Inaugural 'Flip Flop Kick Off' Will Promote Alternative Ways of Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Date Published: Apr 07, 2015

Flip Flop Kick Off event poster

Harpers Ferry, WV (April 7, 2015) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will host its inaugural Flip Flop Kick Off on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3, at the ATC Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The event will celebrate those who attempt a “flip flop,” which is an alternative way of hiking the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.) that allows hikers to begin or end their hike mid-Trail. With live music, games, prize giveaways and interactive hiking workshops, as well as an official flip flop hiker send off, the family-friendly event offers an opportunity for the public to learn more about those who attempt the A.T. in its entirety.  

During the event on May 2, participants will have the opportunity to interact with hikers during workshops and panel discussions that cover a variety of topics, including long-distance hike planning, flip flop hike logistics, Trail magic, and lessons learned while on the A.T. These workshops and panels will be held every hour. In the afternoon, Todd Coyle and friends will entertain the crowd with live music, and children and adults alike can participate in hiking themed games and interactive Leave No Trace demonstrations.

On May 3, join the ATC and this year’s class of flip flop hikers for a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. before the official hiker send off at 9 a.m.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy wants hikers to know that thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail don't have to start and end in Georgia or Maine,” said Laurie Potteiger, information services manager for the ATC. “More and more thru-hikers have found there are advantages to starting or ending somewhere in the middle, with Harpers Ferry an ideal location to begin what is known as a flip flop thru-hike.”

“Because a flip flop thru-hike allows walkers to adopt a slower pace, a flip flopper can take more time to explore the communities along the Appalachian Trail, enjoying the offerings that special places like Harpers Ferry have to offer without quite as much pressure to ‘make miles’ before the snow flies,” Potteiger continued.

The ATC encourages hikers to adopt a flip flop thru-hike because it helps disperse use and reduces the crowding that characterizes the peak of the northbound thru-hiker season. This will be especially important after the movie “A Walk in the Woods,” starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, hits screens later this year. The movie is expected to inspire legions of more hikers to hit the Trail in future years.

Flip Flop Kick Off weekend overview:
Date: Saturday, and Sunday, May 2 and 3
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 7:30 a.m. pancake breakfast and 9 a.m. hiker send off Sunday
Location: Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center, 799 Washington St., Harpers Ferry, WV

For more information about the Flip Flop Kick Off, including a complete schedule of events, visit

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,185 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit  

Contact: Javier Folgar                                                                     
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0481
Fax: 304.535.2667
Email: [email protected]

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  1. Steve Hostick | Sep 19, 2015
    New to all this.  I'll keep your website in my favorites, but is there a way we can get alerts of upcoming events and new news items at our email accounts?  Just a thought.  Thanks.

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