Franklin, North Carolina, sits 110 miles from Springer Mountain, the starting point for most Appalachian Trail hikers.
Over the years, Franklin has seen an increase in thru hikers and has welcomed them with open arms. In 2010, Franklin became the very first Appalachian Trail Community.
“Every year we see a ten percent increase in through hiker traffic… Roughly last year we saw, just in our shop, close to 2,000 hikers that came through,” commented Outdoor 76 Co-Owner Cory McCall. “This past week we’ve easily seen probably upwards of 400 to 500 hikers.”
The town of Franklin has come together to live up to the name of being an Appalachian Trail Community as the chamber of commerce and other organizations do all they can to make sure the hikers feel taken care of and welcomed.
Macon County transit operates periodically during the spring season sending transportation to
the trail-head and back to downtown Franklin. This makes getting around easier for the tired travelers. In addition to the need to get around, the need for food is met by the people of Franklin’s Baptist Church as they feed hikers from the beginning to the end of March.
“It makes it convenient for the hikers to stop if something happens or they need to restock,” said Linda Harbuck of Franklin’s Chamber of Commerce.
The amenities that the town of Franklin offers to these hikers, and its convenient location, makes it the perfect place to take a break, refuel and replenish any supplies or gear they may need for their journey.
The video below shows first-hand accounts of Franklin business owners, managers and hikers on their way through town as they hike the Appalachian Trail. For a better look at the culture of hikers and why they use trail names, check out the story, “Culture of being an Appalachian Trail hiker.”
Video produced by Kayla Minion.