Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend


ATKO Weekend

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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.

Speaker Schedule

Friday, March 1st
5:00 pm  “Welcome to ATKO” and “The Hiking Community”- Matthew “Odie” Norman

6:00 pm  “HikerTV Presents the Magic of the Trail”- Miss Janet Hensley


Saturday, March 2nd
9:00 am Gear Lab with Sunny Waller until 4:00 pm

9:00 am  “State of the Trail Update”- Bill Bryant

10:00 am  “Leave No Trace”- LNT Travelling Trainers

11:00 am  “Dehydrate it Yourself, Backpacking Food”-Judy (Heartfire) Gross, Lightheart Gear

1:00 pm  “Start Well”- Chloe de Camara, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

2:00 pm  “Getting a Charge out of your Hike”- Paul Fitzner, Etowah Gear

3:00 pm  “Day Hiking the AT and Exploring AT Communities”- Carol Steiner

4:00 pm  “Q & A Hiker Panel”- Gary Sizer and guests

5:00 pm  “Staying Found on the AT”- Ken Bunning, ALDHA Search and Rescue Coordinator


Sunday, March 3rd
9:00 am  “The Least Used Trail”- Larry Dumas, Benton MacKaye Trail Association

10:00 am  “THRU-An Appalachian Trail Love Story”- Richard Judy

11:00 am  “Be Bear Safe” – Ron Burger, ALDHA

1:00 pm  “GA->MN: What You’re Getting Into”- Mic Lowther

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2019 Appalachian Trail Kick Off Vendor List

The Adventure Begins Today! 1-800-573-9656

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