Hiking the Appalachian Trail

October 11 – 26,  2024 • 16 Days $5550


NOTE: This Adventure is currently FULL. Standby requests are accepted by clicking the CONTACT US button to the right.

An exceptional variety of diverse mountain landscape awaits along this splendid overview of the eastern U.S. We are thrilled to offer this new WAI adventure (first offered in 2021) dedicated to exploring portions of the storied 2200 mile-long Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in all 14 states through which it passes.

Our 16 days together promise many stimulating new travel memories along with renewed friendships with fellow walkers, while offering the dazzling autumn scenery and forest trail solitude that is part of an Appalachian Trail experience.

NOTE: This tour may be especially attractive to those seeking to complete their Appalachian Trail Special Program through America’s Walking Club, which is open through December 2028.

Overview / Trip Details


We are thrilled to offer one of our newer adventures dedicated to exploring portions of the famous 2200 mile-long Appalachian Trail in all 14 states through which it passes.

While portions of the Appalachian Trail are gentle with even footing, most of the trail traverses mountainous and rolling terrain with plenty of uneven footing. This is a hiking adventure more than a walking adventure, so solid, sturdy footwear, walking sticks, and a healthy dose of stamina and conditioning are necessary companions on this journey.

While our primary focus is hiking the Appalachian Trail in each state, other rewarding stops along the way add value and context, including a guided tour of West Point Military Academy and visits to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home) and Gettysburg National Battlefield.


  • Vermont – featuring a trail that starts with the intensity of Thundering Falls, a 140-foot cascade near Kent Pond, before continuing a long uphill climb through old-growth forest along the Appalachian Trail to Gifford Woods State Park
  • Massachusetts – where we walk from the small town of Cheshire, set along the Hoosic River, to enjoy autumn reflections in Gore Pond and a spectacular fall foliage viewpoint known as “The Cobbles”
  • West Virginia – and the multi-layered hamlet of Harper’s Ferry, set at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, and a crossroads of historic events such as the initiation of the first successful American railroad and the pre-Civil War apprehension of fiery abolitionist John Brown by none other than Robert E. Lee
  • Tennessee – offering a lovely forested walk to Laurel Falls, a hidden waterfall gem


  • All land travel as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 16 meals: all breakfasts and our Farewell Dinner as denoted (BD)
  • 15 walks sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association on the Appalachian Trail in each state that we pass through (14 on the Appalachian Trail in each of 14 states plus 1 at Gettysburg, PA)
  • Fees for walking stamps credit for those collecting AVA credit
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for coach driver and any local guides
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1190. We provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

Activities / Visits to:

  • Piazza Rock (ME)
  • Dartmouth College (NH)
  • Thundering Falls & Gifford Woods State Park (VT)
  • The Cobbles (MA)
  • West Point Military Academy Tour (NY)
  • Bear Mountain (NY)
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA/NJ)
  • Gettysburg National Military Park (PA)
  • Guided tour of Gettysburg National Military Park (PA)
  • Washington Monument State Park (MD)
  • Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park (WV)
  • Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s Home) Group Tour (VA)
  • Virginia Creeper Trail (VA)
  • Laurel Falls (TN)
  • Davy Crockett State Park (TN)
  • More fun stops than we can list!


Click on each day for more details. (BLD) refers to meals included – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

With fourteen states of the Appalachian Trail on the horizon, travelers arrive today into Maine’s Portland International Jetport (PWM).

Our hotel is in a great location in Portland, just a stone’s throw from the waterfront, offering an abundance of walkable eateries and activities.

Join us this evening after dinner on your own for our Welcome Orientation gathering at the hotel with your WAI guides.

Walk #1: Maine Appalachian Trail Hike (Rangeley) – 5 or 10 km (3C)

Some of the toughest hiking on the Appalachian Trail is found in Maine, our northeastern most state. Fortunately, the trail we’re hiking, while challenging, is among the more doable sections.

Our walk in the Rangeley area features a hike up to oddly-shaped Piazza Rock before descending to our motorcoach for our drive to Wilton and the conclusion of our first day along the legendary Appalachian Trail.

Wilton is a small town (population about 4000) dating back to the early 18th century and noteworthy as the site of the first toothpick factory and Maine’s first cotton mill. Bass shoes were also manufactured here for over a century until 1998.

NOTE: Those walking to qualify for the special AVA program need to log at least 4 km in each state along the Appalachian Trail.

Walk #2: New Hampshire Appalachian Trail Hike (Hanover) – 5 km (2A)

This morning begins with a drive from Maine into our second state of the adventure, New Hampshire. AT Trail activities for today begin in Hanover, on the western side of New Hampshire, in the scenic Upper Connecticut River Valley.

