Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend


ATKO Weekend

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Friday, March 3, 2023 through Sunday, March 5, 2023

We are excited to welcome the Appalachian Trail thru-hiker community back to Amicalola Falls Lodge and State Park for the annual Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend!

This free event takes place in the conference center at Amicalola Falls Lodge where you can attend presentations, gear up with vendors, and socialize with fellow hikers.  Add more texture to your stay by signing up for one the many activities offered in the park such as archery and tomahawk throwing!  Email for activity reservations.

If you would like to register as a vendor, please contact or call 706-344-1515 for additional information.


Tent Village is $15 per night for each person.  This is the spot you want to be as an aspiring thru-hiker. Sites will be available on the day of the event but please consider registering ahead of time by emailing or calling 706-265-4706.

Call the Lodge at 706-344-1500 to make reservations for rooms, cabins or regular campsites. The event is free, however, all vehicles must possess a $5 Georgia State Park entry pass (or a Georgia State Annual Park Pass) if not staying on property.

Speaker Schedule

Friday, March 3

5:00pm: Odie – Welcome, Appalachian Trail History and the Hiker Community

6:30pm: Miss Janet – Fabric of the Trail

7:30pm: Social Hour – Beverages and Snacks Available in the Conference Hall

Saturday, March 4

8:30am: Paul Fitzner – The Future of Backpacking Gear

9:30am: Sunny Waller – Simple and Light is NICE

10:45am: Judy Gross – DIY Backpacking Food (Dehydrate it Yourself)

12:00pm: Collin Chambers – A Guide to Walking as a Sacred Path

1:30pm: Clare Sullivan – Who, What, Where, When and Why of the Benton MacKaye Trail

3:00pm: Mic Lowther – GA to ME: What You’re Getting Into

4:30pm: Rob Gasbarro – Hiking Footwear and Footcare

6:00pm: Doug Orman – Platinum Blazing and Planning for Long Section Hikes

7:00pm: Social Hour – Beverages and Snacks Available in the Conference Hall

Sunday, March 5

9:00am: John Cousino – How to Avoid Being Taken off the Trail

10:30am: Steve Adams – The Adventure of a Lifetime

Hiker Registration and Leave-No-Trace Workshops – All Day Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

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ATKO Vendors

Appalachian Trail Chaplaincy, Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA), Bead by Bead Adventures and Quarter Way Inn, Benton Mackaye Trail Association, Etowah Gear, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Goosefeet Gear, Hike Inn, Kindred, LightHeart Gear, Miss Janet Photography, Outdoor 76, Public Lands, Kennesaw, Short Hammock, The Trailhead Lodge, WildWoodWear, Zpacks

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The Adventure Begins Today! 706-344-1500

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