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KingGator and Sons

Appalachian Trail Journal Entry #16 - Some Stats and Numbers for Our Family!

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This is for my family whom are curious about the Appalachian Trail. All numbers, stats, and info that is right here is from the website. Here is some general numbers, history, and records from the Trail. Hopefully, this will clear your mind a little on how many people do this and their age differences. Here we go...

Completing the entire estimated 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip is a mammoth undertaking. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt a thru-hike; only about one in four make it all the way.

The number of people hiking the entire Trail has risen dramatically over the years. From 1936 to 1969, only 59 completions are recorded. In 1970, the numbers began to rise. Ten people completed the Trail in 1970, including Ed Garvey, whose thru-hike was well-publicized. The trend was further fueled by the release of Garvey's popular book, Appalachian Hiker: Adventure of a Lifetime. The term “2,000-miler” was coined in the late 1970s to help identify this growing group of hikers.

By 1980, the total number of 2,000-milers had increased more than ten-fold. The total had doubled by 1990 and again by 2000. More hike completions were reported for the year 2000 alone than in the first 40 years combined. The 10,000th hike completion was recorded in 2008. 2,000-Milers by Decade

1930s - 5
1940s - 3
1950s - 14
1960s - 37
1970s - 764
1980s - 1,419
1990s - 3,305
2000s - 5,872
2010s - 2,203
Total - 13,622

Women make up about 25% of the total hike completions reported. Hikers from Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Romania, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Wales have reported completing the Trail.

Noteworthy 2,000-Milers
First 2,000-miler - In 1936, ATC Chair Myron Avery became the first “2,000-miler,” having walked and measured every step of the flagged or constructed A.T. route.

Early section-hikers - Five others reported completing the entire Trail between 1939 and 1946, including a 1939 completion by George W. Outerbridge, who now has a shelter named after him just south of Lehigh Gap, Pennsylvania, on the first stretch of Trail he completed in 1932.

First reported thru-hiker - In 1948, Earl V. Shaffer became the first to report a thru-hike, walking the entire Trail from Georgia to Maine. He hiked again—this time from Maine to Georgia—in 1965. On his third thru-hike, 50 years after his first, he became the oldest thru-hiker at age 79, a distinction he held until 2004.

First female thru-hiker - Mildred Norman is the earliest female thru-hiker on record, having reported a flip-flop hike in 1952. Under the name "Peace Pilgrim", Norman later walked over 25,000 miles throughout North America.

Oldest thru-hiker - In 2004, Lee Barry, known as “Easy One,” became the oldest thru-hiker at age 81 when he completed his fifth hike (and second thru-hike) of the A.T. Only 11 thru-hike completions have been reported by hikers age 70 or over, and most of those hikers had already thru-hiked the A.T. at least once before.

Oldest section-hiker - The oldest section-hiker walked the A.T. from 1972 to 1975, completing the Trail after he turned 86.

Youngest thru-hiker - A 6-year-old boy became the youngest person to hike the A.T. when he completed a flip-flop thru-hike with his parents in 1980. Twenty-two years later, in 2002, another 6-year-old boy completed a flip-flop thru-hike with his parents and 8-year-old sister.

Youngest female thru-hiker - The youngest female to thru-hike the A.T. was 8 when she completed hiking the Trail in 2002 as part of a family group.

Youngest female section-hiker - The youngest female section-hiker, Kimberley (Raymond) Emberg, started the Trail at age 3 in 1984 and completed the Trail at age 15 in 1997. Four generations of her family are 2000-milers. Her great grandmother (Reba DuPaul) and her grandmother (Reba Johnson) both section-hiked the AT in the 1980's. Her father (Lyle Raymond), mother (Nancy Raymond), sister (Rebecca Raymond), and Kimberly hiked the trail from 1984 to 1997 together.

First solo female thru-hiker - Emma Gatewood, better known as “Grandma Gatewood,” mother of 11 children and grandmother of 23, was 67 when she first hiked the Trail in 1955. In 1957, she completed her second thru-hike at age 69, holding the unofficial title of oldest female thru-hiker for the next 50 years. In 1964, she became the first person to complete the A.T. three time when she finished a section-hike. She was famous for wearing only “Keds” tennis shoes and carrying a small knapsack.

Oldest female thru-hiker - Nancy “Magellan” Gowler become the oldest female thru-hiker in 2007 at age 71 when she completed her second thru-hike. Barbara "Mamaw B" Allen tied Nancy as the oldest female thru-hiker when she completed her thru-hike also at 71 years old in 2012.

Oldest female section-hiker - The oldest female section-hiker, Beverly "High 5-R" LaFollette, completed the Trail in 2004 at the age of 80, after 11 years of section-hiking.

2012 Hiker Counts (updated May 14, 2013)
Northbound (Georgia to Maine)
Springer Mtn., Ga. - 2500
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (1,017 miles) - 1017
Katahdin, Maine (2,184 miles) - 536

Southbound (Maine to Georgia)
Katahdin, Maine - 330
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (1,167 miles) - 162
Springer Mtn., Ga. (2,184 miles) - 73

Harpers Ferry, W.Va. - 97
Completions reported - 63

Section (more than one year)
Harpers Ferry, W. Va. - 320
Completions reported - 140

n/a = count not yet available from this location
* These numbers will continue to increase as we receive completion reports.

It's estimated that 2-3 million visitors hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail each year. Most enjoy day hikes and short backpacking trips, but each year a small fraction of those hikers complete the entire Trail. How many? Since 1936, more than 13,500 hike completions have been recorded by ATC. This includes thru-hikes, multi-year section-hikes, and several hundred hikes by people who have already completed the A.T. one or more times. We call all these hikers “2,000-milers.”
2,000-milers in Recent Years


Northbounders 2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011
Springer Mountain, Ga. 1,150-1,125-1,250-1,425-1,460-1,700
Neels Gap, Ga. (30 miles) 1,076-1,005-1,150-1,325-n/a-n/a
Fontana Dam, N.C. (160 miles) n/a-n/a-1,050-911-n/a-n/a
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (1,000 miles) 659-613-667-709-747-949
Katahdin, Maine (2,100+ miles) 354-320-363-399-434-464
Completion rate: 32%-28%-29%-28%-30%-27%

Northbounders hike from Springer Mountain to Katahdin in one continuous journey. They represent more than 65 percent of reported 2,000-milers.

Southbounders 2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011
Katahdin, Maine 200-184-241-252-256-n/a
Kennebec Ferry, Maine (150 miles) 154-141-n/a-n/a-n/a-209
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. (1,170 miles) 90-94-122-124-115-135
Springer Mountain, Ga. (2,100+ miles) 35-49-66-71-50-83
Completion rate: 17%-27%-27%-28%-20%-n/a%

Southbounders hike from Katahdin to Springer Mountain in one continuous journey. They represent about 10 percent of total reported 2,000-milers.


Flip-floppers complete the Trail in twelve months or less, but with an alternate itinerary. They make up about 5 percent of reported 2,000-milers.


Section-hikers complete the Trail in more than one trip. They represent about 20 percent of total 2,000-milers.