Much More than Resupply Points — About Appalachian Trail Towns and Festivals
More than 50 towns near the Appalachian Trail have been recognized as AT Communities™. The people of these cities and towns serve a vital role for the hiking community — and for far more than resupplying food, doing laundry or recharging batteries (in the physical and/or literal sense). For thru-hikers and section hikers alike, many of these communities become treasured places. The friends and memories we make in these towns are woven into our experiences. Many of us stay in touch and return to rekindle those memories. Some of those experiences even inspire a book.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy formally recognizes trail towns, many of which hold annual festivals. These gatherings are simply fantastic. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, just starting out or simply want to enjoy some time outdoors with the family in a beautiful mountain town, you’ll find a welcoming community in every sense of the word.
Grandaddy of them All
Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, VA is an annual extravaganza. For almost four decades, this multi-day gathering has grown to celebrate all things AT. There are workshops, music, gear booths and — the highlight of it all — an annual parade of AT hikers through the city streets. Appalachian Trail Days is held in May to coincide with the arrival of many northbound hikers in town.
Hillsboro/Round Hill Festival
If you live in the Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia region, this festival is one not to miss. There are gear vendors, live music, hiker panels, family events and so much more. In 2023, the festival moves to a new venue in downtown Hillsboro. I’ve been to every one and can attest that, “This is just great”, is one of the most common comments among attendees. Find out more at the Hillsboro/Round Hill Festival website.
The Complete List of Appalachian Trail Towns and Festivals
The ATC has compiled their list of AT trail towns and cities. Each link takes you to a page highlighting the community’s amenities and some nearby hikes. Here’s hoping your connections with the people of these wonderful towns are as enriching and enduring as mine!