Hiker Hunger: Appalachian Trail Edition

One of the greatest joys a hiker can experience after a day of exploring is a quality meal from a trail town restaurant. We wanted to highlight some of the best hiker friendly restaurants along The Appalachian Trail. Here’s a list of some of our favorite spots starting from the trailhead in Georgia’s Amicalola Falls State Park to Baxter State Park in Maine.

Maple Restaurant - Amicolola State Park, GA


Breakfast at Maple Restaurant

Photo Credit- @n2_zwild

If you’ve seen the film ‘A Walk in the Woods’, you might recognize the breathtaking views of the Georgia wilderness from the dining room of Maple Restaurant, located inside Amicolola Falls Lodge. They offer a traditional American and southern classic style buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is delicious and the setting is unforgettable. 

River’s End Restaurant - Bryson City, NC


Burger from River's End Restaurant

Photo Credit- @xoxobreathe 

Resting along the banks of the Nantahala River in the NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center), River’s End Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a burger and a beer during your AT thru-hike. While their burgers and sherpa rice stand out as the most popular menu options, they also serve traditional breakfast like their savory sausage and egg biscuit or loaded fontana hashbrowns. Eat on the outside patio and take in the magnificent riverside view. 

Spring Creek Tavern - Hot Springs, NC


Ladies Grubbin Down at Spring Creek Tavern

Photo Credit- @satchel_kachel

Located in a 100-year building in the heart of Hot Springs, Spring Creek Tavern is a small, cozy tavern serving over 50 craft beers. Stop in for their world famous hand rolled cheese sticks, one of their many burgers, or brick-oven pizza, and stay for the friendly atmosphere. They may be known as a hangout for motorcyclists, but have become a must stop for hikers and river rafters as well.

Smoky Mountain Diner - Hot Springs, NC


Biscuits from Smoky Mountain Diner

Photo Credit- @ellabredthauer


For a quaint family atmosphere accompanied by southern-style cuisine, be sure to check out Smoky Mountain Diner for breakfast, lunch, or early dinner. They’re open 365 days a year, so as long as you’re there before 3pm, you and your trail mates can indulge in their large portions and daily specials. If you happen to be passing through on a Saturday, be sure to try their famous cinnamon rolls.


Damascus Diner - Damascus, VA


Breakfast from Damascus Diner

Photo Credit- @amandadettloff

Located inside the famous Dragonfly Inn from the tv show, ‘Gilmore Girls’, Damascus Diner is recognized for being especially friendly and accommodating to AT hikers. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner at very reasonable prices and are known for their meatloaf and hamburger steak. If you’re passing through Damascus and it’s not Wednesday (they’re closed), stop in for a bite to eat. 


The Rabbit Hole - Harpers Ferry, WV


Fellas Grubbin Down at The Rabbit Hole

Photo Credit- @brucemckim

The Rabbit Hole is only a little over a year old, but is already making itself known as the best spot for thru-hikers to get a bite to eat in Harpers Ferry. You’ll want to try their famous crab cake sandwich and sit on the deck overlooking the old train station and the Shenandoah river. They also have plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.


Doyle Hotel - Duncannon, PA


Known as “hiker trash paradise”, the historic Doyle Hotel has been around since 1770. They offer incredibly inexpensive rooms for travelers to crash in, which many thru-hikers take advantage of. The owners, Pat & Vickey Kelly, are probably the most talked about aspect of the historic restaurant and hotel. They’re known for their hospitality and also cooking and serving the food themselves. Stop by and swap adventure stories over a bowl of their famous chilli.


Worthy Kitchen - Woodstock, VT


Chikwich from Worthy Kichen

Photo Credit- @chefvaughnmetcalf

Worthy Kitchen is a farm-to-table brew pub offering 18 craft beers on tap, mostly from Vermont. They offer daily comfort food specials, or you can try one of their staple dishes: The Chikwich - buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, or house mac n cheese made with local plymouth cheddar. This spot has become very popular over the years, so be prepared for a packed house.


Ramunto’s Brick Oven & Brew - Hanover, NH


Offering 7 local craft beers on tap, Ramunto’s might be the best spot along the AT for a cold beer and a slice of New York style pie. The best part? The first slice is FREE for all thru-hikers, you just have to mention the deal to your server. This is a great stop for hungry hikers trying to save some money along the trail.


River Driver’s Restaurant & Pub - Millinocket, ME


Located just outside the south entrance of Baxter State Park, in the NEOC (New England Outdoor Center), River Driver’s sits on Lake Katahdin. Enjoy upscale comfort fare in a relaxed setting with a beautiful view of Mt. Katahdin. Their most popular dishes include blackened haddock tacos and vegetarian lasagna. Whether you’re headed SOBO or NOBO on the AT, make this the first or last stop of your adventure.


There are plenty of other quality restaurants along the Appalachian trail, but hopefully we helped you get a pretty good idea of some of the best and most popular spots. Be sure to add these restaurants to your plan before you go on your next AT adventure. Happy hiking!


Zpacks Corey

About the Author
Corey Gruber oversees Social Media at Zpacks and helps monitor trends within the industry.