Hiking the Appalachian Trail * Full Tour

May 27-June 11, 2021 • 16 Days • $4490*

Featuring walks in 14 different states along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

This Adventure is offered in two separate 9-day tours (Southern and Northern) with each part covering 7 states along the Appalachian Trail, or you can combine the two and cover all 14 states in 16 action-packed days!

Southern Appalachian Trail

May 27-June 4, 2021 • 9 Days • $2550

Walks in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania

Part One of this tour covers the southern half of the Appalachian Trail, including walks in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. We start the Southern portion of the tour in Atlanta, Georgia and conclude in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, just about an hour north of Philadelphia.

Northern Appalachian Trail

June 3-11, 2021 • 9 Days • $2450

Walks in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine

Part Two of this tour features the northern half of the trail, offering walks in the states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. For those joining us on the Northern portion, we start in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and conclude in Portland, Maine.

*Combine Both Parts!

Join us for both the Southern and Northern Appalachian Trails for a 16-day adventure in 14 states and receive a credit of $510 off the combined tour price.

Register with a $300 deposit for Part 1 or Part 2, or a $600 deposit for the full tour.

Southern Appalachian Trail

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Hotel to airport shuttle on first/last day
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 8 meals: all breakfasts as denoted (B)
  • 8 walks sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (7 on the Appalachian Trail in each state that we pass through and 1 at Gettysburg, PA)
  • Fees for walking credit
  • Two WAI guides throughout
  • All tipping for coach driver, group meals and any local guides
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $590. We provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

Activities & Visits to:

  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site (TN)
  • Davy Crockett State Park (TN)
  • Laurel Falls (TN)
  • Virginia Creeper Trail (VA)
  • Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s Home) Group Tour (VA)
  • Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park (WV)
  • Washington Monument State Park (MD)
  • Gettysburg National Military Park (PA)
  • Guided tour of Gettysburg National Military Park (PA)
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Northern Appalachian Trail

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Hotel to airport shuttle on first/last day
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 8 meals: all breakfasts as denoted (B)
  • 7 walks sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association on the Appalachian Trail in each state that we pass through
  • Fees for walking credit
  • Two WAI guides throughout
  • All tipping for coach driver, group meals and any local guides
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $550. We provide a roommate matching service for those interested.

Activities & Visits to:

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA/NJ)
  • Bear Mountain & Fort Montgomery (NY)
  • West Point Military Academy Tour(NY)
  • The Cobbles (MA)
  • Thundering Falls & Gifford Woods State Park (VT)
  • Dartmouth College (NH)
  • Piazza Rock (ME)
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Part 1 Map

Part 2 Map

Adventure Pace

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

Important Info

Group Size

Approximately 24-28 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotels or better

Meals

15 Breakfasts included

Airfare

Not included. We can connect you with a local travel agent that can help with airfare bookings! Travelers on Part 1 fly into Atlanta, GA and home from Lehigh Valley, PA. Travelers on Part 2 fly into Lehigh Valley, PA and home from Portland, ME.

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guide

Walking Adventures Guide Scott IsomScott Isom has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners. Scott will be lead guide on the Appalachian Trail tour, accompanied by an assistant from Walking Adventures.

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. (B) refers to Breakfasts included.

Southern Appalachian Trail

Day 1-May 27: Arrive Atlanta, GA

Travelers arrive today into Atlanta, capital of Georgia, the southernmost state on the famed Appalachian Trail. Our starting hotel is conveniently located near Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and very close to the Delta Flight Museum should you decide to do some exploring before our Welcome Orientation this evening at the hotel.

Day 2-May 28: Atlanta, GA – Asheville, NC (B)

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

Today, our journey north begins, as we leave the hustle and bustle of Atlanta bound for the quieter, more rustic confines of Georgia’s northern mountainous region. For all Appalachian Trail hikes, those walking to receive AVA credit for this special program need to log at least 4 km on the trail in each state along the way.  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 journey to beautiful Asheville, in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

Day 3-May 29: Asheville, NC – Johnson City, TN (B)

North Carolina Appalachian Trail Hike (Hot Springs) – 5 km (3B) or 10 km (4D)

Today’s morning 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. On our way to Johnson City, Tennessee, we plan to pay a visit to the birthplace of legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett along the banks of the Nolichucky River.

Day 4-May 30: Johnson City, TN – Abingdon, VA (B)

Tennessee Appalachian Trail Hike (Laurel Falls) – 7.5 km (3C)
Virginia Appalachian Trail Hike (Damascus) – 5 km (1B)

Two Appalachian Trail states in one day is our theme today! In the morning, we savor a lovely forested walk to Laurel Falls, a hidden gem of a cascade, before taking a short drive across the Virginia border 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 evening is spent in historic and artsy Abingdon, home of the Barter Theatre, whose famous alumni include Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, and Ned Beatty.

