Why carry a heavy backpack when you can day hike the Appalachian Trail?

2018-19 SmartHikes!

SMARTHIKE, started in 2011, offers an efficient and affordable way to hike short or long sections of the Appalachian Trail. The four SmartHikes offered in 2018-19 are listed below.

Suggested donation is $1,200 per hike. Suggested donation for individual days are $50 for the southern hikes and $60 for the Maine hike.

The support van carries your food, clothing, shelter, sleeping bags/pads, water and extra pair of boots. We also provide a car for medical emergencies. People can use their own car if they want for a reduced donation.

All SmartHike hopefuls are required to attend a weekend SmartHike 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 and includes on-site lodging.  The orientation provide a realistic picture to help you decide if the SmartHike is right for you.

SmartHike Orientations


  • July 13-15
  • Sept. 21-23
  • Nov. 2-4 


  • March 22-24
  • July 12-14
    Nov. 1-3

Appalachian Trail Institutes


  • July 9-13
  • Oct. 1-5
  • Oct. 8-12

SmartHikes are good for the recently retired, section hikers of all ages, and those 2018/2019 thru-hikers who would have van support for more than half the trail.  As a matter of fact, a 2018 thru-hiker could arrange their own support between Harpers Ferry and Gorham between June 20 and August 20.

The daily average for the GA/TN/NC hike is 16 mpd.
The daily average for the VA hike is 17.3 mpd.
The daily average for the ME hike is 12.4 mpd.

SmartHike Session Details