Famed hiker to tackle three-month Mountains-to-Sea trek


Jennifer Pharr Davis, world renowned adventurer, announced today that on Aug. 15 she will begin a three-month, 1,175-mile hike of North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST).

Pharr Davis will start from atop Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains. After traversing 36 more counties she will finish in November at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head, atop the highest sand dune in the Eastern United States.

A resident of Asheville, Pharr Davis, 34, said she was undertaking the journey to “encourage a love of the outdoors and help people experience this amazing trail that’s right outside our back doors.”

The hike will be a family affair. Pharr Davis’ husband Brew will handle logistics. On occasion, he will join her on the trail along with their four-year-old daughter Charley and 10-month old Gus. Pharr Davis just published a book “Families on Foot.”

National Geographic named Pharr Davis Adventurer of the Year in 2012. She has hiked more than 13,000 miles on six continents. In 2011 she completed the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail in 46 days, 11 hours and 26 minutes. At the time it was the fastest completion by any man or woman. She is a board member for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

On the MST she will be moving at a slower pace stopping to meet with local trail enthusiasts and a variety of organizations to share her trail adventures and advocacy.

She is founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking in Asheville.

“We are excited to have Jennifer and her family hike the MST during our 40th anniversary year,” said Kate Dixon, executive director of Friends of the MST. “Their passion for trails and North Carolina is an inspiration.”

MST in a Day

On Sept. 9 Pharr Davis will be part of MST in a Day when hundreds of hikers will collaborate to complete the trail in 24 hours. People interested in signing up to hike a leg of the trail should go to MSTinaDay.org. The event will commemorate the 40th anniversary of a speech that launched the MST. In 1977 Howard Lee, then NC Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, told a National Trails Symposium in Waynesville that “North Carolina should create a trail from the mountains to the coast and through communities as well as natural areas.”

The nationally unique trail is now a linear state park running through 37 counties. Each year tens of thousands of people use stretches of the trail for day hikes or overnight excursions. More than 70 have completed the entire route.

Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is a non-profit organization which works to build, protect and promote the MST. Almost 700 miles of the MST have been completed with the rest being linked by back roads. For additional information about Pharr Davis’ hike, visit JPDhikestheMST.org.

Will begin hike on Aug. 15

Jennifer Hikes the MST

How can the public follow Jen’s MST Hike?

Visit JPDhikestheMST.org to follow her blog, social media posts and learn about upcoming events.

Can the public meet Jen on her journey?

Four family friendly events will give you a chance to meet Jen. The price of admission will be a donation to support the MST. Each starts at 6 p.m., and registration can be reached through JPDHikestheMST.org.

Aug. 29 — Asheville, Highland Brewing Company, presented by Mast General Store.

Sept. 21 — Winston-Salem, SECCA, presented by Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Oct. 10 — Raleigh, Museum of Natural Science presented, by REI.

Oct. 26 — Wilmington, Brooklyn Arts Center, presented by Duke Energy.

For more information, you can also visit MSTinaDay.org


On Sept. 9, 2017 hundreds of hikers from across the state will collaborate to hike and paddle the entire 1,175 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in one day. The event is part of the 40th anniversary commemoration of a speech by Howard Lee, then-secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, which was the catalyst for creation of the trail.

How can the public participate?

Sign up now at MSTinaDay.org to complete a leg of the trail on Sept. 9. Most legs are three to five miles. No cost to participate, but a donation to the Friends of the MST will go toward materials to help build and maintain the trail.