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Appalachian Pages: A Hiker’s Trail Guide

 Book Review: Appalachian Pages

Appalachian Pages is a hiker’s guide to theAppalachian Trail designed and written by AT hikers for AT hikers.

I first got a good look at this book last month, when I met Jared, a southbound thru-hiker, on the Appalachian Trail in the 100 mile Wilderness. We were sitting around waiting for a ride, so I opened it up to kill some time and I was blown away when I saw all of the information it contained. This is a must-have trail guide if you want to plan a hike of any length on theAppalachian Trail, and includes:

  • Transportation options for getting to and from the trail, including local trail shuttles
  • Trail town maps, including places to eat and resupply
  • Maildrop packaging guidelines, post office locations and private mail drops
  • Details about lodging prices and work for stay options
  • Detailed information about shelter capacity, tenting pads, privy, and water sources
  • Local regulations about hiking with dogs
  • Tips on trail and town etiquette
  • Outfitter and veterinarian locations
  • GPS coordinates to trail head parking locations
  • Emergency contact information for backpacking gear manufacturers
  • Elevation profiles of the trail with mileages between landmarks, water, and shelters
  • Perforated pages, so you can tear out just the sections you need

Let me show you some examples.

Detailed Map of a Trail Town: Lincoln, NH

This is a map of Lincoln, New Hampshire, a trail town at the base of the Kinsman Range and Franconia Notch. If you are a hungry, smelly hiker stopping for a resupply, this map provides you with all of the information you need to get where you need to go and leave town clean and well fed, including restaurant locations, grocery stores, drug stores, a local hospital, the laundromat, and motels. I’ve never seen any other trail guide or map with this kind of detail.

Here is part of the next page, showing the section that I plan on hiking this weekend between Mt. Wolf and South Kinsman Mountain.

 Elevation Profiles and Landmarks

The first two columns on the left hand side of the page display the distance (in miles) to the northern and southern ends of the AT in Maine and Georgia. Next, each trail landmark is listed along with its elevation in the right most column. The squiggly, grey line running down the page represents the trail’s elevation profile. (This is a really clever use of space.)

If a location is a shelter, symbols to its right indicate the amenities available there. For example,  I can tell you that the Eliza Brook Shelter, shown here, is a lean-to with a capacity of 8, that camping is permitted, tent sites are available, and that there is a water source and a privy.

Underneath the shelter name are 6 numbers and directional arrows that represent the southbound and northbound mileages of the next 3 shelters on the trail. This is handy information if you’re doing big miles and you want to know if it’s worth stopping for the day or continuing on to the next shelter before dark.

Appalachian Pages is written and kept up to date by two well know personalities in the AT hiker community, David Miller (AWOL), author of the AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, and Rick Towle (AT Troll), moderator of WhiteBlaze.net, a large online community of Appalachian Trail enthusiasts with 22,000 members.

Get your own copy for $15.95. Now that I’ve discovered this gem, I’m not sharing mine!

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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10 comments

  1. Have you looked at the "Wingfoot" (The Thru-hiker's Handbook<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=ultrarevie-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0970791607&quot; width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />) book? Would you say this is better than that book?

  2. I haven't. Maybe someone else can comment…

  3. Both the wingfoot (now maintained by Bob McCaw at trailplace.com) and "Pages" are great. Each is packed with more data than you could ever want. IMHO the important differences are the page perforations and especially the elevation profile overlay. That idea is right out of the Edward Tufte manual. I love it!

    If you are planning more than a two day trip these guides are essential. Just having a topo map may not be enough to help you find the closest water or know whether to turn left or right on some forest road when you need to bail.

  4. I haven't used either the Wingfoot (now Bob McCaw since Wingfoot retired) or Appalachian Pages, but AP is kind of the newcomer to the scene. I know lots of people use the Wingfoot guide since it's been around many years. I heard some complaints about the accuracy of info in AP's first edition, but I'm sure they're working out the bugs.

    If you're planning a section hike and already have maps, I also like to use the ALDHA Thru-hiker's companion. Not as much info, but you can get sections for free on ALDHA's website. Just google "through hiker's companion"

  5. Both are great books. Go to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2 Fwww.amazon.com%2F&tag=ultrarevie-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=390957″ target=”_blank”>Amazon.com<img src="https://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=ultrarevie-20&l=ur2&o=1&quot; width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> and order your copy!

  6. In 2010 Appalachian Pages was discontinued. In it's place, I've started "The A.T. Guide," which has everything that "Appalachian Pages" had, except with even more maps and a much improved elevation profile, and a format that allows viewing of 2 pages of continuous elevation profile.

  7. That sounds cool David. I was just planning a section in southern Maine and that would have come in handy. Look forward to the new book!

  8. Hi,

    Are there any recent updates? I have the 2008 Northbounf edition. Haven't updated since last year.

  9. Since the guidebook is re-published annually, the updates for each edition are only maintained for one year. There's an incredible amount of updates each year. I'd estimate that there are 500-1000 new pieces of information each year. Most of these are minor, such as small mileage changes, a change in business hours or prices, and dozens of businesses that come and go in trail towns. The most significant change from your 2008 book to the present (The A.T. Guide 2011) is that there are about 800 more landmarks (water sources, campsites, etc…), and about 20 more town maps.

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