The Best Towns to Send Mail Drops on the Appalachian Trail
Amongst thru-hikers, there is little-to-no agreement about the number of mail drops to send. Some will send dozens, others prefer not to send any. I side with the latter ideology and explain this rationale here: “How many mail drops should you send on the Appalachian Trail?” The article both outlines why I think it’s better to send fewer mail drops as well as the exceptions to this rule.
Sending mail drops often translates to buying and shipping yourself groceries before your hike instead of buying groceries during your hike. It sounds dumb, and in most situations, it is. There are a few spots on the Trail however that have limited and/or expensive resupply options. It is these locations where one can actually save some money and/or not be forced to eat trail mix and Cheetos for three consecutive days.
If you are going to send mail drops, below are the towns that are the most beneficial to do so.
The Best Towns to Send Mail Drops on the Appalachian Trail
1) Nantahala Outdoor Center (The NOC)
Where to send your mail drop: NOC Outfitters (13078 Hwy 19W, Bryson City, NC 28713)
Although a hiker favorite for a place to kickback and drink a beer (mine as well), the NOC resupply options are limited and over-priced, and chances are you’ll probably end up spending more than you’d like at one of their restaurants. This would be a good location to send a small mail drop. Fontana Dam is only 27 miles up the Trail. And speaking of…
2) Fontana Village
Where to send your mail drop: Fontana Lodge (ATTN: Front Desk, 300 Woods Dr., Fontana Damn, NC 28733)
You will need to resupply at Fontana Village since it’s on the southern border of the Smokies. Your only option to resupply in town is at the General Store, which has a moderate selection, but is expensive (because it’s the only option and resupply is necessary). Plan to send 3-4 days worth of food if stopping at Gatlinburg or 7 days if walking all the way through.
3) Bland, VA
Where to send your mail drop: Post Office (Bland, VA 24315) or Big Walker Motel (for guests only) (70 Skyview Lane, Bland, VA 24315)
Although AWOL’s 2014 Guide lists a Dollar General, Bland was one of towns the 2013 thru-hikers most recommended sending a mail drop to. Garrett Fondoules adds that it was it was, ” greatest resupply disappointment”.
4) Harper’s Ferry, WV
Where to send your mail drop: ATC HQ (If sending USPS, send to PO Box 807, otherwise send to 799 Washington St., Harpers Ferry, WV 25425)
Harper’s Ferry is quaint, beautiful, and the unofficial halfway point on the AT. It’s also one of the more difficult resupply locations. The options at the Outfitter and Town’s Inn are pricey, and your only other option is a 7-11 a short hitch away.
5) Caratunk, ME
Where to send your mail drop: Post office (Caratunk, ME 04925)
Again, although AWOL’s Guide lists Berry’s General Store and The Sterling Inn, Caratunk was one of the towns the 2013 thru-hikers had the most trouble with. Kyle Bizzle says “Caratunk has nothing”. James Limey Parker says “Caratunk is crap.” You get the point.
6) Monson, ME
Where to send your mail drop: Lakeshore House – $5 fee for non guests (If sending USPS, send to PO Box 215, otherwise send to C/O Lakeshore House, Monson, ME 04464), Shaw’s Lodging – $5 for non guests (If sending USPS, sent to PO Box 72, otherwise send to 17 Pleasant St., Monson, ME 04464).
Like Fontana, Monson requires a heavy resupply as this is the southern border of the 100-mile wilderness. A very worthy alternative to sending yourself a mail drop here is to resupply at Greenville (a short hitch or shuttle ride from one of the hostels) which provides much better options.
There are others that could be added to this list (Neels Gap, Standing Bear Farm, Delaware Water Gap, Salisbury, Glencliff, and more) but these are the six I feel present the biggest challenge in terms of not offering a convenient alternative. Less is more.
As always, we are listening. Let us know in the comments below if we missed any essential mail drop locations. Also recommended, check out Baltimore Jack’s resupply guide here. Some of the information has changed since he wrote it in 2007, but it still presents a great overall picture for resupplying on the AT.
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is Stratton, ME any good for resupply?
What about south bound mail drops?
South boumd amd north bound cover the same spots…the only difference is,which shoulder the sun rises and sets on. Port clinton will hold…and the pavilion down the road is covered and dry..a good place to take in the night and go through your goodies.
.townspeople leave food and clothing there
.trail of hope hostile just south of quarry gap shelter..25 a night laundry on site..good people..free meal on Wednesday night…will shuttle to,dollar general as well
501 shelter..you can get a uber into town for 15 round trip and you can have pizza delivered
Connecticut is short lived but there are two postal drops within 2 miles
New York and jersey have plenty
Delaware water gap has a church basement (suggested 3 dollar donation) hot showers…PO is next block over but they open late…guves you time to head down the hill…pizza…bakery…shirt term resupply atv2 gas stations..the,one on the left is wayyyy cheaper than the one on the right..also a Barbacue restuarant in the same area…all 1/2 milebfromnthe,church and post office…worth the stay before heading up council rock my minsi.a few close stops in MA…rutland VT is right on the trail…etc..need more?
