Earl Victor Shaffer




The story of how one man's quest to find peace in the mountains led to a lifetime of adventure for himself and others

About The Earl Shaffer Foundation


The non-profit Earl Shaffer Foundation celebrates the life, times, and creative works of Earl V. Shaffer of Pennsylvania (1918 – 2002)...writer, poet, naturalist, photographer, and dedicated environmentalist.


Earl was the first person, in 1948, to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end in one continuous journey, starting from Mount Oglethorpe, Georgia and ending at Mount Katahdin in Maine—a distance of more than 2,000 miles.

Following years of volunteer efforts with Appalachian Trail organizations, Earl completed a second thru-hike in 1965, trekking north to south, becoming the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in both directions.

In 1998, toward the close of his life, Earl completed a “Fiftieth Anniversary” thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. At the age of 79, he became the oldest person to thru-hike the entire trail—a record that stood until 2004.

Our Mission


Established in 2002, The Earl Shaffer Foundation was formed to preserve, protect and share Earl’s creative legacy and wilderness values for future generations.


The Foundation promotes the many benefits of wilderness hiking and wilderness preservation. It does this by publishing Earl’s literary works, by teaming up with other organizations to preserve the Appalachian Trail and its history, and by encouraging others to follow in Earl’s footsteps as hikers, environmentalists, poets, writers, and artists.

Learn more about the Earl Shaffer Foundation by reading our newsletter, following our Facebook page, and joining our annual or lifetime membership today!

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