The trail includes sections in the town of Hanover and through the campus of Ivy League research university, Dartmouth College (established in 1769) before ascending on a significant climb with rough trail surfaces up to Velvet Rocks.

Our day concludes in nearby West Lebanon, New Hampshire, not far from the Connecticut River, which serves as the western state boundary with Vermont.

Walk #3: Vermont Appalachian Trail Hike (Killington) – 5 km (3B) or 10 km (3C)

Crossing over the Connecticut River this morning takes us into Vermont, the second least populated state in the union and the third state of our adventure.

The Vermont walk starts with a bang as we gaze in wonder at Thundering Falls, a 140-foot cascade near Kent Pond, before a long uphill climb through lovely, old-growth forest along the Appalachian Trail to Gifford Woods State Park. A shorter and easier option is available for those who prefer to do less climbing.

Our day concludes in the town of Killington, Vermont, a ski-resort area nestled in the lovely Green Mountains.

Walk #4: Massachusetts Appalachian Trail Hike (Cheshire) – 5 km (3C)

From Vermont, our morning drive takes us south into Massachusetts. Though this is the most populous of the New England states, today’s hike takes us to the small town of Cheshire set in a picturesque valley along the Hoosic River.

The highlight of today’s route is a viewpoint called The Cobbles, offering sweeping panoramas over the valley that are especially stunning in October when forests are draped in vibrant hues of autumn.

Leaving continuing our southward journey to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the heart of the scenic highland area called “the Berkshires”, known for pastoral scenery, outdoor activities, and the pleasant small town vibe in which music and the arts thrive.

Walk #5: Connecticut Appalachian Trail Hike (Kent) – 5 km or 10 km (1B)

Today marks our last hike in the New England states as we stroll along the Housatonic River (Mohican for “Land Beyond the Mountains”).

The trail follows old farm paths and takes us through a second growth forest of sycamore, maple, and ash trees on the longest level section of the entire Appalachian Trail.

This evening we recharge our batteries in the town of Danbury, Connecticut, originally settled by a group of 8 families in 1685. Later it became a strategic Continental Army weapons depot during the Revolutionary War. More recently, it’s been voted as one of the most livable cities in the country!

Walk #6: New York Appalachian Trail Hike (Bear Mountain/Fort Montgomery) – 5 km (1A)

Our morning begins with a short drive across yet another state border into New York, our sixth state.

History abounds during today’s hike as we explore the Appalachian Trail near Fort Montgomery, New York, scene of a fierce Revolutionary War battle for control of the Hudson River.

This afternoon, we explore West Point, our nation’s oldest military service academy, on a 2-hour bus and walking tour that brings to life over 200 years of traditions as well as stories of graduates who have helped shape our nation.

From West Point, we point our coach west towards the New Jersey border, not far from tomorrow’s walk in the Garden State.

Walk #7: New Jersey Appalachian Trail Hike (Delaware Water Gap) – 5 km (1A) or 10 km (3D)

This morning’s activities begin in the forested wonderland of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where we hike along the Appalachian Trail in the Garden State–New Jersey.

A relatively easy 5 km walk and a more challenging 10 km hike are available here before we transition across one more border into Pennsylvania for a stay in Lehigh Valley. “The Valley” is a metropolitan area comprised of three major communities, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, historically known for its production of steel.

Walk #8: Gettysburg National Battlefield Walk – 5 km or 10 km (1A)

This morning, we take in the fertile landscapes of Pennsylvania on our drive to Gettysburg. While no Appalachian Trail hikes are planned today, our walk through the town and battlefield of Gettysburg will surely rank among the highlights of our adventure.

The Union victory at Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the “highwater mark of the Confederacy”, that came at the terrible cost of ranking as the bloodiest battle of the entire war.

This place is also forever linked to Abraham Lincoln’s timeless words in which he honored the fallen who had given the “last full measure of devotion.” This gripping experience is made even more memorable by a guided tour through the battlefield with one of the excellent local guides.

Walk #9: Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail Hike (PA-MD Border) – 5 km (3C)
Walk #10: Maryland Appalachian Trail Hike (Washington Monument State Park) – 5 km (3C)

Bidding farewell to historic Gettysburg, a two-state hiking day awaits as we begin our activities on a Pennsylvania portion of the Appalachian Trail.

Following a break for lunch in Hagerstown, we spend an afternoon walking the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail at Washington Monument State Park, where a rugged stone tower was erected in 1827 as the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of George Washington.

We settle in this evening at our hotel in the town of Frederick, Maryland, just under 50 miles from Washington, DC. Frederick is situated at a strategic junction of trails and roads, dating back to use by Native American to and from the rich fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay area.

