You Could Get Paid to Hike the Appalachian Trail and Drink Beer Next Year

Virginia-based Devils Backbone Brewing Company is launching a contest to find a “Chief Hiking Officer.” The winner will get $20,000 to spend a few months hiking the famous route, which passes through 14 states, next spring.

You Could Get Paid to Hike the Appalachian Trail and Drink Beer Next Year

Win a chance to hike the Appalachian Trail for a beer company.

Courtesy of Devils Backbone Brewing Company

At a time when a global pandemic has us all questioning what our outdoor adventures are going to look like this summer, a Virginia-based brewing company’s new contest is a breath of fresh air. Devils Backbone Brewing Company is launching a competition on June 1 that will award one lucky winner $20,000 to drink beer and hike the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the trail’s end on Mount Katahdian in Maine next spring.

Is there a catch? Well, it’s only open to residents of certain states, specifically Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, plus Washington, D.C.

And you really have to love hiking, camping, and beer. Serving as the brewery’s “Chief Hiking Officer,” the winner will hike the 2,200-mile trail, which passes through 14 states. The backpacking journey usually takes around four to five months to complete, and hikers both camp and spend nights in hostels along the way. It’s no walk in the park, but for many it is a dream trek. The CHO will also assist with product research (aka “drinking Devils Backbone beer”) and document the journey for social media. The CHO will also receive round-trip airfare from their location to the trail, all necessary backpacking gear, and plenty of Devils Backbone swag.


Beer and the great outdoors is a pretty great combination.

Courtesy of Devils Backbone Brewing Company

It will be a particularly interesting time to take such a journey. The famous route is no stranger to environmental disputes and has of late been at the center of controversy about thru-hiking during a pandemic. Thousands abandoned their trekking plans this year because of COVID-19 concerns, and whether or not they reschedule for 12 months from now, the trail and the trip are certain to look different next year than they ever have in the past.

The competition is a natural choice for Devils Backbone. The brewing company is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains just a few miles from the Appalachian Trail. And there’s nothing like a frosty one after working up a sweat in the great outdoors.

The nationwide search kicks off June 1 and ends on July 31, 2020. Hopefuls from the qualifying areas must be over 21 years of age. They can apply via the Devils Backbone Brewing Company website and can plead their case by including a one-minute video of why they’re perfect for the position. The winner will be announced at the end of September.

Now all we need is a West Coast brewery to do something similar along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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