Day 5-May 31: Abingdon, VA – Charlottesville, VA (B)

Nearly one quarter of the entire length of the Appalachian Trail runs through Virginia! Because we start in the southwest corner of the commonwealth, this morning will involve a road trip up Interstate-81 followed by an afternoon investigating the inestimable impact of Thomas Jefferson at his neoclassical home, Monticello. After this UNESCO World Heritage Site visit, we check into our hotel near the University of Virginia, another of Jefferson’s master works. No Appalachian Trail hikes are planned today.

Day 6-Jun 1: Charlottesville, VA – Frederick, MD (B)

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

Following a morning drive north, we arrive in West Virginia and spend an afternoon of 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. We spend this evening in nearby Frederick, Maryland.

Day 7-Jun 2: Frederick, MD – Gettysburg, PA (B)

Maryland Appalachian Trail Hike (Washington Monument State Park) – 5 km (3C)
Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail Hike (Penn-Mar Border) – 5 km (3C)

Another two-state hiking day awaits us as we begin our activities exploring the Maryland portion 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. Following a lunch break, we hike the first few kilometers of the Appalachian Trail in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania before settling in for the night near the hallowed Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg.

Day 8-Jun 3: Gettysburg, PA – Lehigh Valley, PA (B)

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

While no official 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 that came at a high price, being the bloodiest battle of the conflict. 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. In the afternoon, we take in the fertile landscape of Pennsylvania on our drive to the Lehigh Valley, the last night on part one of our Appalachian Trail program.

Day 9-Jun 4: Lehigh Valley, PA – Home (B)

With seven states and the southern half of the Appalachian Trail logged in our walk books and memory banks, we say farewell today and make our way to the Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) for our respective journeys home.

Northern Appalachian Trail

Day 1-Jun 3: Arrive in Lehigh Valley, PA

Travelers arrive today into Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), Pennsylvania, located about an hour north of Philadelphia, to begin the Northern portion of the iconic Appalachian Trail. Our starting hotel is conveniently located near the airport and within a close walk of several dining options.  We plan to have a short meeting this evening at the hotel to meet fellow hikers and go over the adventure game plan.

Day 2-Jun 4: Lehigh Valley, PA – Chester, NY (B)

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

This morning’s activities begins in the forested wonderland of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, where we hike along the Appalachian Trail in the Garden State of New Jersey. A relatively easy 5 km walk and a more challenging 10 km hike will be available here before we drive across the border into New York for a one-night stay in the town of Chester.

Day 3-Jun 5: Chester, NY – Danbury, CT (B)

New York Appalachian Trail Hike (Bear Mountain/Fort Montgomery) – 5 km (1A) or 10 km (3C)

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. In the 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 its graduates who have helped shape our nation. Our day concludes with a short drive across yet another state border and a relaxing evening in Danbury, Connecticut.

Day 4-Jun 6: Danbury, CT – Pittsfield, MA (B)

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

Today marks our first hike in the New England states as we stroll along the Housatonic River (Mohican word meaning “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 what is the longest level section of the entire Appalachian Trail. This evening we recharge our batteries in the town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Day 5-Jun 7: Pittsfield, MA – Killington, VT (B)

Massachusetts Appalachian Trail Hike (Cheshire) – 5 or 10 km (4E)

Though Massachusetts is the most populous of the New England states, today’s hike takes us to the small town of Cheshire set in a valley along the Hoosic River. We will definitely earn our lunch today as the Appalachian Trail offers up steep and rugged terrain in this section. We allow plenty of time to account for the higher level in the trail’s physical challenge before continuing our northward journey into Vermont, the second-least populated state in the union.

Day 6-Jun 8: Killington, VT – West Lebanon, NH (B)

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

Our Vermont walk starts with a bang as we gaze in wonder at Thundering Falls, a 140-foot cascade near Kent Pond, before we continue on a long uphill climb through 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. We then cross the Connecticut River and enter our penultimate state as we cross into New Hampshire for the night, nestled in just a few miles south of Dartmouth College.

Day 7-Jun 9: West Lebanon, NH – Wilton, ME (B)

New Hampshire Appalachian Trail Hike (Hanover) – 5 km (2A)/10 km (4D)

Today’s AT Trail activities begin in Hanover, on the western side of New Hampshire in the scenic Upper Connecticut River Valley. While a shorter 5 km walk is available, the 10 km (4D) trail is required to qualify for the Appalachian Trail Special Program. This longer trail includes easier sections through Hanover and on the campus of Dartmouth (established in 1769) before ascending on a significant climb with rough trail surfaces up to Velvet Rocks. A lengthy drive awaits us this afternoon as we journey to Maine, our final state along the Appalachian Trail.

