The Appalachian Trail is a fabled footpath spanning nearly 2,200 miles, from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.
Each year, thousands of hopeful thru-hikers set out to hike the full length of the trail in one trip. Many more hikers, bound by life obligations or preferences, set out on section hikes, where they piece together the trail over the course of years, or decades, until finally hiking every mile.
At Adventures in Good Company, we have proudly offered you the opportunity to section hike the trail with us for decades. Today, our slackpacking trips cover nearly a quarter of the trail’s length: no small feat for the aspiring section hiker!
Slackpacking vs Backpacking: What are the Differences?
“Slackpacking” describes a style of hiking, during which you carry only what you need for the day. When you’re unburdened by the added weight of a shelter, multiple days’ worth of food, and other overnight essentials, you can travel light, fast, and knock out the miles you’ve been dreaming about for years.
Our slackpacking trips give you the best of both worlds: enjoying the independence of carrying everything you need for a day trip into the wilderness, while also being able to hike with a lighter load as we cover 10-15 miles a day. At the end of each day, we return to a nearby trail town, where we enjoy the creature comforts of civilization: a real bed, hot shower, and a home-cooked, hearty meal!
Ready to join us? Here are all the slackpacking trips we currently offer:
This trip crosses the first state of the AT off your list! Of the nearly 80% of thru hikers that drop out before completing the trail, many quit before they have crossed a single state line. One of the many charming places we’ll see on our adventure includes Neel’s Gap, which is located about 30 trail miles north of the southern terminus, and famous for being a point where people walk off trail.
When you hike with us on this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to do what so many can’t: complete the first southern state of the Appalachian Trail.
At the end of each day, we’ll return to our lodging in Dahlonega for rest, renewal, and companionship as we swap trail stories around a campfire! You’ll be able to enjoy fantastic views off the open porch, recover in the pool, and rest easy in luxurious accommodations perched at elevation in the Georgia mountains.
Virginia is the longest state of the AT at nearly 550 miles, and we handpicked one of the best sections for you on this trip. We will end each night in Damascus, after hiking through the rolling hills of Virginia, enjoying wild pony encounters and sweeping views.
Along the way, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks along the AT through Virginia, such as Rhododendron Gap, Fat Man’s Squeeze, Buzzard Rock, and The Scales! You’ll also have the opportunity to climb the highest peak in Virginia, Mt. Rogers, which takes a little over an hour to climb at 500ft of elevation in a little less than a mile.
Each day, your included shuttle will return you to your cozy lodging in Damascus, for a full night of unwinding in preparation for the next day’s hike!
Slackpacking Harper’s Ferry
Harper’s Ferry marks the “psychological” halfway point for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and on this trip, we’ll be staying in this historic village while slackpacking the surrounding section of the AT. You’ll have a chance to visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters, hike the “roller coaster” (a section of the AT with many rolling hills!) and enjoy the vistas over the Shenandoah Valley.
Along the way, we’ll stop at some of the many shelter areas on the trail for lunch, while following the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains that forms the boundary between Virginia and West Virginia.
Maryland is a beautiful, tucked-away section of the Appalachian Trail, and on this trip, we’ll hike all 40 miles of this section–without the weight of a heavy overnight pack.
We’ll journey from Pan Mar Park to the Potomac River, along the backbone of South Mountain, a ridge that extends from Pennsylvania to the Potomac River. While this section of trail is considered “easy” by thru hiker standards, when compared to rigorous sections like New Hampshire or the Smokies, the terrain can be challenging, and you’ll feel like you’ve earned a good night’s rest in our lodging at Blue Mountain Retreat!
This section takes you through the stunning Berkshire region of Massachusetts, well-known for its babbling brooks and wide variety of terrain. We’ll hike over roots and rocks, encounter steep climbs, and will be rewarded with incredible views!
At the end of this trip, we will summit Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts at 3,487 feet above sea level. You’ll be more than ready for the challenge after returning to a comfortable bed, warm meal, and hot shower at the end of each day.
Vermont is characterized by dense and verdant forests, with both evergreen and deciduous trees that will be in full autumn splendor by the time we arrive!
On this trip, we will cover approximately 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail through Vermont, and lodge each night near the small town of Plymouth, VT. But that’s not all: the AT shares part of its mileage with Vermont’s Long Trail, so you’ll be completing 50 miles on the long trail by the end of this trip!
Along the way, we’ll enjoy swimming in a high mountain lake, hiking through the Clarenton Gorge, and taking in the expansive views from the top of the notable peaks of southern Vermont: Stratton, Bromley, and Killington.
On “Slackpacking Maine,” you will hike one of the most iconic, remote sections of the Appalachian Trail: The 100 Mile Wilderness. This is the last 100 miles of the trail, with some of the most off-grid terrain you’ll find along the entire AT corridor.
Don’t let the challenge sway you: we’ll be lodging each day in the little trail town of Millinocket, Maine, where you’ll enjoy cooked meals made for you by our guides, and comfortable beds so you can re-energize for the biggest challenge of the trail: Mt. Katahdin.
We will end this trip on top of Mt. Katahdin, or Baxter peak, where we’ll hike to the northern terminus of the AT, and take photos by the famous sign that marks the end–or beginning–of a thru-hiker’s journey.
Preparing for Your Slackpacking Trip
Our slackpacking trips are all rated as either Level 4 or Level 5, but are well-worth the challenge. If you’re planning a slackpacking endeavor with us soon, and want to make sure you’re prepared, reach out to our partner, Trailblazer Wellness, for a custom training program!