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Hike the Appalachian Trail in Four States!

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Road Scholar
Program #18537RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Rayne from Boiling Springs, PA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 03/30/14 - 04/04/14
The program gave me a new way to look at a national resource. The Appalachian Trail, especially this time of year is challenging and mystical. We hiked through snow on the first day; by mid week we were sweating our way up and down the part of the trail known as the Roller Coaster. Everything was as described. A great experience! Thank you Road Scholar and Shepherd's Spring for a memorable week.

Leona from Naples, FL Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 03/30/14 - 04/04/14
This is a challenging hike, sometimes up hill for an hour or more, over large rocks. The weather and temperature can change suddenly. Be prepared for adequate clothing, both very warm to very light, on each hike each day. One quickly heats up going up hill.

Stanley from El Paso, TX Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/27/13 - 11/01/13
What a fantastic and wonderful trip. This was a combination of nature, history, music and Appalachian culture that is so memorable. Hats off to the Shepherd Springs staff and all of the accommodations involved. I am so glad that I able to experience the AT this way with great tours, lectures, along with the great hiking. I strongly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to experience some the best that the AT has to offer.

Zava from Hays, KS Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 10/27/13 - 11/01/13
Hiking the AT in four states was exceptional on every level. The hikes provided a satisfying mix of challenging terrain, stops at historically significant way points, and an endless corridor of amazing vistas framed by fall colors. Our group leader, instructors and facility staff pampered us every step of the way as they provided us with many unexpected extras. These included buckets full of goodies in our vans, a stop at Nutter's for ice cream, and a unique musical experience at O'Hurley's General Store. The food far exceeded our expectations, and the kitchen staff finished our week off in style with a tasty banquet of local favorites. Our drive from Kansas was worth every mile. We have some new friends and great memories. This program has our highest recommendation! Thanks, Shepherd's Spring!

Linda from Huntington Beach, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/08/13 - 09/13/13
I really enjoyed this program: from the hiking, to the accomodations (nice beds and good food), to my fellow participaants and let's not forget the speakers and volunteer guides. A good experience and I will be checking out future trips with Road Scholar.

Jane from Grand Rapids, MI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/08/13 - 09/13/13
The program was beyond my imagination. Who else can hike the Appalachian Trail and be greeted by a comfortable van with ice cold water, transported to a lovely shower, enjoy deliciously prepared meals, and a comfortable bed each day? Only Road Scholar participants. The other group members were lively and fun. The leaders and volunteer guides were all welcoming and extremely knowledgeable. I look forward to my next trip with RS.

Charles from Belmont, MA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/26/13 - 05/31/13
I expected it to be good but it exceeded my expectations. It was wonderful, one of the best vacations I've taken, ever. I'd happily do it again, but there are too many other things to do and life is short. The folks at Shepherd's Spring, especially our group leader Rick Burkhart, were great. The hiking, the natural attractions (woods, mountains, streams, rivers, flora, fauna), the Civil War and other history, the music at O'Hurley's General Store, the ice cream, ..., everything was great; and our fellow group members were great company.

Cynthia from Corvallis, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/26/13 - 05/31/13
This was my first trip with Road Scholar and first solo, cross country vacation. It was wonderful! I had a great time and felt welcomed and comfortable with the program and the other participants. Shepherd Springs is a beautiful place and hiking on the AT was a life goal of mine. All in all a great success and not my last Road Scholar vacation.

RONALD from De Pere, WI Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/26/13 - 05/31/13
A wonderful experience. Great people, good accommodations, great food. I came a way with a increased appreciation for the AT and all the people who take up this challenge.

Esther from Akron, OH Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/26/13 - 05/31/13
I had a wonderful time. I enjoyed it and will be forever grateful to the leaders and staff and Shepard's Spring for making it so enjoyable.

Christa from Wynnewood, PA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/26/13 - 05/31/13
Do Hike the Appalachian Trail in 4 States , a wonderful program. You will treasure the memories of this magical trip.

Livia from Madison, WI Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 04/28/13 - 05/03/13
This program really opened my eyes to the AT. Unlike some of the participants, I wasn't very familiar with the AT and signed up mainly to hike a new area. The program was delightful. The leaders, many former thru-hikers or current volunteers on the trails, were interesting. I did not find the hike particularly challenging, but some did. Accommodations were in keeping with Road Scholar--basic, clean, and adequate. The food was actually better than I had anticipated. Certainly a worthwhile program and I would not hesitate to recommend it. I am considering doing another program by this provider.

Paul from Dansville, NY Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 03/24/13 - 03/29/13
Fabulous program and hiking! Make sure your hiking legs are in very good condition. The program description is good-it is a challenging week. Good food. Clean accomodations and quiet. The staff was more than accomodating. The Appalachain music on Thursday evening is the sweet summit to a great week.

Eileen from Lattingtown, NY Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/23/12 - 09/28/12
This was a wonderful group of people to share time with! Many thanks to all of them for a really pleasurable week.

