Liz 'Snorkel' Thomas

Hiker | Author | Editor | Speaker | Coach

Liz Thomas is a professional hiker, adventure conservationist, and outdoor writer who broke the women’s self-supported speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail. Considered among the most experienced hikers in the US, she’s  known for backpacking light, fast, and solo. Liz has hiked more than 20,000 miles on 20+ long trails including completing the Triple Crown of Hiking (the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails) and first-known traverses of the Chinook Trail in the Columbia River Gorge and Wasatch Range in Utah.

Called “a living legend” and “the Queen of Urban Hiking” by Outside Magazine, Thomas is also known as an urban hiker for developing and hiking 100+ mile routes in 13 U.S. cities from Los Angeles to New York, including a 100-mile hike to all the breweries in Denver and a 225 mile hike to all the new playgrounds in New York City. She’s used her platform for advocacy surrounding staying active where you are and building safe streets and smarter cities.

Liz is the author of Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike, which received the National Outdoor Book Award for Best Instructional book with judges calling it “destined to become the bible of the sport.” She recently published her second guidebook, Hiking Waterfalls in Southern California with Falcon Guides.

Liz has been seen on Good Morning America and in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times, Men’s Journal, Women’s Health, Gizmodo, and Yahoo!News. She was guest editor and is a regular contributor to the magazine Backpacker and instructs their online class, “Thru-hiking 101.”

Liz served as the Vice President of the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West from 2013-2017 and is currently an ambassador for theAmerican Hiking Society (2010- present). A former outdoor staff writer at Wirecutter/New York Times, Liz is editor in chief at Treeline Review, an outdoor gear magazine. 


“Long distance hiking will end up giving back more than you put into it. It will change you. You don’t have to walk all the way from Mexico to Canada to get something huge out of it and to have it change your life.”

In her time not on trail, Liz attained a Masters in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the prestigious Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship for her research on long distance hiking trails, conservation, and trail town communities—a project she applied to her work with the trail non-profit Continental Divide Trail Coalition and New England National Scenic Trail/Connecticut Forests & Parks Association. 

Liz Thomas gives presentations about long distance hiking around the country, especially to college outdoor clubs like the one where she first learned how to backpack. Highlights from her presentations include:

The 50th Anniversary of the National Scenic Trail System Forum, Senate Russell Building, Washington D.C.

Trust for Public Land National Leadership Conference, Atlanta, GA

Sierra Club Los Angeles City Hike

Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference, Austin, TX

The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA

New York Municipal Art Society, NYC.

Colleges and Universities: Yale, MIT, Brown, Swarthmore, Hamilton College, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Ursinus College.

Find her at Facebook or Instagram @lizthomashiking.

When not hiking, Liz splits her time between Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA.

Work With Liz
I am available for writing, editing, speaking, and coaching sessions. Have other ideas about how we might work together? Let’s talk!

I love answering questions about hiking. Feel free to contact me anytime!

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