Walk #11: West Virginia Appalachian Trail Hike (Harpers Ferry) – 5 km (2B) or 10 km (3D)

Following a short drive, we arrive in West Virginia and spend a morning and early afternoon hiking and exploring the Appalachian Trail and the charming, old town of Harpers Ferry.

This multi-layered hamlet at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers has seen its fair share of history, including the arrival of the first successful American railroad, the apprehension of famed abolitionist John Brown by none other than Robert E. Lee, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.

Following an afternoon drive to the south, we spend this evening in the storied town of Charlottesville, Virginia, on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and home of the University of Virginia.

This morning we investigate the inestimable impact of founding father and our third president, Thomas Jefferson, at his neoclassical home, Monticello. With a lunch break in Charlottesville, enjoy the chance to see another of Jefferson’s contributions at the University of Virginia Campus.

In the afternoon, we launch a lengthy road trip down Interstate-81. Nearly one quarter of the entire length of the Appalachian Trail runs through Virginia! Because we have a lot of ground to cover before arriving in the southwest corner of the commonwealth, no Appalachian Trail hikes are planned today.

We check into our hotel in the cute town of Abingdon, home of the famous Barter Theatre, whose famous alumni include Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, and Ned Beatty.

Walk #12: Virginia Appalachian Trail Hike (Damascus) – 5 km (1B)
Walk #13: Tennessee Appalachian Trail Hike (Laurel Falls) – 7.5 km (3C)

Two Appalachian Trail states in one day is our theme yet again! In the morning, we drive a short distance to the fun, little mountain town of Damascus for a rare, relatively flat AT walk through town and along the rails-to-trails Virginia Creeper.

This afternoon, after crossing the border into Tennessee, we enjoy a lovely forested walk. The latter part of this out and back trail offers some of the more challenging terrain of the tour. Nimble-footed hikers who opt to continue are rewarded by Laurel Falls, a hidden gem of a cascade at the turn around point.

The day ends with a short drive to the town of Johnson City, home to the University of East Tennessee.

Walk #14: North Carolina Appalachian Trail Hike (Hot Springs) – 5 km (2B) or 10 km (4D)

Before we cross the border into the Tarheel State, we pay a visit to the Tennessee birthplace of legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett along the banks of the Nolichucky River.

Today’s late morning and afternoon hike in North Carolina goes right through the center of downtown Hot Springs, designated as an Appalachian Trail Community.

Famous for its natural, healing mineral springs, this quaint mountain town offers an easier walk through town or, for those wishing for a longer, more adventurous hike, the chance to soak up wonderful views from Lover’s Leap.

We conclude the day in the delightful Blue Ridge Mountain town of Asheville, at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River.

Walk #15: Georgia Appalachian Trail Hike (Dick’s Creek Gap) – 5 km (3C)

We leave the fun vibe of Asheville for the quieter, more rustic confines of Georgia’s northern mountainous region, our southernmost state.

Today’s out-and-back hike at Dick Creek’s Gap involves significant elevation gain, but we have enough time in the day to cover at least 5 km before continuing our afternoon journey to the thriving Southern city of Atlanta, Georgia. Here, we celebrate the end of an epic Appalachian Adventure together at a Farewell Dinner, sharing recollections of our favorite moments together.

With all fourteen states of the Appalachian Trail logged in our walk books and memory banks, we say farewell today and make our way to nearby Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) for our respective journeys home.

Congratulations on hiking the famed Appalachian Trail!!

Before You Book

Click on each heading for more details.

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us 2 to 3 weeks in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

We are thrilled to offer a new adventure (2021 was the inaugural Appalachian Trail tour) dedicated to exploring portions of the famous 2200 mile-long Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in all 14 states through which it passes.

This tour may be especially attractive to those seeking to complete their Appalachian Trail Special Program through the America’s Walking Club. In truth, however, anyone who loves to hike amidst the challenging and picturesque terrain of the A.T. will find this tour to be a diverse and delightful experience.

While portions of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) are gentle with even footing, the vast majority of the trail traverses mountainous and rolling terrain with plenty of uneven footing. This is a hiking adventure more than just a walking adventure, so good sturdy footwear, walking sticks, and a healthy dose of stamina and conditioning will be helpful companions on this journey.

While our primary focus is hiking the A.T. in each state, other rewarding stops are offered along the way, including a guided tour of West Point Military Academy, a visit and memorable guided tour of  Gettysburg National Battlefield, and a visit to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home).

