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117 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
The A.T. Guide is without question the most comprehensive, easiest to use, and most creatively formatted Appalachian Trail guide available to hikers. I used this guide extensively on my recent Appalachian Trail thru-hike and I would especially recommend this guide for any prospective AT thru-hikers. This is the ONLY book you will ever need to prepare for your hike, as well as during your long journey.

The A.T. Guide contains profile maps overlaid upon mileage/data, allowing you to judge distance and elevation gain/loss on a single page. This is hands-down the most creative format for a trail guide that I have encountered. It proved a refreshing and easy way to obtain information at quick glance during my AT thru-hike. No fumbling with other maps, no hidden climbs or descents between landmarks, and no cross-referencing multiple pages. All the information you need is right there, simple as that.

Additionally, no other Appalachian Trail data book contains both the quantity and usefulness of landmarks represented within this guide. With this book, you always know where you are on the Trail. Every water source, campsite, shelter, road crossing, trail intersection, vista, and even ice cream stand is represented in this book. Other guides leave you guessing as to how many more miles you have to reach a destination. With the detail of The A.T. Guide, you always know where you stand and how much distance remains--as well as the difficulty of the terrain during that distance. This book also contains the most detailed and useful town maps of any AT guidebook that I've seen and contains the most complete town services data.

During my AT thru-hike I experimented with other guides, most notably the Thru-Hikers Companion. That book proved to be inferior among its content and general lack of landmarks. It was also confusing when referencing town information. I constantly had to scan multiple pages ahead or behind to cross-reference data represented on one page that was detailed on another. And it's lack of elevation information was infuriating. All too many times I would press on from one shelter to the next because it was only a few more miles, yet this book failed to portray the 1,500 foot climb up a mountain and down the other side before reaching my final destination. The elevations of both shelters were listed, but not the giant mountain in between them. I never had this problem with The A.T. Guide because of its elevation profiles superimposed of the data and landmarks.

If you are trying to make the choice between the two popular data books, it should be an easy one. The A.T Guide is hands down the superior guidebook. If you don't choose it now, you'll switch to it on the Trail later and end up wasting your money on the other.

The evidence is on the Trail: by the time I reached Maine on my A.T. thru-hike, nearly every thru-hiker was using The A.T. Guide as their data book. If you don't take my word for it, take it from everyone hiking the Appalachian Trail.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm a section hiker of the AT. I recently met a thru hiker on the trail who was using this guide. It has a nice way of graphically showing the elevations. It also shows the mileages for the next 3 shelters from each shelter showing both northbound and southbound. It shows all the parking places along the trail. That is particularly good info for us section hikers. I've had trouble finding that info in other AT guides. It has schematics of most of the towns close to the trail highlighting the eating and lodging places. It even has info on some of the people who offer shuttle service along the trail. I'm very pleased with my purchase.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This guidebook tells all ... seriously, all. All the data you could ever need when thru- or section-hiking the Appalachian Trail. And, it's presented in an easy-to-glance-at format (use Amazon's "look inside" feature to see how), and it's got a small form factor. A bit on the heavy side if you're planning on carrying this in your pack (~8 oz.), but then again you could always tear out only the pages you need for the current section of the Trail. Throw it in a waterproof bag with your camera for when you invariably get stuck in a rainstorm. Recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
Color Name: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Pros: up-to-date information about the Appalachian Trail. The Data Spreads have landmarks linked to an elevation profile over a "20.6 miles per page" graph, AT shelters are noted and options are given in both directions to the nearest shelters, and brief write-ups and maps of trail towns are given immediately after the relevant Data Spreads. The Symbols and Notations Key in the front is intuitive, and gives concise information on the Data Spreads, including parking areas.The AT Guide is available in northbound and southbound editions, as well as a loose-leaf format. Reasonable size for use while hiking.
Cons: Some feature articles are relevant, such as the new back country fees at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the regulations of White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, and the special rules of Baxter State Park in Maine. Other articles are simply filler, such as "Suggestions for Providing Trail Magic," "Trail Etiquette," and a wind chill chart hidden toward the back. The Leave No Trace rules -- seven boxes scattered out of order -- take up room that could have been used for critical information about the AT. Either leave the space blank or use fewer pages -- the hikers won't mind the reduced size.
Bottom line: I'm impressed. I like those elevation profiles and how they highlight the steeper sections of the trail. They can't display "steep, but switchbacks" versus "you are crawling on your hands and knees," but any clue is appreciated. I would recommend this guidebook.
Hint: buy two -- one to take, one to leave with a reliable person in case you need something sent to a trail town. The post office phone numbers and zip codes are on the maps. This way you are literally on the same page.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I have backpacked the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to 50 miles inside North Carolina over the past 2 summers. This guide has been 100% correct as to the location of shelters, privies, water sources, and other things you really need to know on the AT. Phone numbers for shuttle services and nearby towns to resupply and sleep were also very helpful. Mileage was right on. I do wish the elevation charts were a little more detailed.

