The annual Appalachian Trail Kickoff begins on Friday evening, March 7th at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia -- near the stairway to heaven: the southern terminus of the Trail at Springer Mountain -- and runs through Sunday, March 9, 2014.
ATKO 2014, as it is affectionately called, is the perfect place to gather with folks who have thru-hiked the AT several times and noobs who wonder how many iron frying pans will fit in their grandfather's canvas Army sack.
First of all, Amicalola Falls State Park is gorgeous. Cool waterfall with a killer path to the top. Great buffet. Nice meeting rooms. Friendly people and the iconic AT plaque on Springer Mountain is just a hop, skip and a few thousand jumps away.
ATKO 2014 takes place on the first full weekend of March. Lots of events are planned and there's plenty of free time to hike, fiddle with your gear and/or fall in love.
Experts and people who actually have jobs will help you pack your pack, find your way and hike your own hike. You'll meet authors, guides, folks from several AT organizations and even normal people at ATKO 2014.
Several events on the ATKO website looked like fun, but it was last year's calendar. One thing is certain, the Virtual Campfire Conference will return at 7 PM on Saturday night. Here's how they described the one held in 2013:
With a little tech wizardry all the authors, experts, vendors and veteran AT thru-hikers of the event ALL gather around an indoor campfire and compare notes with the Class of 2013 Thru-Hikers about to disembark ! It's a great opportunity to hear all these folks in the same place at the same time -- with the trail community being supportive of the newest aspiring thru-hikers.
Several of our favorite folks will address the crowd:
Think of ATKO 2014 as Woodstock for Appalachian Trail hikers -- except for the food, indoor plumbing, shelter, lack of rain and the absence of loud music all night.
Tags: Attractions, Events, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, News, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer
Hike up to Neel Gap on Blood Mountain on Saturday, February 28, 2015 for the Thru-Hiker Kickoff Party. Free gifts, fabulous folks, fancy fiddling and food!
Appalachian Trail events take place from early March until September from Georgia to Maine. It's the best way to see the Trail without getting blisters.
We hope to see you at one of the 2014 Appalachian Trail events that take place all along the AT -- from Maine to Georgia.
You can hike the entire Appalachian Trail through the wilderness or you can drive from town to town partying at fun Appalachian Trail events. Choose wisely.
Come celebrate the Appalachian Trail's Flip-Flop Kickoff Weekend in Harpers Ferry, WV. Kiss mountain sailors goodbye before they sail the hills to Katahdin.
Every other year, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy holds a convention for AT enthusiasts. The 2015 ATC Biennial Conference will be held July 17th-24th.
The Appalachian Trail Kickoff (ATKO) is a type of Mecca for pilgrims who seek wisdom on hiking the Trail from end to end.
Published May 29, 2014.