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5 Year Old Conquers Appalachian Trail

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Harvey Sutton, or “Little Man,” as he is known on the Appalachian Trail, won’t have long to bask in the glory of hiking its full length. After all, he starts kindergarten next week.

At 5 years old, Harvey is believed to be the youngest person to complete the trail, after tagging along with his parents over more than 2,100 miles in 209 days. Other youngsters have hiked the trail that starts at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and ends atop Mount Katahdin in Maine. Some babies have even been carried in backpacks by their determined parents. But Harvey sets the new record for the youngest person to actually walk the trail.

Harvey was 4 years old when he and his parents began their walk in January and he turned 5 before the family completed the journey last week in Maine. He's several months younger than “Buddy Backpacker,” a boy who held the record for youngest to complete the trail in 2013, Harvey’s parents say.

For Harvey's hike, his parents decided to take a “mini retirement” from their real estate jobs in Lynchburg, Virginia. They’d been hiking with Harvey since he was 2, so the Appalachian Trail made sense to them, reports MSN.

It was mostly smooth sailing after a snowstorm in the Smoky Mountains forced them to backtrack more than 30 miles (48km) to safety, but the family became accustomed to sleeping in a tent, waking at 5:30 a.m. and hiking all day.

The parents said the biggest challenge was keeping their son’s imagination engaged. Harvey made plans to build homes, construct space ships and host a lava party in discussions over miles and hours of hiking.

Now it's off to kindergarten for Little Man and back to work for his parents.



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