoo


Beautiful black and white concentric bootprints for Tony Janisch.


black and white footprint tattoo

And the undeniable thru-hiker sentiment from Chris Stiles.

mountains calling tattoo

Bonzo (NOBO ’97), bringing sexy back (get it?)

AT Tat Bonzo 97

Thin Mint (2014) sporting some GA>ME.

Thin Mint (2014) sporting some GA>ME.

Invictus (NOBO 2013) is forever heading north.

Invictus (2013) is forever heading north

Ian Young with the full leg mural.

ian young with the full leg mural


Maria Wishart: “Trail name is peanut-b but my son’s trail name for me is Mama Bear, hence why the bear is holding a jar of peanut butter. The white blaze on the tree and my Deuter pack leaning up against the tree.”

Maria Wishart

Minimalist. AT ’99 with LT ’02”


Trevor Pyke (SOBO 2013) and his half-arm SOBO tat

Trevor Pyke (SOBO 2013) and his half-arm SOBO tat

David Trevor Frye Class of 2009

David Trevor Frye Class of 2009

Here’s Josh Pruitt’s half-complete Appalachian Trail sleeve.  Can’t wait to see the finished product.


Count the tree rings.  That’s how many awesomes Erick Gaudreau’s tattoo is.



I’m going to be honest: to me, there’s no way you can hike 2185.3 miles and not get a tattoo commemorating the feat. But I also have a tattoo of Treetar (that’s a guitar-shaped tree) commemorating my 10th anniversary of first picking one up, so you be the judge. Either way, make sure you think long and hard about whether or not you want something embedded in your skin for the rest of your life. Or just be like Ice-T and say f**k it.

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Comments 7

  • Jared : Sep 17th

    Here is mine. Just got it on Tuesday.

    Turbo, class of 2015

  • Twinville Trekker : Dec 13th

    The tat of the guy holding two branches is obviously not a farmer. Sheesh! The guy is wearing a hiking hat not a straw hat. The guy is a hiker!

    • Gregory Ringele : May 6th

      Looks like “Hudsons” tat.

  • Louisa : Oct 13th

    Hi Evan,

    I work for Backpacker Magazine, and we would like to talk to you about publishing a few of these photos in our next issue which is dedicated to thru-hiking. Please email me. Thanks! [email protected]

  • Will : Oct 18th

    Twinville- I think that might be more than just any old hiker. My guess would be a park ranger by the shape of the hat and outline of the rest of the body and boots. Unless they know something we don’t…

  • Lindsay : Oct 19th

    I just finished my 2189 miles this year and I have one! Coordinates of Springer and Katahdin on my arm

  • MoFo : Apr 5th

    Nice article and pics!


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