Triple Crown of Hiking award faq

frequently asked questions

1. How many Triple Crowners are there?

As of the end of our 2019 application period, ALDHA-West has recognized a total of 440 Triple Crown Awards.

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

Complete all three trails in their entirety (Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and 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. ALDHA-West just asks that before you apply for your award that you either walked an alternate at the time or came back at a later date to complete a missed section, making your hike a continuous footpath.

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

We don’t. ALDHA-West uses the Honor System. We trust you to be truthful with us and yourself regarding your completion of the trails. 

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, 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 (Sorry, we just don't have the funds to provide them for free!).  We get a batch made once a year to keep the cost as low as possible.  Bonus, if you attend the Gathering and participate in the Triple Crown ceremony to receive your award in person, we will refund the cost of your plaque!  If you do not attend the Gathering, you will need to pay for the cost of the plaque and shipping costs. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. We need time to organize the TC class slideshow.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


ALDHA-West is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

© 2020 ALDHA-West. Created by Brandon Sodenkamp

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