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ERIC Number: EJ789198
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1053-8259
Why Individuals Hike the Appalachian Trail: A Qualitative Approach to Benefits
Goldenberg, Marni; Hill, Eddie; Freidt, Barbara
Journal of Experiential Education, v30 n3 p277-281 Spr 2008
The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a 2,175 mile-long National Scenic Trail extending from Maine to Georgia. Since its inception in the early 1920s, individuals, families, schools, and other organizations, just to name a few, have used the AT. Approximately 3 to 4 million visitors hike a portion of the AT each year (ATC, 2006). Throughout its 80-year history and millions of hikers, much of the empirical research on the AT has focused on place attachment (Kyle, Graefe, & Manning, 2004; Kyle, Graefe, Manning, & Bacon, 2003). While Nisbett and Hinton (2005) explored motivations for AT hikers with disabilities, only limited research could be found on understanding motives among other AT users. To better understand the AT hiker, the means-end theoretical framework was used. The process of means-end data collection is a qualitative approach termed laddering (Reynolds & Gutman, 1988). In this study, this questioning technique was completed through phone and face-to-face interviews that lasted approximately 10 minutes for each interviewee. This study supports hiking as an activity for a healthy lifestyle. Results of the study indicate that self-fulfillment, self-reliance, fun and enjoyment of life, and warm relationships are several of the emerging values, or underlying motives for hiking. These positive traits parallel much of the recreation benefits movement.
Association for Experiential Education. 3775 Iris Avenue Suite 4, Boulder, CO 80301. Tel: 866-522-8337; Fax: 303-440-9581; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A