Flip Flop Question



I am planning to do a flip flop thru hike of the AT starting on March 11th. My plan is to go SoBo from Harpers Ferry to Springer, get a ride back to Harpers Ferry and then go NoBo to Katahdin. My question is does anyone know why this kind of flip flop is not commonly done?

My reasoning is that I would prefer to miss the bubble of hikers starting on Springer in March. I’ll pass them eventually as I make my way south to Springer but the number of hikers should be less as some decide to leave the trail during those first couple of months. And secondly, I want to finish on Katahdin.

Thank you,



There may be a few that have left the trail for various reasons, but once you go back to Harpers Ferry you’re still going to be in with the “bubbles” that started in Georgia. You’re also find crowded conditions as you meet the NOBO hikers.
I may be wrong with this assumption.


Good points. Thank you for responding to my question!! I’ve heard that 50% of the NoBo’s coming from Springer usually quit before they finish the Smokies. If that’s true then the bubble will be smaller by the time I meet up with it. At least that’s my hope. Also, I’m finding that several of the waysides in SNP will be closed when I pass through in March. So, that is reducing my resupply options and making for a heavier pack weight.

Thanks again!


Heading south in March you’ll run into, and compete for campsites with, the oncoming Nobos. Then, you’ll likely be back in the bubble as you head north. It’s likely to be a lot colder starting in Harpers on Mar 11, and you’ll need to be prepared for that. So your pack weight will be heavier at the outset than other options. Depending on your pace, you still will face the deadline of Katahdin closing. Doable, but you’ll have to keep yer eye on the prize.

L Dog


The SNP waysides have minimal resupplies. They tend to be ok to catch a meal at, (if a bit over-rated and over-priced), but many are so far off the trail, I found myself hiking past them.

L Dog


Thank you LDog! Much appreciated.:grinning:


Since you’re wanting to Flip-Flop, and avoid the “Bubble”, and finish on Katahdin, here’s an option if you have the funds to fulfill it, I’ve thought about doing it myself, but I’ve been on Katahdin twice, so it’s not a big deal for me to “finish” there.
You could start mid trail (Harpers Ferry, Rockfish Gap, etc., etc.). Hike North (avoiding the Bubble) mid to late April (reducing your chance of cold weather), stop on ME. 15, get a ride into Monson, ME, and shuttle to Bangor (for a bus or plane ride to your starting location), hike South to Springer, shuttle with Ron Brown into Atlanta, fly or bus back to Bangor, shuttle to Monson, “Poet” or “Hippie Chick” will take you back out to ME. 15. From there it’s 100 miles to the Abol Bridge, the rest is common knowledge.
Hope this helps!


Oh! “Poet” and “Hippie Chick” run SHAW"S BOARDING HOUSE in Monson, ME.