Hiker Trail Names

Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail

Long-distance hikers usually have trail names. No one knows how this started, but thru-hikers, those who aim to hike an entire trail in one go, always go by a trail name. On the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) I met Kiwi, Pac-man, Grizzly, Spiderman, Yoyo, etc. My trail name was/is Hamlet (some of my ancestors are from Scandinavia, and my wife says I think too much).

Thru-hikers are friendly and helpful, but they make up a culture of anonymity. In six months of thru-hiking the A.T., I met and hiked with hundreds of people and never knew their real names. Even today, twelve years later, I only recall them by their trail names. In this picture, that’s me, Hamlet, on the right, Songbird is in the middle, and her husband, Deja vu, is on the left.

Until next time, Happy Trails!

10 thoughts on “Hiker Trail Names

  1. Hi Ray,

    This is super. What a fabulous idea! Who knows? Perhaps inspirational. I do a lot of walking. Maybe it’s time for a hike. (or two)

    See you later!



  2. Hey Hamlet…Good luck with the blog. Did you ever get that book published? I’m still thinking of more long hikes at some point. Last couple of years it’s been long bike rides. 4300 miles, San Diego to Rochester via Baton Rouge (Adventure Cycling Southern Tier/Underground Railroad route) with my wife and then 1900 miles, Seattle to San Diego (Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route – mostly) with a friend. B-Roc, AT03


  3. Hi Ray,
    I remember when you were an avid runner, and now it looks like hiking is your passion. I have been running for many years and now you have peeked my interest in hiking. I love a great adventure. Thanks for sharing! Best Wishes… Stan Cohee


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