Semester-A-Trail

Earn college credit while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

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Make Your Education an Adventure of a Lifetime

The Semester-A-Trail Program is a unique opportunity for students who seek a learning experience that goes well beyond the classroom. Students in the program earn college credit while attempting a long-section hike of the Appalachian Trail. The experience offers students a synthesis of academic learning and outdoor adventure in an intensive, goal-oriented journey, immersing students in real-world competencies and challenges that build skills that last a lifetime.

How are full-time college students able to hike the Appalachian Trail? 

Semester-A-Trail students are still enrolled in a full course load during their semester in the program. How is this possible? Students arrive at E&H at the beginning of the spring semester in January as any typical student would, but their semester is far from typical. For seven weeks, students focus on academic coursework and intensive preparation and training for their long distance hike.

Hikers do not carry textbooks or write papers while on trail. The courses are conducted in a manner that allows the student to effectively complete coursework but also enjoy the very special experience the trail affords. Some classes are condensed, and those are finished by the time students begin their journey. The project-based classes begin while students are on campus and are completed post-hike.

The early spring is a great time to start a thru-hike, so when March 1st arrives, Center for hikers are transported to Springer Mountain, Georgia for the start of their journey. Everyday circumstances on trail provide opportunities for problem solving, budget management, self efficacy and reliance, and old- fashioned hard work. 

Get to know our previous hikers:

Semester-A-Trail Alumni

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Read the FAQs

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If you are interested in applying to participate in the Emory & Henry Semester-A-Trail Program, please complete the application linked below after reviewing the program FAQs above.

Apply for Semester-A-Trail

“The Semester-A-Trail provides an excellent opportunity for meshing academic learning with a big experiential journey, a very physical journey that connects learning and growth to life.”  — Jim Harrison.

Beyond Academics, What’s Included?

  • Students in the Semester-A-Trail Program complete first-aid training.
  • Students engage in structured, intensive preparation for life on the trail.
  • A complete hiking kit is provided that includes top-of-the-line long-distance backpacking gear and footwear.
  • An on-trail hiking budget is provided.
  • Program staff provide on-trail support for hikers.
  • While on campus, students enjoy the College’s outdoor program facilities and activities.

Dual-Enrollment

A student may transfer in from any college just for the Semester-A-Trail Program.  This option allows students to retain their enrollment privileges at their current academic institution while enjoying the benefits of being an E&H student.

Upon completion of the Semester-A-Trail, dual-enrollment students return to their institution of origin with the college credits earned during the Semester-A-Trail as quality transferable credits and newfound skills!