Who Was the Oldest Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker?

Sandy B. writes…

Q: How old was the oldest male through hiker?

A: This is a fairly common question, and I think the uncertainty stems from confusing Google results (see below).

grandma gatewood oldest hiker

Although Grandma Gatewood is arguably the most badass thru-hiker of all time, she is not the oldest (or even the first). The title of oldest female thru-hiker currently belongs to 74-year-young Drag’n’fly.

lee barry oldest appalachian trail thru-hiker

Lee Barry.  Photo couresty: ATC, 2000-miler list

The oldest person to section hike the AT, was Mike ‘Cimarron’ Caetano, who completed the full trail over two years, finishing at the age of 84.  Simply incredible.

But, Sandy, the long-winded answer to your simple question, is Lee “The Easy One” Barry. Barry is both the oldest male and oldest overall having thru-hiked the AT in 2004 at the age of 81. Fun fact: The Easy One didn’t set out to break the AT age mark; he learned of the record part way through his journey (source).

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Comments 2

  • GRANOLABOY : Jul 21st

    Dear Zach,

    I’m seeking your divine wisdom concerning the use of the alcohol stove on a NOBO thru hike on the A.T. I have been using the Evernew brand on local hikes, and eating Mountain House Freeze Dried products. My motto is BOIL-HEAT-SERVE and be back on the trail. I want my cooking gear to be the least of my worries. I would also like to know the availability of DENATURED ALCOHOL on the trail.

    Thanks For Your Feedback,


    • Zach : Jul 26th

      Hey Granolaboy-

      First and foremost- excellent life decision to take on an AT thru-hike. You will not be disapponted.

      I’m probably not the best person to ask since I didn’t use a stove for the vast majority of the trail. That said, I do seem to recall most outfitters carrying denatured alcohol. Luckily, our very own Madison Dragna put together a robust list of outfitters along the AT. If you’re concerned, you could call ahead to confirm inventory.


      Best of luck on your upcoming thru-hike.

      Happy hiking,


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