TAPS Appalachian Trail Backpacking Expedition

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Asheville and Hot Springs, North Carolina
Entry Form Open from March 4, 2020 to March 14, 2020

All adult survivors 18 and older are invited to join TAPS on a Backpacking Expedition along a section of the scenic Appalachian Trail as we find new purpose, connection, and remember what it feels like to live with determination.

Men Hiking



TAPS Expeditions are outdoor skills-based events that require dedication, preparation and a real sense of adventure. With our fellow survivors, the journey will take us through the serene pine forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll take advantage of the scenic views that give these mountains their name as we rise with the early morning, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and soak in the sounds of a forest coming to life in spring.

Leading up to the expedition, we'll gain familiarity with each other through virtual team meetings to discuss preparation, gear lists, and more. Our team will be a source of encouragement as we prepare for this adventure and an ongoing support network long after the expedition is complete.

While each expedition is unique and rewarding, they can also be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Expeditions offer an opportunity for exploration and creating valuable experiences in the outdoors. We hope you’ll apply to join us after you’ve taken some time to consider your current physical and emotional strength and resilience.




There will be team meetings via conference call or video chat that are mandatory for participants. You may access our Facebook group (TAPS Expeditions) to ask questions and learn from the experience of those who participated in previous trips as well as share stories and photos.


This backpacking adventure will begin and end in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. The first day will include a gear check, a drive to the trail heads near Hot Springs, North Carolina, and the first leg to our first camp site. Over the next three days, we’ll explore the wonderful flora and fauna to be found on this section of the Appalachian Trail. As a team, we’ll also learn or refresh valuable backwoods camping and backpacking skills. We’ll work together to reach our pick-up point following our final breakfast and breaking camp, renewed by a few days of wilderness and fellowship.

A packing list of all required gear and clothing will be provided. Our guide partners also offer great rental options for any key items or gear that you may not have. If you’ve ever been interested in this healthy and rejuvenating activity (…a cherished hobby for many) and have wanted to try out that new piece of gear or have been looking to refresh your skills, this is the perfect trip for you!

*This schedule is tentative and may change or adjust for a number of reasons, including weather and participant skill level.


We fully expect your team members to become your family and an ongoing support network long after the TAPS Expedition is complete. You'll be provided with a directory following the expedition to keep in touch with each other.



This expedition requires no backpacking experience but does necessitate that you be physically fit and healthy. This physically demanding expedition will include backpacking from 3-8 miles per day. Even if you don't have backpacking experience, if this adventure excites you then we encourage you to submit an entry form by March 14, 2020.

The TAPS Expeditions team will make sure you are prepared and well informed of the nature of this trip.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest you engage in a regular exercise regimen leading up to the trip. Prior to the trip, we'll have a conference call and/or an online video meeting to go over training regimens, gear lists and more.



Thanks to the generosity of our donors, sponsors, and partnership with the National Park Trust, TAPS will cover the rest of the trip costs, with the exception of your transportation to and from Asheville, North Carolina, your first and final night's lodging expenses and desired meals.



You will need to cover the cost of your transportation to and from Asheville, North Carolina. Plan to arrive the day before, on April 24; we will be available to recommend lodging options that fit within your budget. TAPS will cover the costs for all subsequent lodging and meals from Saturday, April 25 through lunch Tuesday, April 28.



Entry forms will be open from March 4 to March 14, 2020 (look for the blue button at the top of this page at that time). Entry forms will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so you can expect a call within two weeks of submitting your entry from. If more entry forms are received than we have slots available, we will do a random selection from qualified entries.

If you have any questions, please email expeditions@taps.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).

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