I purchased a few different books, booklets, and guides about the AT, but this was the only one worth the money. I would simply not attempt to do any sectional portion or the entire AT without the current guide. Next summer, plan to do the entire Great Smoky Mountain National Park (with a photocopy of that section from my A.T. Guide 2013 in my pack).

Peter
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Color Name: Paperback
Judging from some of the other reviews, it would appear that some folks have unrealistic expectations of a trail guide, and some are not doing the due diligence that any distance hiker needs to do in order to have a successful hike. One reviewer complains that this book does not tell him how to "get to the trail and get parked". As this book covers every road crossing and every parking area, its hard to imagine what more one could expect. Another seems astonished to have found a campsite that isn't listed. I think it should probably be understood up front that no trail guide can be exhaustive, especially when it comes to listing things like campsites. A guide that was would be too large to be practical, for one thing, but there are other considerations. Some truly brilliant campsites are only obvious or easily approachable in the months where the foliage is off the trees and the underbrush has died back, and thus are probably omitted. Some are withheld because the area is overused and needs to be rested and allowed to recover. I just completed a thru-hike using this book, and would definitely recommend it. I think the majority of distance hikers would seem to agree, as it is rare to see any other trail guide while actually on the trail. The errors I found were almost always quibbles, generally mileage inaccuracies which could easily have resulted from re-routes. But these don't compare to this book's virtues. The information which tended to point out which water sources were dependable and which not I found absolutely invaluable. Awol saved me a lot of grief, as the autumn months (pre-Hurricane Sandy) were VERY dry, and I otherwise would have arrived at several stops where the spring was not running. The town maps were a blessing, as were the listings for shuttle providers. I've been an AT hiker for 35 years, and have used a lot of different books and maps. This is my new go-to trail guide. The book is easy to use and was the only resource I needed for my hike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2014
Verified Purchase
It is easy to see that the majority of people who purchased this book also sing the praises of it. I also found it to be an extremely useful tool for our thru hike in 2014. I purchased two copies of the book from Amazon. One copy was kept with my son who was responsible for sending us our resupply packages and we carried portions of the other book with us. It was easier to tell my son to send our next resupply package to "such and such" hostel address on page 49 rather than try to convey the address we wanted it send to over a bad cell phone connection (this was also the copy that we had David Miller autograph at the ATC Kick-Off in Ga). The second purchased copy was divided up by sections. We had each individual section sent when we needed it and only carried the section we were hiking. This saved weight in our back packs and when you are doing long distance hiking you do count grams and not ounces. If you are going to either section hike the AT or thru-hike it you definitely need this book. We compared it with other guides with people we met along the way and this was the best. Other guide may have given more history or info about things along the trail but this one gave us all the nuts and bolts that we needed to help us.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Just got back from the AT and this is the book just about everyone wanted this one does it all! The Crock
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2014
Verified Purchase
This guide includes elevation as well as NOBO and SOBO mileage for all major points and water sources on the AT. This is so helpful for accurately predicting your daily distances, where you need to camp, and how much water you need to pack between water sources. The organization of distances is much more efficiently laid out in this guide vs the Thru-Hikers Companion 2014 (I own both). I LOVE the symbols used to depict camping, shelters, water sources, etc. SO MUCH better than Thru-Hikers Companion's letter-based system--it makes it easier to interpret at a glance because it's intuitive. The guide gives mail drop addresses and phone numbers for numerous businesses for each city, as well as in depth descriptions of specific hostel/hotel/shelter amenities and prices. I would say I used the AT guide for 80% of my distance/town planning, aside from internet input, and the Thru-Hikers Companion maybe 20% of the time. The thru-Hikers companion definitely has redeeming qualities, like individual elevation charts with road crossings clearly identified, bigger/easier to interpret maps, in-depth descriptions of each shelter and many alternate blue blaze routes, and is produced by the ALDHA which I like to support. However, I think the AT guide is definitely better organized and easier to use, and lighter-smaller book=less pack space & weight on your back. Also has a nifty ruler on the back cover. If you only get one of the two guides, get this one!

4 stars because I do miss the depth that thru-Hikers companion gives you about shelters and opportunities on the trail to blue blaze if the weather is bad. Do I think the depth is really necessary? No, but it's nice to be thorough when planning. At guide is much better suited to take on the trail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Everyone who plans to either section-hike or thru-hike the Appalachian Trail needs this book. The information is laid out in a logical, easily understood format. You'll have the GPS coordinates, direction and distance of the nearest shelter, food and water. Essential information.
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