Day 8-Jun 10: Wilton, ME – Portland, ME (B)

Maine Appalachian Trail Hike (Rangeley) – 5 or 10 km (3C)

Some of the toughest hiking on the Appalachian Trail is found in Maine, our northeasternmost state, but luckily we are taking on a section that, while challenging, won’t be overly difficult. Our walk in the Rangeley area features a hike up to oddly-shaped Piazza Rock before descending to our motorcoach for one final drive down to Portland and the conclusion of an epic adventure along the amazing Appalachian Trail.

Day 9-Jun 11: Portland, ME - Home (B)

With seven states in the rearview mirror and the northern half of the Appalachian Trail logged in our walk books, we bid each other a fond farewell today and make our way to the Portland International Jetport (PWM) for our respective journeys home.

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $300 deposit for the Southern or Northern Appalachian Trail, or a $600 deposit for the full tour. Our group size is approximately 28 travelers accompanied by 2 WAI guides, offering a guide to traveler ratio of 1/15.

Modified Payment Terms

Cancellations received in writing 120 days or more before departure will receive a full refund less a $150 administration fee per tour part. Cancellations received in writing 119 to 90 days before departure will receive a full refund less the initial $300 deposit per tour part. Cancellations received in writing 89 to 60 days before departure will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be made on cancellations received less than 60 days before departure. No refunds will be made on any unused or cancelled services once the tour has commenced.

Please view our General Tour Conditions for more details on our policies and cancellation terms.

Unique Aspects of this Tour

We are thrilled to offer a brand new adventure dedicated to exploring portions of the famous 2,200 mile-long Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in all 14 states through which it passes. This tour is especially well suited for those who are seeking to complete their Appalachian Trail Special Program through the American Volkssport Association, but in truth 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 will be hiking the A.T. in each state, there will be other rewarding stops along the way, including visits to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home) and Gettysburg National Battlefield during the Southern portion of our tour and a guided tour of West Point Military Academy during the Northern portion of the adventure.

Another aspect of a late spring/early summer trip along the Appalachian Trail is the possibility of mosquitoes! Depending upon weather conditions, they can be a nuisance and travelers should be prepared with good bug repellant just in case.

This is a Volkssport tour

What’s a volkssport tour? 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 this process and focuses more on walks and less on sightseeing. The objective is to offer more walking, more volkssport stamps, and keep the price lower. There are three main differences:

  • All walks are club walks, offered by local clubs and not planned by WAI staff. Usually they are YREs (self-guided walks using club-provided maps and directions).
  • Though extensive work is done by in-office WAI planners, no on-site planning has been done by WAI tour planners.
  • Traveler Rewards or Discounts are not available.

No Traveler Discounts

No traveler discounts are available for this special Volkssport tour.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

How is airfare arranged?

The official start point for the Southern Appalachian Trail is Atlanta, Georgia (airport code ATL).  The finish point is Lehigh Valley, PA (airport code ABE).  The official start point for Northern Appalachian Trail is Lehigh Valley, PA (airport code ABE). The finish point is Portland, ME (airport code PWM). The starting and finishing hotels for both parts of the tour offer complimentary shuttles to and from 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 by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Laura Pfahler: 503-434-6401 or [email protected]

Walk Difficulty

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

  • In several cases, you will be able to choose between an easier and a harder option.
  • On some days, we will not have time to 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, but we will offer at least a 5 km qualifying walk in each state that will qualify those participating in the AVA Appalachian Trail Special Program.
  • In many cases, it will be possible for you to use walk maps and instructions provided by the local clubs and do the walk on your own if you’d like.  Your WAI guide will always be available if you prefer to walk with a group. In somes cases, safety or timing considerations may indicate that walks be managed by the WAI guide as guided walks.
  • 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.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. 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 talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We are using the AVA 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 below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing.
3. Some significant hills or stair climbing.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing.
5. Many steep hills.

TERRAIN

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.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Travel Insurance

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. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. 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.

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.).

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

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.

Tour Cancellations

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel any 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 related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI intends 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.

View our full Coronavirus FAQ for more details. 

COVID-19 Travel Waiver

During this age of COVID-19, WAI evaluates reports and conditions worldwide on an ongoing basis. We are in touch with travel suppliers involved in this tour itinerary, and will develop protocols and procedures for travel in general and also specific to this tour as time passes and travel conditions are clarified. Travelers will be asked to sign a COVID-19 specific travel waiver once we have requisite details in hand.

Other Planning Considerations

More information to help you plan will be included in the much longer Tips & Tidbits factsheet that is mailed out about four months before the trip.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. An email with critical information on flight arrangements and the Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email. Final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.