Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend


ATKO Weekend

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Important Announcement

Due to concerns related to Coronavirus, the Appalachian Trail Club (ATC) and numerous federal and state agencies involved with oversight of the Appalachian Trail have determined that no Hang Tags will be issued to through-hikers for the immediate future, effective immediately.  Once the concerns are eliminated, Hang Tags will once again be issued.

Every year Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge becomes home to the Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend. For 3 days, hundreds of vendors, hikers of all experience levels and park naturalists come together to trade tails, advice, education and fellowship with one another. The first weekend of March is the official kick-off for those people who want to become the next named thru hikers – an elite group of individuals who have hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia all the way up to Maine without breaks.

Planning to stay the weekend? Call the Lodge at 706-344-1500 to make reservations for rooms, cabins, or a campsites. Email to reserve a site in Tent City. The event is free, however all vehicles must possess a $5 Georgia State Park entry pass (or a Georgia State Annual Park Pass).

Speaker Schedule

Friday, March 6th

  • 4:45pm – Jack Layfield with AT Chaplaincy – AT Chaplaincy Program
  • 6:00pm – Richard Judy & Emmy Law – An Ode to the Trail

Saturday, March 7th

  • 9:00am – Paul Fitzner with Etowah Outfitters – Utilizing Solar Power
  • 10:15am – Jay Dement with the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club – Hike a Better Hike
  • 11:30am – Judy Gross with LightHeart Gear – Dehydrated Food
  • 1:00pm – Whitney La Ruffa with Six Moon Designs – Hikers’ Advice
  • 2:15pm – Larry Dumas with the Benton MacKaye Trail Association – Hiking the Benton-MacKaye
  • 3:30pm – Ken Bunning with the Appalachian Long-Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA) – Staying Found
  • 4:45pm – Eric Matos with Ever Green Adventure Foods – Eliminating Single Use Plastic on the Trail
  • 6:00pm – Kaite  Rapp & Tom Ottinger with Ridge Runners and AT Conservancy – Stories from a Ridge Runner
  • 7:15pm – Carol & Jim Steiner – AT Day Hiker Trail Adventures

Sunday, March 8th

  • 10:15am – Josh Harrington – Art Along the Trail

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2020 ATKO Vendors

Six Moon Designs, Purple Rain Adventure Skirts, LightHeart Gear, AntiGravity Gear, Ever Green Adventure Foods, AT Chaplaincy, Goosefeet Gear, Benton-MacKaye Trail Association, Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA), Backpackers Pantry, Etowah Outfitters, Carol and Jim Steiner, ZPacks, Karen Lord Rutter, Discover Georgia Outdoors, Sarah Jones Decker Photography, Outside World Outfitters, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC), Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Taku Agency, Leonard Adkins, Appalachian Trail Passport, Miss Janet, R & R Hammocks, The Hiker Yearbook

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