AT Day 61 – Rattlesnakes on the Appalachian Trail


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15th June

24.4 miles

Bushcamp (1068.1) to Birch Run Shelter (1092.5)

Are there Rattlesnakes on the Appalachian Trail?

Yes, there are Rattlesnakes on the Appalachian Trail. Specially during the warm humid months of summer they become quite active. Appalachian Trail Rattlesnakes are not aggressive and they give a fair warning if you get too close.

It was mid afternoon. My belly was full from a detour off the Appalachian Trail to a restaurant for a burger, fries, Dr Pepper and Ice Cream. I’d just put my headphones in to listen to an audiobook. I heard a strange yet all too familiar sound that stopped me in my tracks. My ears picked up the rattlesnake before my eyes did. It was right in front of me on the middle of the trail. One more step and my hiking shoes would have landed on its head. Thank goodness I stopped the second I heard the rattle.

The rattlesnake wasn’t too concerned about me. It rattled a bit while I got my camera to take some photos and video. I removed it from the trail by a couple of well placed GoPro camera shots behind it.

I certainly didn’t want to hear about a hiker being bitten by a rattlesnake, specially if I could force it off the narrow trail. When the rattlesnake was safely off the Appalachian Trail I looked around to see another hiker approaching. He was scared of snakes and thankful it was not on the trail. He also mentioned that he’d never seen a rattlesnake before.

The trail was easy going today which gave me time to take a couple of hours in the middle of the day to take a rest and eat a large lunch at Timbers Restaurant on highway 30. There were about 8 other hikers eating inside when I arrived, I’d never seen any of them before so I joined them for a meal.

Apart from the rattlesnake on the Appalachian Trail the rest of the afternoon was easy hiking. Many hikers stopped at Caladonia State Park to use the swimming pool or buy food at the overpriced food stand. Most were jealous when I told them later of my large and cheap meal.

I stayed at Birch Run Shelter and within an hour of setting up my tent I’d finished dinner and was prepared for bed. I socialised with a couple of hikers I’d met a couple of times before my visit to Washington but it wasn’t long till I regretted my decision to stay in an organised shelter and campground. There were maybe 15 tents set up by 8pm including a noisy group that I’d been earlier warned about. Times like these I really appreciate my quiet bushcamps.

Flowers on the Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail Road Sign
Ice Cream
Appalachian Trail
Large Rattlesnake on the Appalachian Trail
Rattlesnakes on the Appalachian Trail are only common during the warm and humid months

Rattlesnake Video on Youtube

Check it out and subscribe. Then watch the episode below – Day 59 to 80

Next : Day 62 – Ice Cream Challange

All the best information on the Appalachian Trail:
Complete Guide to the Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail Gear List
Appalachian Trail Gear Review

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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4 thoughts on “AT Day 61 – Rattlesnakes on the Appalachian Trail”

  1. Funny how we wish for something, our wish is granted and then we regret it. I’m much like you. I spend plentiful time solo but crave companionship occasionally but can burnout quickly. I also much prefer wilderness camping. I’m noise sensitive even with ear plugs.

    That looks like a healthy rattler. My biggest concern was getting bit when I recently hiked Hell’s Canyon. It’s known for having a lot. Thankfully temps cooled and it was a bit overcast so they stayed mostly in their dens. I encountered one who was really pissed at me for being a little too close. It danced and rattled for a long time.

  2. Baby hang on to your rattle. That was a big old fellow, may have just eaten so he left you alone. We have rattle snakes here in Leona Valley. It seems we have to kill one every year that comes to close to the house or onto the back porch. The rattle is unique, once heard never forgotten. Take care where you lay your head……………


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