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Triple Crown of Hiking award faq

frequently asked questions

1. How many Triple Crowners are there?

As of the end of our 2023 application period, ALDHA-West has recognized a total of 665 Triple Crown (TC) of Hiking Award recipients.

2. What are the requirements for the Triple Crown award?

Complete all three "Triple Crown" trails in their entirety - the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). “Entirety” includes walking from terminus to terminus with complete footsteps. We understand that detours happen when trails experience things such as wildfires, washouts, and other situations and that hikers often return at a later date to complete a missed section.

3. How does ALDHA-West know that I completed all three trails?

ALDHA-West uses the Honor System. We trust you to be truthful with us and yourself regarding your completion of the trails. It is our hope that your application is submitted in good faith and with understanding of Leave No Trace principles and ALDHA-West's Value Statement, including not hiking "illegal" miles and being in good standing with the hiking community.

4. Does it matter how I hiked the trail? Section hikes over multiple years, thru-hike, etc.?

Nope. As long as you have hiked each trail in its entirety, section, thru, or flip-flop doesn’t matter.

5. I’ve hiked all three trails. How do I receive my Triple Crown award?

Please fill out our online application (opens in June) with some basic information and include your 4 required pictures. We ask for one picture of you from each trail and, if available, a picture of you as a kid. Pictures are used for the slide show at the Triple Crown ceremony. That's it. There are no other requirements or documentation needed to receive a Triple Crown Award from ALDHA-West. Period.

6. Where do I receive my Triple Crown award?

Triple Crown awards are presented once a year at ALDHA-West’s Gathering. The Gathering is usually in late September. The location varies each year, rotating between Washington, Oregon, Colorado and California.

7. Is there a fee for the Triple Crown award?

There is no fee to be recognized by ALDHA-West as a Triple Crowner.  However, if you'd like to receive an awesome customized plaque honoring your achievement, you must pay for that. We currently offer plaques at-cost to those who would like them.

8. Is there a deadline to submit my Triple Crown application?

All TC applications should be completed and sent by the due date each year. The application usually opens in June and the due date is usually in August. Hikes should be completed before you apply for the award, so if you are still on trail we ask that you wait until you complete your hike before applying for the award. Join our mailing list or follow us on social media to be informed of when the application opens each year. If you miss the application window, you can apply the following year. 

9. Why can’t I submit my application whenever I want?

We are a volunteer organization who does an annual push to prepare the Triple Crown Award and Ceremony once per year at The Gathering. We do not have the bandwidth to provide bespoke services.

10. I’m attending The Gathering but I missed the deadline for this year’s TC Award. Can I still be a part of the TC ceremony?

If you are a current-year hiker and you completed the TC but missed the deadline, have no fear.  We want to celebrate your achievement with you! So if you finish up your TC this year and come to The Gathering, we will make sure to recognize you during the ceremony.  However, due to time constraints, we won't be able to have a plaque ready for you or include you in the slideshow.  We hope you'll apply the following year to officially receive your award.

11. What happens at the TC ceremony? 

The ceremony usually starts with a slide show featuring photographs of the hikers receiving the TC award. Then, each hiker is awarded his/her plaque individually and can make a brief speech. However, speeches are not required. The ceremony finishes up with a few group photos for our newsletter.

12. I’ve just completed my second Triple Crown (or third…). Can I receive another TC award?

We know of a few repeat offenders out there, and frankly, we are jealous.  If you are applying for a second, third, or fourth Triple Crown, please note that on the application so that we make sure your award is special and distinguishes your remarkable achievement.

13. I hiked during COVID-19. What should I know?

ALDHA-West recognizes all trail miles that were completed in accordance with state, local and community guidelines and laws. It is our hope that your application is submitted in good faith with full understanding of COVID-19 trail regulations, particularly in 2020. 

14. When can I apply for my Triple Crown Award?

We usually open the application window in June and leave it open until late August. Check back in July to be guaranteed the option to apply. And follow us on social media or join our mailing list to get reminders!

15. Can I buy a Triple Crown hat or plaque for myself?

No. The hat and plaque are exclusive to Triple Crown awardees.

16. Is an active membership required to receive the TC award?

No. But your membership helps fund events and activities and remember we are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization so your membership fees are tax deductable.

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