If you are planning a hike on the Appalachian Trail as a section-hiker or thru-hiker, a certain amount of pre-planning is required. Not only do you need to know what food you will need or what gear to pack or leave behind, but also the mileage you plan to hike each day, the campsites you will use, your resupply locations, and much more. There are quite a few resources available that can help you prepare for your Appalachian Trail hike. The A.T. Guide is one of the most extensive books for this purpose.
The A.T. Guide provides mileages for landmarks from north-to-south and from south-to-north. The guide includes maps of 90 towns and listings for available services along the trail. Easy-to-read symbols and notations are given for quick identification of services such as water sources, campsites, shelters, privies, summits, gaps, views, and many more. Elevation profile maps for the entire trail help you know your elevation gain and loss between each landmark and every landmark is aligned to the profile.
The A.T. Guide provides GPS coordinates for more than 300 trailhead parking areas, allowing you to use your GPS to find your way to the trail. From each of the shelters on the trail, this guide gives you the distance to the next three shelters in both directions. This is helpful for figuring out your hike plan for the next day.
The A.T. Guide is available in a bound, loose-leaf, or downloadable PDF format. Also, you can choose between a northbound version and a southbound version, depending on where you start your journey. The book only weighs approximately 7.8 ounces, making it light enough to pack on your hike. If you use the loose-leaf version, you can shed weight as you go, trashing the pages you don’t need anymore. The guide also comes with a heavy-duty zip-lock bag for weather protection. The price for this information-packed guide is around $14 for the bound and loose-leaf formats and $9 for the PDF format.
Disclosure: The author purchased this book with his own funds.