The Appalachian Trail in 4 minutes

I don't know about you, but I could use something kind of soothing this morning. Please enjoy this 4-minute video journey through the entire Appalachian Trail, and have a happy Monday.

Via Minnesota Public Radio's News Cut


    1. I can’t think about the Trail without thinking about Bill Bryson’s, ‘A Walk in the Woods’.

    2. Ha Ha, me too; I was thinking “hiking the Appalachian Trail in four minutes, that’s about right for the average guy…” Oh wait, this is about Hiking the Appalachian Trail. Never mind.

    1. The music is spooky because the curse embedded in the video will ultimately bring your marriage to an end.

  1. I’m assuming that it’s north to south, with the snow at the start, else the climate deniers have some ‘splaining to do.

    1. South to North, starting in the early spring and ending mid or late summer. (Or, at least, that’s typical.)

    2. It is South to North. I believe the common practice is to start at the tail of winter in Georgia.

  2. Thru-hiked in ’09. Am from Virginia. Living in Canada now, and watching this made me cry. That journey was the most difficult but overwhelmingly beautiful part of my life. I long for the Appalachian Mountains.

  3. Nice. Some intrepid thru-hiker needs to take this to its logical extreme and give us every step. Or at least a Google Street View every-hundred-feet kind of deal.

  4. I’ve always lived on the west coast, and have done a fair bit of hiking on the PCT. For whatever reason I’ve not seen many pictures of the AT so that was great.

  5. Not to offend those who’ve done it, or aspire to, but doesn’t it look awful same-y? The short periods of open view-space made me wonder how I’d tolerated the long periods of “green tunnel”. Just sayin’.

    1. Apparantly that’s why many people bail out in VA. Weeks of hiking through forest with little in the way of views.

    1. actually at the end of this video there is a sign clearly marked Mt. Katahdin. so it is most definitely without a shadow of a doubt, south to north.
      this guy probably started in Georgia in early March

  6. So good I had to check myself for ticks. They should have put a Sasquatch in there somewhere, tho.

  7. Not quite “horror movie” as one comment put it, but certainly not “soothing” either. It got noticeably faster and faster and more frantic towards the end. Quite brilliant I thought; this easily could have been really boring like the stop-motion videos like this that I’ve done are (though I like this one).

    Also, I’ve been in the woods in the Appalachians in most of the regions the trail runs through for various reasons, and I’ve seen bits of the trail (where it crosses other trails or roads) but haven’t seen anything like this that really shows what it’s like. I did read part of the Bill Bryson book (which is fair since he only hiked part of the trail!) and this video gives a much better idea of what it’s like, and what the appeal is.

    Finally, the part where he briefly walks towards what looks like a trailer park is the one spot where it does enter horror movie territory. If you’ve ever been in the rural Appalachians, you get this foreboding, unsettling, and creepy feeling. It doesn’t help that many of the people who live there live up to their stereotypes.

  8. Super clevery and well edited film – not one moment of “horror” (as penguischris says below) in it – what a joke! Very few people EVER go north to south on the AT. This video would show snow for the first minute or two if the hiker had done that. North to south is doable but often deadly.

    Perhaps more amusing to read pengiunchris’s comments on the video entering “horror movie territory” and that anyone who’s ever been in the Appalachians (where – any region???) feels a “foreboding, unsettling, creepy feeling…” Perhaps Chris does, but given that there were more murders, muggings, and other crimes TODAY in just one single major US city than in the entire history of the AT – is an exaggeration and a cliche. There are no trailer parks on the AT either.

    Besides – there is far, far more poverty in the 5 biggest US cities than along the entire AT or “Appalachia” for that matter – and 100 times the intimidation, fear – and lack of food & clean water. When the city shuts down – you are screwed, but when things get bad – it’ll just be another day in Appalachia. And people will wave hi even if they don’t know you. When you know where your food & water comes from -you have much more respect for others, and for living than you do in a city, hands down.

    1. “Very few people EVER go north to south on the AT.”

      Hm, a buddy of mine who thru-hiked the AT in 2002 did it from north to south. He did say more people did it the other direction, but he was hardly the only one.

      The next year he did the Pacific Crest Trail south-to-north, and I was his supply guy, mailing him packages of food and such to pick up every week or so.

      The following year he completed the “Triple Crown” of hiking by doing the Continental Divide Trail north-to-south, which had far fewer hikers. I picked him up at the end at the border crossing in Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

    2. When I hiked from North to South last year there were a few hundred other people doing the same thing. There was no snow in the northern areas either. The customary time to start is in June or July, so it is fairly unlikely that there would be (though it is possible in the White mountains of NH). There was a small amount of snow when I finished in November. From my experience, it was no more dangerous than living in the city and I met so many great people along the way.

