2. Getting to the Appalachian Trail

Unless you are fortunate to live in a trail town, you are going to need a way to get to and from the Appalachian Trail. In this section, we'll introduce you to a diverse range of transportation options and give you tips for each mode of travel.

2_1. Going by Car
While few thru-hikers drive themselves to the Appalachian Trail, you may want to only hike a short section or meet family members along the way. Here's some resources on parking and driving to the trail.

2_2. Going by Bus
In addition to Greyhound, numerous regional and local transit buses serve the Appalachian Trail. These resources will help you learn how to use the various bus systems.

  • 2-2c. Exercise: Use the Greyhound ticket tool to find the fare and time of arrival in Washington DC from your nearest Greyhound station. The first train to Harper's Ferry departs at 4:55 p.m. and arrives at 6:15. Which scheduled bus will get you to DC in time to travel to Harper's Ferry?

2_3. Going by Train
Amtrak and other commuter trains pass over or near the Appalachian Trail making trains a viable transportation option in some areas.  These resources will help you learn how to use the various train systems. 

  • 2-3b. Exercise: Use the Trip Planner on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Metro-North website to lookup schedules and fares from Grand Central Station to Manitou, Pawling, the Appalachian Trail, and Ten Mile stations. Did you natice anything unique anout the Appalachian Trail station?

2_4. Going by Plane
While many hikers fly to Atlanta to start their hike at Springer Mountain, nearly all mail some or all of their gear ahead to family, friends, or hostels. Post 9/11 security has made flying with your backpack much more difficult.

2_5. Hitchhiking
Sooner or later, many Appalachian Trail hikers resort to hitchhiking. While generally unlawful along the northern half of the trail, hitchhiking is fairly common along the southern half. Here's what you should know before sticking out your thumb.

2_6. Shuttles
In the event of an emergency or limited public transportation, many Appalachian Trail hikers pay for the services of a hiker shuttle. Here's some good information before you part with your cash.

  • 2-6c. Exercise: Locate shuttles for the following movements.
    • Atlanta, GA to Amicalola Falls State Park
    • Medway, ME to Baxter State Park

Congratulations! You've completed another section of the
Appalachian Trail Online Course.

Since you now know how to get to the Appalachian Trail, let's next learn about ensuring safe drinking water and get advice on the best foods and snacks to enjoy on our trek.

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