Wow very extensive. If you are still active on here do you mind reaching out to me I have a couple questions
https://www.soruck.net/at/ has a pre-made label to print out based on locations along the AT. Highly recommend it for section and thru-hikers.
Six mail drops for the entire 2,000 mile trail. Really?
I did no mail drops…..just look at the guidebook for spots in town within 2 miles of the trail..3/4 of the time you will get a ride just by looking like a trough hiker
How early is too early for a mail drop? I would prefer to resupply during the hike, but understand some points may not be equipped to provide needed supplies.
this is the Glencliff, NH post office. We are directly across the street from Hikers Welcome hostile. Send your supplies addressed to Hikers Welcome, Box 25, Glencliff, NH 03238. Put your ETA if possible. All packages mailed this way will be waiting for you at the hostile.
Please add the address for Glencliff, NH to your list: NAME/c/o Hikers Welcome/PO Box 25/Glencliff, NH 03238. The hours at the post office are 12:OO -2:00pm m-f Saturday 7am-1pm. If they address their packages in this way, the hostile will pick up their packages and they will be available for pickup there. Please have them put an ETA if possible. Thanks Deb Dickmann/Postmaster, Glencliff, NH
This is good to know, thank you!
Do you have to ask each of these locations for permission to send packages and is this list up to date?
No..but if you send priority there might be a charge they have to pay..i know of three hikers who sent into port clinton and the location had to pay 3 dollars since the sender sent it priority…i didn’t understand why..just know it should just be sent regular mail
Do these towns work for a SOBO thru-hike?
A sobo and novo are just hikers passing each other in different directions…the trail is not different..the,view is…youre heading south
.they are heading north…so if you drive north on main Street and there is a CVS…the folks on the other side of the road heading towards you see the same CVS..
Mostly they do, but keep in mind that the reason the article above recommends you get a decent mail drop at Monson is because you’re about to enter the 100 Mile Wilderness and you’ll need more food than a normal resupply of two or three days. If you’re going SOBO, that will not be the case and you wouldn’t need a big resupply since you’re going south towards civilization. Going SOBO, you’d need your big 100 Mile Wilderness resupply before summiting Katahdin or at Baxter State Park, since there’s no resupply at Abol Bridge (where you enter the wilderness).
Someone should do a top five or six mail drop locations for a SOBO hike. It would be slightly different, but I don’t think you’d
A tip I’m sure listed elsewhere, do not for any reason prepack and SEAL your mail drop boxes, assuming you have a reliable person who can adjust the contents before shipping. There will be food & other items that sound good at home, but weeks down trail , , , , let’s just say I can’t stand to even look at a Belvita after my 2016 section. I absolutely LOVED them are hike! Wingfoot felt the same about banana chips.
Do be sure of the reliability of your support person!!! Be sure to update them often, AND give them at least a week heads up “I’ll ba at XYZ in 8 days, please take out item ABC & replace it with MNOP! THANK YOU!!”
See you down the trail!
We accept mail drops for free for those staying with us and a modest $5.00 for those who do not. We are also offering a Hiker Get Well Kit that can be dispatched within two days that includes items you may need to get well quickly. It includes many things that you can not find easily at stores. Herbal remedies and oils like CBD Oil, GSE (a must have for colds and sinus infections – will also purify water). Black Seed Oil, Oregano Oil and more. All in small reusable containers. Hikers use the Kit and then send it back in the same box avoiding postage. We restock what items you used and have it ready for your next encounter with trail crude or other condition. Email us for more information and prices. A standard kit charge plus a service fee each time you have your kit deployed. Happy Hiking!!
SufiLodge.org (mile 519.3) Dickey Gap
67 High Country Lane
Troutdale, Virginia 24378
Land (276) 677-0195
This is great, thanks!
I know the PO is pretty rigid on their requirements for identification but I am prone to losing things (or as i like to rebelliously exclaim; misplace, lol ?) are these places above as rigid? Because I’d rather just leave my wallet ? at home if possible. Thanks!
.do,NOT try to be sit and send weed to a hostile that accepts packages…i,know three that are owned by retired state police….you will have a nice suprise when you go get your box
IMPORTANT Note, the addresss for NOC is “13078 Hwy 19 West”.
13077 is listed above – post office would not deliver package even though it states c/o Nantahala Outdoor Center. Eventually got through to PO at Bryson City, NC to correct package address.
I would like to offer a correction – Mile 164.6 – the address you gave says
“Fontana Lodge (ATTN: Front Desk, 300 Woods Dr., Fontana Damn, NC 28733)” but it should be
“Fontana Lodge (ATTN: Front Desk, 300 Woods Rd., Fontana Dam, NC 28733)”
It is Woods Road not Woods Drive, and dam does not have an “n”