Race and Demographics on the AT

Publish date: Jun 25, 2019

So the AT isn’t very diverse. At least not racially. I’ve only met a handful of people of color. I’m more likely to see Anglo and German hikers here on visas. Appalachia probably isn’t the most obvious choice for hikers of color. While the thruhiking community has built an intensely welcoming culture, the towns it passes through have not. As 2017 thru hiker Rahawa Haile points out, we hike 670 miles before we reach a county that didn’t vote for Trump. I recommend her piece in Outdoor, it’s much better writing than mine.

That being said, the trail is diverse in other ways. We represent lots of different states, career paths, generations, and personalities. I’ve met veterans, artists, hedge fund analysts, bartenders, hunters, vegans… You really do meet all sorts of people, just mostly white people.

Here are some demographic visualizations from the Trek’s 2018 demographic survey, which reached 310 thru hikers.