Backpacking on the A.T.

This trip was incredible. Some moments were extremely challenging physically and mentally, but overall I am so glad to start freshman year of college with this great feeling of accomplishment and the special bond with those I shared it with.~W&L Student


This Appalachian Adventure expedition is designed to provide first-year students with the opportunity to meet other members of their class as well as the upperclassmen who will be leading the trips. Additionally, students will gain knowledge, skills, and experiences essential for safe, minimum-impact use and enjoyment of backcountry environments, as well as learning the basics of outdoor camping. On this trip students will learn how to set up a tarp, cook their own meals on backcountry stoves, and travel with a map and compass.


The Appalachian Trail, or A.T., is a 2,153 mile long trail which runs from Katahdin, a granite monolith in the central Maine wilderness, south to Springer Mountain in Georgia, along the ridge of the Appalachian mountain chain. The Appalachian Trail covers more miles in Virginia than in any other state, spanning 545 miles across the length of the state and covering more than a quarter of the A.T.'s total distance. While traveling through George Washington National Forest, Thomas Jefferson National Forest, and Shenandoah National Park, the A.T. climbs to elevations between four and five thousand feet, impressive heights by Eastern standards, offering expansive vistas to those with a taste for high country. The scenery along the Virginia portion of the Appalachians, moreover, is studded with natural wonders including cascading waterfalls, exposed rock outcrops, mountain meadows, and deep hollows rich with native wildflowers.