We did it! The Girl Scouts hiked the ENTIRE Appalachian Trail in “bits & pieces!”

by jenniferpfister on November 29, 2012

From Monday, March 12, 2012 (Girl Scouts 100th birthday) to Wednesday, October 31, 2012 (Juliette Gordon Low’s 152nd birthday) 8,207 Girl Scouts of all ages (from 5 to 95) picked a section of the Appalachian Trail to hike in honor of Girl Scouts of the USA’s 100th anniversary. A total of 639 troops/groups hit the trail and got outside to celebrate!

Our event’s Honorary Chair Mary “Mama Boots” Sands inspired this celebratory hike. As a Girl Scout Leader in Kentucky (Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana) she began hiking and backpacking the Appalachian Trail in the early 1970s. Over the course of nearly 20 years, accompanied by groups of Girl Scout girls and adults, she eventually hiked the entire 2000+ miles of the AT – in bits and pieces or section-hiking. She even wrote an adventure story about her hiking travels with her Girl Scouts over the years – Appalachian Trail in Bits and Pieces.

As the first Girl Scouts in 1912 hiked in the Georgia mountains, we again took to the mountains to hike as we have done over the past 100 years. For some it was their first time, for others it was their 10th time or more. Girl Scouts from 31 states & Girl Guides from 3 countries (Canada, France & Great Britain) hiked the Appalachian Trail in “bits and pieces” covering a total of 10,670 miles. The Appalachian Trail itself is only 2,180 miles long so Girl Scouts left their footprints and giggles on the trail again and again.

Shortest distance section hike: ¼ mile by Senior Troop 905, Albemarle County, VA
To include a wheelchair-abled troop member in the hike – four girls and two adults hiked the ¼ mile ADA accessible portion of the Bear Mountain Loop in Bear Mountain, New York!

Longest distance section hike: 500 miles by Joan Mayer, GS alum
“I started on March 12- March 17 and hiked from Compton Gap (mile marker 10.9 in Shenandoah National Park to the MD-West VA state line in Harpers Ferry.) I am a leader whose troop graduated from high school last year, and it is my goal to section hike about half the trail this hiking season to add to my ongoing section hike, which started several years ago in a GS training course! I am also a member of the ATC.”

Most Popular AT Sections Signed-Up to Hike

  • Bear Mountain (New York)
  • Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
  • Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee, North Carolina)
  • Harpers Ferry (West Virginia)
  • Susquehanna River area (Pennsylvania)
  • Mount Rogers (Virginia)
  • Springer Mountain (Georgia)
  • Stairway to Heaven (New Jersey)
  • Peter’s Mountain (Pennsylvania)
  • Pine Grove Furnace State Park (Pennsylvania)
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (New Jersey/Pennsylvania)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia)
  • McAfee’s Knob/Dragon’s Tooth region (Virginia)

The Great Girl Scout Hike has come to an end as an anniversary celebration yet it’s just the start of new beginnings

  • a yearly tradition for troop hiking
  • a new family endeavor
  • a goal to hike further
  • a progressive step towards backpacking on the trail
  • inspiration for trail-oriented service projects
  • a new love for hiking!

Special Thanks to…
Appalachian Trail Conservancy: Angie Sheldon, Laurie Potteiger, Laura Belleville
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference: Ron Rosen
All the AT Clubs!
All the Girl Scout Councils!
Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association
Appalachian Trail Museum
National Forest Service
Girl Scouts of the USA

Want to share your troop’s story?
Need tips on hiking with kids?
Want to do a story on The Great Girl Scout Hike?
Contact us: communications@gsvsc.org
540-777-5113 (Jennifer @ Girl Scouts of VA Skyline)