      Dr. Geo
      ME>GA 2010

  9. Dang, when I saw this was an ‘Appalachian Trial’ video, I thought it was going to be some sort of steamy south American porno with the guy actor playing a southern US politician.

  10. I’ve hiked the AT in 97 and the PCT in 99 and loved watching the video. It brings me back to the great times I had and want to go back to the mountains. Thanks for the great memories.

  11. The AT isn’t any more dangerous than “real life”. Although, Anon #30, why do you say that North-to-South is “often deadly”? I’ve only ever heard of the 9 or so murders, which have nothing to do with direction of travel. Never heard of any nature-related deaths on the AT that would qualify as “often”. Winter mountain trekking itself is deadlier than three-season hiking…is that what you mean?

    But I like your comments, aside from that quibble. The percentage of sketchy people on and around the whole length of the AT is the same as anywhere I’ve lived. People is people, no matter where you’re at. The good thing about the AT is that it’s impossible to hide who you really are over the journey.

    As for the video, disappointed not to see some pics of fording the Kennebec. Otherwise, an interesting take on what should really be a six-month journey. I’d rather flip slowly through my own pictures, obviously. But very cool technology, and cool music.

    And to answer Anon #19, well, along about Virginia in mid-May, a noticeable percentage of hikers drop out for that same “green tunnel” feeling. It isn’t for everyone, and it definitely takes some perseverance.

    Laughing Tadpole ’95 GA–>ME

  12. I’ve been seriously considering my hand at the PCT. However, The logistics involved, and especially time-off from work, may be too much. Maybe I’ll just do it piecemeal.

    I’m quite sure I would be one of those people bailing in Virginia on the AT. The Green Tunnel would be far too monotonous. I lived in Georgia for a long time and it was wonderful, but I remember feeling smothered by the lack of view, occasionally (that’s what Stone Mtn is for!). Moving back to CA was a relief in that sense. It is strange what you miss about a place. Now that I’m away from the South I miss the thunderstorms, Fireflies, and Autumn. You can’t win. v0v

  13. Its hard to condense an experience like that into a 4 minute video of only the hike. This is your living situation for 5 to 8 months, if you are lucky and don’t get hurt too badly to keep walking… 90% who start at Springer end up dropping off the trail, a big wave early on by mid-Virginia just can’t deal with being separated from modern society like that… then the injuries take even the toughest home. My wife fell off a cliff in ME just past the NH border, ended up mostly ok with a very badly sprained ankle, but limped she out with the aid of 4 other. We had a friend who died of a heart attack. The most dangerous animal is definitely man but hypothermia was more insidious and I summoned a rescue for a dehydrated day hiker on a “zero day” taken at a shelter because there was no money for a hotel.

    I really wish this video covered some of the social aspect, you end up forming a sort of walking subculture, duct taping blisters, darned near freezing to death, and many other things other than simply walking through trees.

    Thebes (w/ Twilight) Springer>MA* 2000 MA>ME 2001

    *(and that 9 month break was for Twilight’s back, she threw it out when a rock rolled from under her foot in camp)

  14. South to north. Likely starting in March, so snow is not unheard of. Besides some of the parts near the end being familiar, you actually get to see the “Welcome to Maine” sign.

  15. Did 17 miles in Ga. in early 80’s great experience. First part of video brought back great memories. Thanks. Mr Bill in Cincinnati

  16. VCU in the credits! Go Rams! I’d like to do the whole thing someday. I’ve done day hikes and even overnighters at trail shelters since I live so close to the trail. In fact, I might have an advantage to help prevent bailing out since I live about 30 min from the junction at I-64 and could spend a few days home before continuing on.

  17. Hello Maggie,
    I am the race director of the Megatransect Challenge and want to do a similar fast motion video similar to your Applachian Trial in 4 minutes. My event typically takes ~ 4 to 10 hours to run or hike. What kind of camera did you use. I have a Flip HD camera. What software did you use to speed it up? A mutual friend James S. hooked me up with your video. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  18. Great job, Kevin. Gave me some fab memories. Did it in 2002. Am most of the way to Canada (at Columbia River) on PCT.
    Rafter Jack

  19. Great video for only 4 minutes. Enjoyed immensely. Especially the VA and NJ sections. Thought I recognized the “lemon squeezer” and “the gilloutine”. Recognized the High Point memorial in NJ. Have to agree must be GA-ME.

  20. way too cool don’t know how anyone would not enjoy or appreciate this makes me want to head out now and through hike the entire trail!

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