By ATC Staff

March Snackness: ATC Staff Shares Their Favorite Trail Foods

March 10, 2023

Backpacking gear? For sure. Favorite views? Of course. There are a lot of things that Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers like to rank and compare. But if there is one thing that is on the A.T. visitor’s mind after a long day of hiking, it’s food. And one of the most common points of campfire conversation needs to be settled: what is the ultimate Trail food?

That’s where you come in. We’ve asked some members of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) team for their favorite recipes to enjoy while hiking the A.T., and we’ve narrowed it down to our ATC March Snackness Final Four.

Bracket graphic depicting the final four recipes

Check out the recipes below, and then cast your vote for the recipe that tickles your tastebuds the most.

Marian’s Mac and Cheese

By Marian Orlousky, Director of Science and Stewardship

Marian's mac and cheese

Marian’s Mac and Cheese

Make Marian’s Mac and Cheese 

Ingredients: Your favorite instant mac and cheese (Marian’s is Annie’s alfredo cheddar shells). Optional: dehydrated veggies, protein like salmon or tuna packets, pesto, or fresh cheese 

Instructions: Prepare the mac and cheese as directed and enjoy! 

Dakota’s Cheesy Broccoli Bomb

By Dakota “Artichoke” Jackson, Director of Visitor Experience

Dakota’s Carb-Loaded Cheesy Broccoli Bomb

Here’s how to make Dakota’s Cheesy Broccoli Bomb!

Ingredients: Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Side + Instant Garlic Mashed Potatoes 


  • Cover cheddar broccoli pasta side with water to about ½ inch above pasta and heat until boiling. 
  • Once boiled, let sit for about 7 minutes.  
  • Stir pasta with approximately ¼ cup of instant garlic mashed potatoes until you reach your desired consistency.  
  • Optional: add chicken flavor packets, or bacon bits 

Jordan’s Trail-Tested Spicy Peanut Noodles

By Jordan “Yo Teach!” Bowman, Director of Communications

Jordan's Trail-Tested Spicy Peanut Noodles

Jordan’s Trail-Tested Spicy Peanut Noodles

Make Jordan’s Trail-Tested Spicy Peanut Noodles

Ingredients: One ramen package (discard or save the flavor packet), 1-2 teaspoons of dried minced onions, 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter (crunchy is recommended), and Sriracha, salt, and pepper to taste. Optional: add an additional protein like tuna, chicken, or chopped cured meat, dried chives for flavor, or crushed peanuts for additional flavor, protein, and fat.


  • Bring roughly two cups of water to a boil and cook ramen per package instructions (Note: discard the flavor packet, save it for another dish, or use as an additional seasoning to the meal after other ingredients have been added — implement slowly, as the salt and flavoring in the packet can overwhelm the rest of the flavors).
  • Add minced onion for rehydrating when roughly 1 minute remains for the pasta cook time.
  • Strain the pasta water, retaining roughly 2 tablespoons to help dissolve the peanut butter.
  • Add peanut butter, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, optional protein, and sriracha (start with a small amount and add until desired sweetness/spiciness level is achieved). Mix well until all noodles are coated.
  • Optional: Top noodles with dried chives, crushed peanuts, and/or additional sesame seeds to taste.

Katie’s Salmon Alfredo

By Katie Allen, Director of Landscape Conservation

Katie's salmon alfredo

Katie’s Salmon Alfredo

Prepare Katie’s Salmon Alfredo 

Ingredients: One pouch of salmon (can substitute tuna or another protein of choice), 1 packet of instant alfredo pasta, lemon juice packets (to taste), salt and pepper packets (to taste). Optional: pack capers, olives, or pickles to add some additional flavor. 

Instructions: Cook pasta with water as directed. Once cooked, top with salmon and other toppings. Season and enjoy! 

Vote Now!

Honorable Mentions

Not every one of the sweet (and savory) sixteen can make it to the round of final four. Here are a few of our honorable mentions.

Enjoy Our Information Services Manager, Caitlin Miller’s Go-To Trail Snacks

Goldfish and NerdsNerds and Goldfish – eat them together by the handful or separately depending on how you’re feeling! 

Recreate Our Natural Resources & Land Stewardship Manager, Ryan Seltzer’s Classic Trail “Mix” 

M&M'sIngredients: One family-sized bag of Almond M&Ms.

Instructions: Okay, so there’s no mixing in this trail mix. Just eat the M&Ms by the handful.  

Be the Most Popular Person at Camp with Our Visual Resource Manager, Pam Roy’s Homemade Rice Crispy Treats 

Homemade Rice Krispies TreatsRecipe Inspired by Smitten Kitten

Ingredients: ½ cup unsalted butter, one 10-ounce bag of marshmallows, ¼ teaspoon of salt, 6 cups of crispy rice cereal (about half of a 12-ounce box), butter or nonstick spray for the pan.


  • Melt and brown your butter in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
  • As soon as the butter sells nutty and begins to brown, turn off the head and stir in marshmallows.
  • Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal.
  • Quickly spread the mix onto a well-greased pan.
  • Let cool and cut into squares.

Grab Our Program Support Manager, Ilana Copel’s Gas Station Delicacy 

Ingredients: A bag of Sesame Sticks from the convenience store.

Instructions: Chow down! Some honorable mentions from Ilana include peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and a burrito acquired in a town stop after a day of hiking.  

Staying well-fueled on your A.T. hikes is not only an important part of having a safe and successful journey — it’s also a great way to get to know other visitors as you celebrate your adventures on the Trail. Whether you make some of our staff picks, or try out recipes of your own, Happy Snacking!

Snacking with friends on Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire. Photo by Eric "Gumby" Wetherington

Snacking with friends on Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire. Photo by Eric “Gumby” Wetherington