Appalachian Trail Tours & Trips
Escape from your nine-to-five and discover "an America that millions of people scarcely know exists" in just a few short days on an Appalachian vacation. Stroll through verdant forests, past blooming wildflowers, scale rewarding summits, and witness black bears in the wild on the world's longest hiking trail. Instead of trekking the 2,189 miles, do it with ease with some of the best day hikes of the Appalachian Trail!
Thanks to the inspiring stories of Grandma Gatewood and the legend of Bill Bryson, the Appalachian Trail has become a household name within hiking communities all over the world. A great alternative to the grueling adventure are hiking tours which offer shorter, more enjoyable sections of the trail designed for those who have little time on their hands or who want a taste of the trail without the months-long commitment. With hand-picked tours that offer day hikes to the most scenic sections of the trail, it's never been easier to section hike the Appalachian Trail.
Appalachian Trail Start: Springer Mountain, GA
Appalachian Trail End: Mount Katahdin, ME
Easiest Sections: Shenandoah National Park, Maryland & Harpers Ferry
Most Challenging Sections: Southern Maine & White Mountains National Park
Why choose an Appalachian Trail tour?
Planning to hike the Appalachian Trail can sometimes be overwhelming with much preparation and planning needed - opting for a tour takes that stress away. Whether you want to embrace the wilderness by camping or sleep under the stars in a luxury mountain lodge, hiking tours allow you to create a vacation package that suits your needs - accommodation, transport, food - it's all sorted for you. With hand-picked tour operators and Travel Experts at your beck-and-call, booking a hike on TourRadar is hassle-free so you have more time to focus on what matters most.
From the panoramic peak of Blood Mountain to the blue vistas of the Franconian Ridge, many tours of the Appalachian Trail offer convenient daily transfers to the most scenic sections, so you're guaranteed breathtaking views or a true wilderness escape.
From tents and huts to luxury lodges and all-inclusive hotels, accommodation along the trail is varied and depends on your budget. Many tour operators cater to one or all options with upgrades available to suit your style.
Start the day with a nutritious meal designed to fuel your body for the day ahead, or celebrate your endeavors with a well-deserved feast. Most meals are included on many hiking tours, and where they aren't, the guides have killer recommendations!
Most sections of the trail are not near airports or major cities and can be quite difficult to get to with public transport. Many tours have arrival and departure transfers included (or at least available on request) for your convenience.
Travel with a local who knows the trail like the back of their hand and how to handle the highs and lows of the trail. Having a guide gives you an insight into the thru-hiker experience and trail alternatives that best suit your requirements.
Many tour operators offer the option to transfer your baggage, so you can spend your daily hike carrying only the necessities. This service makes your hike that little bit easier allowing you to make the most of your bucket list adventure.
Highlights of the Appalachian Trail
Know Before You Go
Most Loved States on the Appalachian Trail
As one of the most challenging states on the trail, Maine secures the heart of every Appalachian hiker due to the overwhelming achievement of reaching Mount Katahdin. Southern Maine is wild and rugged but the state's pristine nature and Hundred Mile Wilderness lets you completely disconnect from the outside world creating a truly serene experience.
Push aside those Virginia Blues on a section hike of this scenic state. From the picture-perfect views at McAfee Knob to the ponies and longhorns of the Grayson Highlands. Thru-hikers welcome Virginia, due to the even terrain and unique experiences such as traversing the "Hiker's Disneyland" of Shenandoah and catching a glimpse of bears in the wild!
With the majority of the trail in White Mountains National Park, New Hampshire contrasts challenging terrains with undoubtingly rewarding views. Franconia Ridge is a highlight for hikers with almost 360° panoramas that follow you for miles. A stop at Hanover is not to be missed as the town welcomes both thru and section hikers with open arms.
North Carolina & Tennessee
The trail in North Carolina and Tennesee complement each other to create a hiker's paradise full of endless forests and mountains that are truly mesmerizing. Drink moonshine with thru-hikers in Gatlinburg, indulge in a picnic at Max Patch, or be amazed by the hard-to-beat vistas from Good ol' Rocky Top Mountain - yes, it's a real place!
