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Hike the Appalachian Trail for College Credit

Emory & Henry College is bringing back their Semester-A-Trail program that offers college credit to hike the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). The program is returning this fall after school officials paused it to re-evaluate preparation for students.

With the college campus just 15 miles from the A.T., the program is designed to teach students problem solving, nature writing, and Appalachian history and culture through making their own meals and preparing for the physical and mental challenges that come with exploring the backcountry. 

“You’re watching sunsets and sunrises in the Blue Ridge and you realize, ‘Wow, I understand why there’s such a profound draw to be in this place,’” Jim Harrison, director of outdoor programs at Emory & Henry College, told WVTF. “You’re walking through the fields, you’re seeing the farms, you’re exploring the forests. It’s a very special opportunity to experience every aspect of Appalachia, not just what’s going on at town but what’s on the mountain tops.”

In lieu of recent updates to the program, the school hired a new professor to see the new changes through. Students have the option to do a 470-mile section of the A.T. from Georgia to Damascus, Va, or go for the entire 2,190 plus miles of the trail by continuing their journey northward through the summer. 

Ten spots are available for students, including some who may apply from other schools. Emory & Henry College will be accepting applications until August 1

Cover photo: Silhouette of a man standing on McAfee Knob ledge at sunrise on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Mountains in the background. Courtesy of Getty Images.

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