The Thru-Hiker Experience

Youth Conservation Leadership Crew Thru Hiker Experience

The 2,180 mile long Appalachian National Scenic Trail is America’s iconic backpacking experience. Become a part of the team of the thousands of volunteers who help to maintain this amazing national treasure every year.

The Thru Hiker Experience will begin and end in the city of Manchester, NH.  You’ll swing by SCA’s Charlestown, NH office to pick up your group backpacking gear before you head up to Hanover, NH to hit the trail. From there, you’ll carry everything your group needs to survive and have fun on your back. You’ll strengthen your trail legs as you hike over Mount Cube and Smarts Mountain.  Then it’s up and over your first 4,000 footer, Mount Mooselauke, after your first resupply in Glencliff, NH. From there you’ll head down to Fraconia Notch State Park then up a slew of big peaks including Mount Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, and Zealand.

You’ll live the life of a NOBO (north bound) thru hiker as you help keep the trail in tiptop shape by clearing drains, cutting back vegetation, and completing other important conservation projects. But it’s not all work and no play- along the way, you’ll conquer 14 of the 48 4,000 foot high peaks and enjoy some of the East’s most pristine wilderness areas.

Start & End Location: Manchester, NH
Dates: July 14-August 3
Duration: 21 Days
Tuition: $2000 per student (Does not include travel to and from New Hampshire)

Financial aid is available for these positions. See the FAQ for more information

Thru Hiker Experience Overview

Certifications Received: 

  • Wilderness Medical Essentials Certificate
  • Leave No Trace Awareness Certification

Leadership Skills Training: 

  • Leader for the Day 
  • Trip & Route Planning
  • Personal Leadership Style
  • Conservation Work Skills
  • Peer Leadership
  • Tool Use and Safety
  • Career Exploration

Service Projects Accomplished: 

  • Maintaining or re-routing existing trails
  • New Trail Construction
  • Invasive Plant Removal

Environmental Education Received:

  • Environmental Justice Issues
  • Native plant identification
  • Wildlife ecology and wildlife management issues
  • Trail routing and trail maintenance issues
  • Map and Compass 

Recreational Activities: 

  • Climbing 14 of the 4,000 footer Mountains in NH
  • Backpacking
  • Swimming
  • Star Gazing
  • connecting with other Thru Hikers

A Day in the Life…

7am: Wake up, make breakfast and pack up camp at the Hexcuba Shelter.

8:30am: Stretch and hit the trail!  Clear the corridor of encroaching vegetation while hiking to the lunch break spot.

12 noon: Break for lunch, share a Nature Nugget with your crew before learning about taking care of blisters on the trail.

3pm: Arrive at Orr Hill Camp, set up camp, cool off in the swimming hole, and settle in for a lesson on Leave No Trace Principles.

4:30pm: Find your special spot for some Journal Time.

5:00pm: Start dinner, have a Group Meeting, and settle in for a few rounds of cards.

9:00pm: Hit the sack!  Get some much deserved rest so you can be ready for tomorrow’s adventures!


Learn more on how to apply.