Best Appalachian Trail Lodges – When most outdoor travelers think of the famed Appalachian Trail, their first association is with long-distance backpacking.
And it’s true.
Many hikers spend months traveling the trail from its start in Georgia to its finish atop a mountain in Maine.
But what if you’re not quite ready to hit the trail for weeks at a time?
Learn about the best Appalachian Trail lodges, and enjoy access to some of the trail’s most beautiful sections without the hardship of blistered toes and grimy clothes.
Set along the Appalachian Trail’s northern section from New Jersey to Maine, the seven Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Lodges sit like a string of pearls along the path of the trail.
How do you pick the best Appalachian Trail lodge?
Each location is distinct and enjoys its own personality.
At all of the locations, travelers will find comfortable (if sometimes basic) accommodations in a rustic setting.
Many include nature programs, eco-outdoors programs, and optional tours into the backcountry via snowshoe, paddling, or hiking.
All are centers for eco-friendly education and meeting places for backpackers hiking the trail.
The atmosphere is friendly, enthusiastic, and casual.
Guests can find almost all types of accommodations, from hostel-style lodging to family suites.
Best Appalachian Trail lodges for families:
AMC’s Highland Center is located at Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, and is an epicenter for family-friendly outdoor activities.
The lodge boasts a gear center where kids can be outfitted in appropriate L.L. Bean wear and gear for outdoor adventures.
Environmental responsibility is taught by lodge staff.
Families sleep in comfortable suites and eat family style in the lodge dining room.
Right from the Highland Center grounds, families can hike, snowshoe, or backpack without the need for multi-night camping.
The lodge is located next to Bretton Woods, which allows for even more seasonal fun for kids on nordic trails, hiking trails, and biking trails.
Indoors, kids can take sessions from AMC staff on everything from snow shelter building in winter to backpacking essentials in summer.
Best AMC lodges for hikers:
AMC is well-known for their hut-to-hut lodging along the Appalachian Trail.
AMC offers the oldest hut-to-hut network in the United States, over 125 years old, even older than most National Parks.
Hut reservations include a hearty dinner and breakfast and bunkhouse (co-ed) sleeping arrangements.
Lodge-to-hut stays are ideal for solo adults or couples who want a taste of the Appalachian Trail without spending the time and effort to hike all summer.
Itineraries can be adapted as needed, allowing for weekend to week-long trips.
If you have kids in the group, simply opt for lower elevation huts.
Expert hikers and those wanting a challenge can try the alpine huts.
Best Appalachian Trail lodging lakeside:
If you’re looking to spend more time relaxing by the lake shore and less time hiking (hut-to-hut or otherwise), AMC’s Maine lodges on the Appalachian Trail are a great option.
Located in the Moosehead Lake Region, these lodges are a great fit for couples or families wanting a remote location for summer play.
Choose from cabins to lodge rooms, or opt to backpack the trail a few days then retire in comfort!
Whether you’re a hardcore hiker or a casual camper, there’s a place for you to stay on the Appalachian Trail.
Pick the lodge that’s right for you from our list of the best Appalachian Trail lodges.
Have you hiked or vacationed on the northern section of the Appalachian Trail?
Did you sample an AMC lodge or hut?
What was your best Appalachian Trail lodges experience?
Photo credit: Outdoors.org
Handy Apps for Avid Hikers Outdoor Adventures
Handy Apps for Avid Hikers…Do you love nothing better than spending time on your weekends or every vacation hiking in the great outdoors?
If so, you’ve probably learned how to pack light for each journey so that you give your body as much respite as possible.
One of the best ways to save even more on heavy gear though is to take advantage of the wide array of apps that can be used instead of physical items these days.
From those that help you find your way or track steps taken, to ones that help you stay safe in all conditions, there are plenty of great options to choose from.
No matter your needs, you’re sure to find an app that will make your outdoor adventures more fun and safe.
Read on for some of the best apps for hikers you should download today.
Essential Backpacking Tips and items to pack
Do you like to hike in the bush for days at a time, camping each night under the stars?
Or perhaps you prefer short hikes near big cities such as London or L.A.?
That way, you can always retreat to a comfy hotel room.
If that is the case, think ahead and look at Expedia or another travel deals website.
No matter your choice of location or its distance from civilization, you’re sure to love using MapMyHike while you walk.
This app is the perfect system to have on hand whenever you set off on a hike, as it utilizes the built-in GPS on your smartphone to track your steps.
The fitness-focused application works around the world, and is downloadable for both Android and iOS operating systems.
MapMyHike was created by the team behind the popular MapMyRun and MapMyWalk apps, but this particular edition was specifically created for hikers.
The system can provide elevation information for different tracks around the world, as well as build up an online notebook of trails for users to refer back to whenever required.
The app will record all your pertinent hiking information, such as the distance traveled; the duration and pace of your walks; the route navigation for each day; and the number of calories burned during expeditions.
The handy app can also help users to find the most popular routes to try out at their destination; and sync all of their accumulated data to a free online account.
This information can then be shared with friends, family members, colleagues and other contacts, and perhaps even used to compete for best hike times or simply “I’ve hiked here” bragging rights!
Another tool that all hikers should carry with them is a compass.
However, these days you don’t need to worry about packing a separate product for your trips — simply download an app like Spyglass to your smartphone or other device and you’re good to go.
This compass app was created for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and makes navigation easier and stress-free.
The technology uses a compass image that is overlaid on the data received on a user’s phone via its video camera.
Alternatively, for a different point of view, devices can sit flat with the compass put on top of a Google Earth Maps image.
Spyglass enables hikers to find not only their current position and destination location, but to also calculate the time they should arrive (based on walking speed).
The application also has other features that hikers are likely to find very useful for treks.
These include a GPS tracker; a hi-tech viewfinder; an inclinometer; a gyrocompass; a sextant; a speedometer; an angular calculator; and gyro horizon.
SAS Survival Guide
You may have already heard of the SAS Survival Guide, a popular book that was written by a former solder and instructor in the SAS (the Special Air Service, the elite special- forces unit of the British Army.)
Now hikers can download an app of the same name that was based on the book.
The application is available for both iOS and Android systems.
The SAS Survival Guide teaches basic survival skills to users, and is the perfect thing to have on hand if an emergency occurs during a hike.
The app includes text, photos, videos and other tools to help users stay safe and deal with problems in the outdoors.
The system includes tutorials on a wide range of subjects, such as creating a survival checklist before departures; finding water; building a fire; signaling for help; and navigating by the stars at night.
Another handy app that’s worth checking out is AllTrails.
This free system (available for both Android and iOS devices) is an incredibly popular one, with over 1.5 million users to date.
Designed to locate walking/cycling trails across the United States and Canada, the app has at least 50,000 different trail guides that can be browsed.
You can search for tracks close to a particular location, as well as read reviews on each trail and write your own if you’d like.
In addition, the app lets users save information about a chosen trail for offline reading; upload their own walk suggestions using their phone’s GPS tracker; and view photos and topographic maps.