WAI offers walking adventures all over the planet. Most of the walks featured on these tours are developed by WAI tour planners in cooperation with local walking guides. These itineraries are the result of extensive on-site planning by WAI staff. A Volkssport Tour, on the other hand, streamlines the tour planning process and focuses more on walks and less on sightseeing. The objective is to feature more walking, offer more volkssport stamps (a record of walks volkswalkers keep in a passport-like walking book), and keep the price lower. Primary differences between Volkssport Tours compared to Curated Classic Tours include:

  • Walks offered are hosted by clubs, not planned by WAI staff. Usually, they are self-guided walks using club-provided maps and directions.
  • Itineraries focuses more on local club walks, and less on sightseeing and cultural activities.
  • Itineraries tend to be paced faster, giving us the ability to offer walks in more locales.
  • Extensive work is done by in-office, but on-site planning is generally not done by WAI tour planners (experience gained on previous editions of the tour, however, produces improvements to subsequent itineraries).
  • Volkssport Tours tend to be limited to the USA. International tours generally follow the Classic Curated model.

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please call our office at 1.360.260.9393.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:


1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.


A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Walks on this tour vary greatly in difficulty level, ranging from 1A (easy) to 4D (very challenging), with most walks falling into the moderately challenging 3C range.

  • Trail options: In several cases, you will be able to choose between an easier and a harder option.
  • Distances: On some days, we will not do a full 10 km at one walk site due to the need to drive to our next location, or because of multiple walks in one day. However, we will offer at least a 5 km walk in each state to qualify those participating in the AVA Appalachian Trail Special Program.
  • Guided or self-guided: In some cases, it is possible for you to use walk maps and instructions provided by the local clubs and do the walk on your own if you’d prefer. Your WAI guide will always be available if you prefer to walk with a group. In many cases, safety or timing considerations may dictate that walks be managed by WAI guides as guided walks. In these cases, the group will likely be divided into two subgroups according to hiker abilities, distances and/or pace.
  • Walk credit: Walk stamps may be available along the way for those that wish to receive them; in some cases, we may be using the Online Start Box (OSB) to register and receive AVA credit for walks.

Good quality, superior tourist-class accommodations are the standard for our Adventure. Most accommodations on this tour are selected primarily as a practical base from which to pursue our itinerary.

Many, but not all, of our accommodations on this adventure are single-floor or have elevators. Travelers should be able to carry their luggage up a number of steps to get to a second-floor room if necessary.

The official start point for Hiking the Appalachian Trail is our hotel in Portland, Maine served by the Portland International Jetport (airport code PWM). The finish point is our hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, served by Atlanta International Airport (airport code ATL).

Airport to hotel transfers are not included but our Atlanta hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to the airport.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provides air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Laura Pfahler: 503-434-6401 or [email protected]
Sharon Mitchell: 971-261-2091 or [email protected]

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

Be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions (i.e. some benefits, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package). In addition, remember that airfare is not covered by any travel insurance policy you may have purchased for the tour.

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

WAI bears no responsibility for travel insurance benefits advertised by various credit card companies. If you are relying on this type of benefit for insurance, we advise you to verify coverage types and limits and that your purchase does in fact qualify you for this insurance.

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 15 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

Our approach to wellness on tour has traditionally been to encourage travelers to:

  • Focus on health before the tour so you start healthy.
  • Pace yourself while on tour; travel is inherently stimulating and can produce adrenalin boosts that mask energy drain. Guard your energy reserves and consider the length of the trip and whether to opt out of some activities and/or walks.
  • Be self-aware. If you feel yourself tiring or feel a bug coming on, take precautions to block it (e.g. extra rest, extra doses of vitamin C, etc).
  • If you feel a bug coming on or if you take ill, distance yourself from others when possible.
  • If you feel ill, isolate yourself towards the back of the bus and away from others and please wear a mask.

Click WAI Wellness on Tour Policy to view the WAI policy on Wellness on Tour.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (July 13, 2024) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the enclosed itinerary. We think you will agree that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world. Join us for this popular, new Walking Adventure program Hiking the Appalachian Trail!

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

About Adventure Pace

Important Info

Your Guides

Tim Friesen has been guiding for Walking Adventures since 2003, most often leading our summertime adventures in Europe. Tim recently retired from a long and fruitful career as a high school music teacher in Molalla, Oregon and has been known, on occasion, to burst into song on the trail!

Tim co-led the last edition of Hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2022 and eager to share this storied long-distance hiking trail with another group of hikers!

Jim Brickley has always loved a good adventure and the opportunity to explore and has been leading WAI tours since 2015. Now retired, Jim served for over 30 years as an Advanced Math teacher for high schoolers. He has been married for over 30 years to his wife Kathy and has 2 grown sons.

Jim enjoys interacting in various environments with different cultures, and welcomes the challenges travel brings. His hobbies include motorcycling and scuba diving, as well as hiking and travel. He anticipates growing through diverse travel encounters that challenge his paradigm of “normal” and looks forward to sharing these learning experiences with you on tour.

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Appalachian Trail 2024