L iz Thomas is among the most experienced female hikers in the US and is known for backpacking light, fast, and solo. In 2011, she broke the women’s unsupported speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail, besting the previous record by almost a week. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 15,000 miles across the United States on 16 long distance hikes, including the pioneering traverse of the Chinook Trail across the Columbia River Gorge and the pioneering traverse of the Wasatch Range, which she did solo. Liz is affectionately known as the “Queen of Urban Hiking,” having pioneered and completed routes in 5 cities across the U.S.
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 is applying in her work with the trail non-profit Continental Divide Trail Coalition.
Liz has been featured in Backpacker Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! News, Outside Online, and Gizmodo. She gives presentations about long distance hiking around the country, especially to college outdoor clubs like the one where she first learned how to backpack. Liz is honored to serve as Vice President of the American Long Distance Hiking Association-West and as one of four ambassadors for American Hiking Society. Liz is the instructor for Backpacker Magazine’s first-ever Introduction to Thru-hiking Course. When not hiking, Liz splits her time between Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA.