What’s Your Trail Name? | Thru-Hiker Interviews at Trail Days 2019

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This Shakespearean quote may be true for Romeo and Juliet, but when it comes to thru-hikers a trail name comes with a lot of meaning and, usually, the sweet stench of hiker trash.

Trail names are a treasured piece of thru-hiker culture. They give hikers the opportunity to shred their real world identity for a while and fully immerse themselves in trail life. In the real world one might be John, an accountant, but on the Appalachian Trail he is Beans, a thru-hiker.  At its core, trail names allow hikers to reinvent themselves, as a thru-hike is the ideal setting to shed one’s skin and start fresh.

Although hikers can choose their own trail name, most are gifted their trail name by fellow hikers. A trail name can be based on anything from the colors you wear, the amount of times you pee, the embarrassing thing you did at camp one night, your personality, where you’re from, to the type of gear you have.  Trail names can range from the deeply sentimental, to completely frivolous.

The Trek caught up with a few dozen Appalachian Trail thru-hikers at Trail Days 2019 in Damascus to learn all about their journeys thus far.  In today’s edition, we learn what their trail names are and how they got them.

Thanks to Sawyer for partnering with The Trek and making these videos possible.  See how they’re bringing clean drinking water and changing lives by partnering with charities and Third World countries all over the world.

Don’t have a trail name yet? Find out what it is with the trail name generator! You may now call me Ms. Beast.

Here are a few more stories about how hikers got their trail names:

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Comments 1

  • Barbara Glenn : Jun 6th

    I set out on June 1,2019 to hike to Erwin,TN. I’m embarrassed to say but might as well admit it; I pooped out after climbing the East Ridge Trail to the Top of the Falls. It was hard for me to breath so I called for a ride(in tears) to come get me. One of the things I wanted most of all was a trail name. Now I’m home with only my memories and a small shiny rock.


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