Welcome to the KSVA (Keystone State Volkssport Association) special program “AT Thru PA”. This program challenges you to hike a significant portion of the Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania — or even all of it.
There are two levels to this challenge:
Complete at least 10 events/day hikes or 100 miles/161K on the AT to earn the special program patch. The patch is 3″ x 5″, embroidered, and in full color.
For those who want to challenge themselves to do the entire AT through PA, you can earn an additional patch that’s the official “AT through PA” patch.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
- To participate, you need to get the special program booklet. You can order it by using this order form. The special program booklet is $10 and that will include a) your booklet to track your progress, b) the patches you earn, and c) mailing your program booklet and patch to you. Note that if you live outside the USA, we may request the shipping costs for mailing your patch to you when you are done.
- This program is for AVA walkers (see the American Volkssport Association website). There is a sanctioned long-distance walking event that covers the entire AT through the state of Pennsylvania. You can sign up for that event here. You must register for that event via the Online Start Box. You can hike any part of the Appalachian Trail (within Pennsylvania), and any distance, under that YRE. Alternatively, if clubs have sanctioned other walks that hit the AT, they can count also. See our list of walks that qualify for this program (COMING SOON).
- For each day that you hike, and pay for AVA credit, you will fill out a page in your special program booklet.
- Once you have enough qualifying miles or walks, send the program booklet in to the address provided in the booklet to receive your patch.
Since the AT is a long-established national trail with many avialable guidebooks and maps on the market, we are not providing walk directions. Here are some resources we recommend.
“Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in the Mid-Atlantic States – Maryland Pennsylvania New Jersey New York” by Scherer and Hopey. This book breaks the AT down into reasonable length day hikes and provides directions to each start and end location. This is the book we used while setting up the program. This book recommends shuttle hiking (that is, hiking with one or more partners and parking a car at either end of the section to be hiked). However, you can also use the book to do out-and-back sections along the trail.
- The official AT Trail Store online is a great place to order books and maps and support the organization too. They have a map set that includes all of PA. It’s not necessary to have these to hike if you have a guidebook like the one above, but they’re interesting and probably a good safety bet to have them along.
The Appalachian Trail through Pennsylvania is often very rugged with lots of loose rocks, tree stumps, lots of elevation loss and gain, and other challenging hiking conditions. We recommend hiking boots, poles, and always hiking with a partner. Carry a cell phone, water, sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, a map or guidebook, and a snack or lunch. Be sure to check the weather forecast before setting out. The guidebook listed above gives average hiking times for each day hike, which are usually 4-7 hours in length, so be prepared.
FULL PROGRAM RULES
PROGRAM RULES [From the special program booklet]
1. You may hike any AVA walk that goes on the AT for any distance, or the AT extended long distance trail YRE. Click here for information on the AT extended distance YRE
2. For each day hike you complete, place the appropriate stamp for the Pennsylvania State Park or State Forest, National Park or AT Passport Program. You may also attach a postage stamp and have a local post office cancel it. If none of those are available, you may attach a receipt from a local business, attach a photo, or write in your thoughts on the hike. You can walk any distance on the hike but you must register and pay for IVV credit.
3. LEVEL 1: Complete at least 10 events/day hikes or 100 miles/161K on the AT to earn the special program patch
4. LEVEL 2: For those who want to challenge themselves to do the entire AT through PA, you can earn an additional patch that’s the official “AT through PA” patch.
5. When you have completed the level you want to complete, mail this booklet to: Jane Holmes, c/o Penn Dutch Pacers, ATTN: AT Program, 450 Pinkerton Rd, Mount Joy PA 17552. Your verified booklet, along with your patch(es) will be returned to you via mail.
6. Anyone may participate.
7. QUESTIONS: Contact Jane Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Expiration: This program runs at least from 2017-2020 but may be extended.
9. “Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in the Mid-Atlantic States” by Glenn Scherer is our recommended guide to day hikes on the AT.
SAMPLE PROGRAM BOOKLET PAGE
To order a special program booklet, click here.
QUESTIONS: Contact Jane Holmes at email@example.com.