Triple Crown of Hiking award faq
frequently asked questions
1. How many Triple Crowners are there?
As of the end of our 2020 application period, ALDHA-West has recognized a total of 482 Triple Crown 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, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. “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
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, 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 and include your 4 required pictures. Pictures are used for the slide show at the Triple Crown ceremony.
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. If you can’t attend the Gathering, we will mail your plaque to you.
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 get a batch made once a year to keep the cost as low as possible. Total cost is approximately $55 for domestic and $65 for international.
8. Is there a deadline to submit my Triple Crown application?
All TC applications should be completed and sent by August 31 (including photographs). 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.
9. Why can’t I submit my application after September 1st?
We get this question a lot. Here is why:
All the plaques need to be ordered on this date to ensure they are completed in time with the correct spelling of names, trail names, etc.
We need time to organize the TC class slideshow.
We need this time to ensure we have shipping addresses correct and can plan for the ceremony and make sure the length of time is manageable at the Gathering.
We are all volunteers and we ask that you provide us enough time to complete these jobs in a timely manner and still provide us with time for our families and friends. A lot of work goes into the gathering and the TC Award is one of the pieces to make a great weekend.
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 in 2020 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 the 2020 COVID-19 trail regulations.
We'd all hoped the coronavirus would be under control by now. Unfortunately, we're in the middle of another wave here in the US - and though vaccinations have begun, it'll be a while yet until they are available to everyone. We recognize the situation is always evolving, and that various areas and organizations may make different determinations. Due to the number of unknowns, our guidance for individuals at this juncture is the following:
When possible, hike local and hike self-sustained or supported by a fellow pod member
Follow all laws and local guidelines (check with trail organizations and local land management agencies)
Have plans that include alternates in case areas are closed or too crowded
Be prepared for facilities to be closed, and respect those closures
Carry a mask, hand sanitizer, and soap
Maintain social distancing and wear your mask around others
Be prepared to self-quarantine for two weeks, should you start showing symptoms
Hikes completed to receive ALDHA - West's Triple Crown of Hiking award will continue to be recognized on the honor system. We ask that all applicants who have hiked in 2020 or 2021 submit their applications in good faith and only if their hikes were completed while permitted by the corresponding trail organizations and while it was legally permissible to do so. Hikes that receive news or social media coverage where a hiker is in clear violation of the law will be subject to additional scrutiny and may be ineligible to receive recognition through ALDHA-West.
As things change approaching this hiking season, we will do our best to keep links on the ALDHA-West Homepage to the Triple Crown trail associations' recommendations, so that you'll have all that information in one place. Thank you for doing your part to bring the pandemic to an end!