Although most of the people who hike the Appalachian Trail are section hikers, you won’t find many trail guides designed for them available from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which is kind of a shame if you think about it too much.
But there is an unofficial Appalachian Trail Parking Guide that you should know about if section hiking or slackpacking is your thing. I use it all of the time to find places to park along the trail, trail head intel, and excellent photos that show what different sections of the trail look like.
It’s hosted and maintained by Cyndi and David Rohland, who started collecting this information in their home state of Pennsylvania, and then expanded it to include the entire Appalachian Trail. The information it contains is based on volunteer submissions from other hikers up and down the trail. If you have information that can help the Rohlands keep this valuable resource up to date, please think about submitting it.
Every parking record in this data source has an section mile marker, cross-road, directions, comments, the number of vehicles that can be parked at the location and other information including Google maps, section photos, and contact information about the local clubs that maintain the trail section.
Here’s an example of a section I hiked last spring in New Hampshire, from NH25A to Lyme-Dorchester Road. As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of information available here, that’s relevant to anyone hiking the area, including thru-hikers.
In addition to this guide, there are a few other things you should know about parking along the AT. If you’re parking along an unpaved road, make sure that all four of your wheels are off of it. Some states like New Hampshire will ticket or tow otherwise. Vandalism is also a potential issue, so make sure not to leave anything valuable in your car or in view through the windows. If possible, park in a highly visible area with lots of passing traffic or speak to a local resident abutting the area and ask them to keep an eye out for your car. Some people will even offer to let you park on their property.
Written December, 2009. Revised March 2013.
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