Jane from Reston, VA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 09/23/12 - 09/28/12
We so enjoyed this trip. Getting acquainted with the Appalachian Trail and pushing our hiking capabilities. Good companionship and lots to learn. Stewart added his expertise and knowledge of the Civil War battles. We heard speakers who were through hikers. Sign up and find out how "Pop Tart" got his name. Excellent guides throughout

Sabina from St Petersburg, FL Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 09/23/12 - 09/28/12
Five family members are still talking to each other after this hike. It is as stated challenging, but if you take your time you can do it. We would like to thank the entire staff at Shepard Springs for making our stay enjoyable. A special thanks to Stewart for logging in many volunteer hours to provide us with transportation, history lessons and a few laughs. We are already looking for another Road Scholar trip for 2013.

Roger from Suamico, WI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/23/12 - 09/28/12
This was our first Road Scholar program and it was great! Shepherd Springs did a wonderful job so we could focus on our challenging hikes without worry. The hikes themselves WERE challenging with rocks and tree roots and hills making for a good workout. Our sturdy boots became our best friends.

Mary Ann from Weimar, TX Number of programs attended: 16
Date attended: 09/23/12 - 09/28/12
Great program. We would do it again. I was very grateful I had sturdy, comfortable, well broken-in hiking boots and hiking poles. These were definitely challenging hikes, but well worth it. Shepherd Springs did a great job coordinating the program.

Michael from Atlanta, GA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 09/02/12 - 09/07/12
For anyone thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail or just wanting to get a taste of the experience this trip is a must. Having hiked the Grand Canyon, Mount Mitchell, Pike's Peak and Kilimanjaro last year, I found this to be an entirely different experience. I am now hooked on being a section hiker and plan to hike in all 14 states. Five down and Nine to go. Mike Hagearty, Atlanta

Ellie from Ann Arbor, MI Number of programs attended: 17
Date attended: 09/02/12 - 09/07/12
This is an excellent hiking program. Shepherd's Spring is a very good facility with clean, comfortable rooms, good food, and many acres of beautiful grounds. The hikes are definitely as advertised -- challenging with many rocky sections and steep ascents and descents. It is good to have hiking poles and to carry plenty of water. We did hike in heavy rain one day so be prepared with adequate rain gear. Meeting and getting to know the other participants is always one of the highlights of a Road Scholar program, and our group had a lot of fun together during the week. In addition to the daily hiking, the program does an excellent job of communicating the culture of the Appalachian Trail by having "thru-hikers" as evening speakers, arranging with AT "Ridge Runners" to be trail guides, providing a tour of an AT hikers' hostel, eating our packed lunch each day at a trail shelter, and visiting the the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters in Harpers Ferry at the end of the last hike. The program does include a half day touring and walking at the Antietam National Battlefield, but it would be good to plan an extra day on your own if you want to explore the area in more depth. One highlight of the program was our final evening enjoying an informal gathering of local musicians who gather and play music of the Appalachian area in a nearby general store. The program schedule kept us busy from breakfast at 7:30 right up until the end of the evening program. So bring your energy and love of hiking! I have posted a Blog of our week at You are also welcome to email me at if you have questions. Happy hiking!

David from Ann Arbor, MI Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 09/02/12 - 09/07/12
This program is excellent and I recommend it and I would do it again. We did experience unexpected delights and difficulties. I am sure the difficulties will be addressed and corrrected making this hiking program an even more outstanding experience. The hiking is rewarding but can be strenuous. We had very hot, humid weather that added to the adventure and made the participant group more cohesive. Participants should consider adding a personal day at the front or end of the program to better experience the Antietam National Battlefield.

Kathleen from Pisgah Forest, NC Number of programs attended: 8
Date attended: 06/10/12 - 06/15/12
This program is extremely well organized and well run. The hikes are challenging, as advertized. Be advised that there is very little viewing on these hikes - they are through the woods on the AT.

The staff has their act together. On our trip, a woman fell and had to be taken off the trail and to the hospital. The guide and conference center staff coordinated to get her out quickly and for the rest of us to continue the hike.

The conference center is very quiet and pleasant. Food is plentiful and very good. The staff works very hard for everyone to have a rewarding experience. We liked that we were kept busy from early morning until about 9:00 PM daily. The excursion to hear the mountain music is wonderful.

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"After a long hot day on the trail" Uploaded By: Charles
"After a long hot day on the trail" Uploaded By: Charles

"We met many through hikers." Uploaded By: Charles

"Lambs Knoll (South Mountain, on left) far behind us" Uploaded By: Charles

"Rick Burkhart at Antietam Battlefield" Uploaded By: Charles

"Black Snake 2 of 6" Uploaded By: Charles

"Collage of AT signs at the Conservancy" Uploaded By: Esther

"Enjoying some time by the stream" Uploaded By: Esther

Uploaded By: Esther

"Most of the Gang from the May 26th trip" Uploaded By: Esther

"Lunch time" Uploaded By: Esther

"A challenging hill" Uploaded By: Mary Ann

"FL Group at Half Way Sign" Uploaded By: Sabina
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"Appalachian Trail Museum" Uploaded By: Ann
"hiking Near The Half-Way point" Uploaded By: Ann
"Antietam National Battlefield" Uploaded By: Ann

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
9 Field trips
9 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances


Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

Also on these dates ...

The date of the program you selected is currently full. However, you may be interested in these suggestions.
Day Hikes Along Southwest Virginia’s Appalachian TrailDate: May 4, 2014
Nature Hiking in the Southern Appalachian MountainsDate: May 25, 2014

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