Brush Up on Your Appalachian Trail Facts
- If you ever meet a thru-hiker you should familiarise yourself with the terms NoBo (Northbound) and SoBo (Southbound). Most "2000-milers" trek NoBo due to its forgiving landscape in the early stages.
- You'll probably hear people talk about Benton MacKaye. He was a regional planner who dreamt of the Appalachian Trail back in 1921 whilst sitting in a tree in Vermont.
- Around 2,500 thru-hikers set out each year to conquer the trail, however nearly three-quarters of them end up dropping out due to fatigue, illness, or injury.
- One of the most famous people to complete the Appalachian Trail is Grandma (Emma) Gatewood at the ripe old age of 67 - she aspires many thru-hikers today.
- Nearly everyone uses a nickname. Whether going all 2,189 miles or merely a tiny portion of it, Appalachian hikers never utter their real names, preferring instead to use “trail names” - so get creative, it's your turn!
Best Appalachian Mountain Adventures
For the Hiker Who Loves Their Creature Comforts
With convenient airport transfers from Charlotte, continental breakfasts ready to fuel the day ahead, nights in hand-picked hotels, and free time to explore some of the most scenic sections of North Carolina and Tennessee, you'll truly be spoilt on this Appalachian adventure.
Suited for all ages, all difficulty levels, and assisted by a guide who caters to the needs of every traveler, exploring Shenandoah and the Smokies has never been easier. With a must-see stop at the colorful Linn Cove Viaduct, a summit climb of Craggy Pinnacle, and a visit to the highest point of the trail at Clingman's Dome, you'll leave with an album full of vistas and a heart full of memories.
Your Questions, Answered
What is an Appalchian Trail section hike?
A section hike (or highlights hike) is designed for those who want a taste of the Appalachian Trail without quitting their job and becoming a "2000-miler". Section hikes are a great way to walk the section that is most convenient, most scenic, or most easy for you. Appalachian Trail tours make section hiking seamless, allowing you to day hike the highlights of the trail with little preparation required.
How hard is it to hike the Appalachian Trail?
It purely depends on what state you're planning to hike as some states and national parks are more challenging than others. On an Appalachian Trail tour, your guide will offer alternatives based on your fitness levels to ensure everyone has a good time.
Will we see bears in the Appalachian Mountains?
It's not uncommon to see black bears parading about in almost every state along the Appalachian Trail. They are typically shy creatures who keep their distance, so witnessing one can be a rare thrill that many hikers seek. On a hiking tour, it's important that you listen to your guide as they're fully equipped to handle bear encounters and keep your group safe.
Where can I meet thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail?
One of the best experiences about day hiking the Appalachian Trail is hearing stories from those that are on their journey of a lifetime. Hear their triumphs and tribulations at the mid-way point at Harpers Ferry, WV or at Baxter State Park, ME where their journey ends.
How do I prepare for an Appalachian Trail thru-hike?
For many, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and requires plenty of preparation in order to complete it successfully. If you're interested in doing a thru-hike we recommend doing your research, embarking on a hiking tour to hear first-hand experiences, and contacting the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to help you prepare.
How do I section hike the Appalachian Trail?
The simplest way to section hike the Appalachian Trail is through various day hikes, perfect for all families and budgets. To find the perfect trips for you, browse through our Appalachian Trail tours until you find one that ticks all of your boxes! Simply choose your dates and fill out your details to secure your trip. If you have any questions along the way, our Travel Experts are standing by 24/7.
What if I don't want to hike?
That's perfectly fine! As it's the longest hiking trail in the world, many people head to the Appalachian Trail just for the day so they can say they've "been there, done that". We offer many tours that stop along the Appalachian Trail, find a tour that suits you.
Can I hike the Appalachian Trail solo?
Of course you can! In fact, you'll often come across many people hiking the Appalachian Trail alone. Most of our Appalachian Mountain tour operators offer the option to either go private or can accommodate to self-guided requests. Just reach out to us and we'll ensure your hike is as seamless as possible!