Thru-hiking, the term for hiking from one end of a long distance trail to the other, has experienced a boom in popularity over recent years. Books like Wild and A Walk In the Woods are widely read and have launched the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Appalachian Trail (AT), and other thru-hikes into the mainstream spotlight.
Despite its rise in the public’s eye with stories about relative newbies to the outdoors tackling these trails, thru-hiking is not something to take lightly. It’s a grueling endurance slog that takes weeks or months of consistent physical and mental effort.
Before embarking on a thru-hike, be it a shorter three-week trek like the John Muir Trail (JMT) or a longer one such as the AT, which is usually completed in around 5 months, be sure you know what you are getting into. Here’s a list of valuable resources that hikers should scour for hours before setting foot on the trail.
Of course, one of the best ways to get prepared is to buy a trail book. Don’t underestimate the power of social media, either. Serious hikers can search for Facebook Groups like this one geared towards the PCT “trail family.”
Once you get an idea of what to expect, it’s time to decide which trail is the one for you.
The name “Triple Crown” refers to these three massive hikes. Only about 30 people have successfully done all three.
The rise of thru-hiking has also made these shorter (but still substantial) hikes popular adventures, as well. For more thru-hikes in general, read 6 Thru-Hikes Off the Beaten Trail.
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