Smart Hike

Why carry a heavy backpack when you can day hike the entire AT?

2024 Smart Hikes!


SMART HIKE started in 2011, offers an efficient and affordable way to hike short or long sections of the Appalachian Trail. The three Smart Hikes offered in 2024 are listed below.

The suggested donation is $1,300 per entire hike.

Suggested donations for individual days are $60 for the southern hikes and $70 for the Maine hike.


The support van carries your food, clothing, shelter, sleeping bags/pads, water, and an extra pair of boots. Besides carrying much less weight, Smart Hikers don’t have to worry about bear bagging their food or treating most of their water. Participants can expect to spend one night per week in indoor lodging if they so desire. We also provide a car for medical emergencies. People can use their own car if they want. These folks would walk back to their cars each day. They also would spend from one to two hours of driving each day.
All Smart Hike hopefuls are required to either attend a weekend Smart Hike orientation at the Appalachian Folk School ($100 suggested donation) OR a five-day Appalachian Trail Institute at the Appalachian Folk School ($300 suggested donation). All donations go to the folk school for upkeep/maintenance and include on-site lodging. The orientation provides a realistic picture to help you decide if the Smart Hike is a good match for you.

People with no experience in hiking the most rugged section of the AT (White MTS. In NH and the mountains of western Maine) are not advised to register for the Maine Smart Hike as your first Smart Hike.

2024 SMART HIKES

April 2-May 1 Springer Mt.(GA) north to Damascus (VA)

May 21-June 20 Linden, VA south to Damascus (VA)

August 19-Sept.12 Gorham, NH, north to Katahdin (ME)


Minimum participants needed - Five

#######New for 2024#######
Customized hikes from mid-October until mid-November


Interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail? Check out Warren's ATI Sessions
2024 ATI Sessions
March 25–29
June 24–28
Sept. 23–27
Sept. 30–Oct. 4
Oct. 7–11

2024 Smart Hike Orientations
March 29–31
June 21–23
Sept. 27–29

Appalachian Trail Institute

(2024 Dates)

March 25–29
June 24–28
Sept. 23–27
Sept. 30–Oct. 4
Oct 7-11

Smart Hike Orientations

(2024 Dates)

March 29–31
June 21–23
Sept. 27–29



Smart Hikes are good for the recently retired, section hikers of all ages, and those 2024 thru-hikers who would have van support for more than half the trail. As a matter of fact, a 2024 thru-hiker could arrange their own vehicle support between Front Royal, VA, and Gorham, NH (from June 22-August 18) and be able to thru-hike the entire AT without ever having to carry a heavy backpack. Plus, you don’t have to bear bag your food or worry about potable water, and traveling with a group is safer.
You don’t have to commit to the whole month-long hike - you can join for any amount of time that fits into your daily life responsibilities.


######NEW####### Starting in the Fall of 2023, customized Smart Hikes will be offered to cover those areas not covered by the three traditional Smart Hikes. They will be between mid-October and mid-November and cover the following trail sections: Linden, VA to Pen-Mar; PA; NJ; NY; CT; MA; and, VT.
Contact me at warrendance@gmail.com and then we will set up a phone call to discuss details.


The daily average for the 30-day GA/TN/NC hike (471 miles) is 15.7 mpd. This is a moderately difficult Smart Hike.
The daily average for the 31-day VA hike (507.7 miles) is 16.4 mpd. This is a moderately difficult Smart Hike.
The daily average for the 25-day ME hike (305 miles) is 12 mpd. This is the most difficult Smart Hike.

Smart Hike Dates


All of NC/TN/GA
Springer Mt., GA north to Damascus, VA (up to 30 days)
April 2 to May 1, 2024

Almost all of VA
Linden, VA south to Damascus, VA (up to 31 days)
May 21 to June 20, 2024

All of Maine
Gorham, NH north to Katahdin, ME (up to 25 days)
Aug. 19-Sept. 12, 2024


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