Appalachia is a journal of wilderness, mountain, and river adventure and environment, published by the Appalachian Mountain Club and edited by Christine Woodside. 

We welcome narrative, historical, and science essays on the following topics: mountain, wilderness, and backcountry adventure; technical climbing; canoeing and kayaking; nature and climate change; and land ethics. We work far ahead and publish twice a year. We consider it our mission to encourage and work with new writers, as well as seasoned ones. The editor-in-chief solicits most lead feature stories several months ahead. 


Story proposals should reach the editor-in-chief eight months ahead of publication: April 1 for December publication, October 1 for June publication.

Manuscripts sent on speculation may arrive as late as seven months ahead of publication: May 1 for December publication, November 1 for June publication.

Letters to the editor, suggestions for obituaries in our “In Memoriam” section, and short items for our “News and Notes” section may arrive five months ahead: July 1 for December publication, January 1 for June publication.


Our philosophy is that articles should be as long as they should be. Most articles run between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Some measure as short at 500 words, and our longest are 5,000. Please double-space your document, use Times New Roman 12-point font, and send submissions electronically, if possible.


Photographs or drawings accompany most of our articles and are usually provided by the authors. We also publish a limited number of standalone photos that evoke the mountains, and we welcome high-quality freelance submissions.


Original poems about the above topics are also welcome. Shorter poems are preferred. We try to publish poems that take the reader into the wild and focus almost exclusively on natural subjects. The kinds of poems we publish tend to deal with specific times, places, and events. They are usually simple but telling observations, clearly presented. We often receive fine poems with a natural setting, but the ultimate aim of such poems lies in the human world of relationships. The Appalachia poem, if there is such a thing, addresses the natural world directly.  Reading our journal will show you, better than my words, the type of  poem we tend to take. Appalachia Poetry prize, given occasionally since 1972. 

Submit a maximum of six poems with a maximum of 36 lines each. 

Six to eight poems are published per issue, which makes this the most competitive section of the journal; on average, one in 50 submissions is accepted. 


All work is subject to editing. We make every effort to work cooperatively with authors in the early stages of production and to explain editing decisions. Deadlines usually make last-minute communication with authors impossible.

Deadline extended! We invite emerging writers to enter our 2020 essay contest in Appalachia, sponsored by the Waterman Fund ( We are looking especially for pieces that reflect on changes in the wild areas over the past two decades.

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the Waterman Fund, which supports new writing and preservation of alpine areas in North America. 

To celebrate this milestone, we invite reflective essays on changes in the wild. 

We’d like to think that wilderness and wildness can withstand the test of time, the change of political regimes, the evolution of technologies, the ebb and flow of social organization, and the cultural  zeitgeist. But can it? How has the spirit of wildness and wilderness itself endured over the last twenty years? In this short time, we saw over 548 million acres protected across the nation under former President Obama—the most habitat protected by any president in American history; and we’ve also experienced rollbacks to National Monuments and the preference for corporate interests over conservation under President  Trump.

At the turn of the century, we were lamenting the shrill tones of cell phones in the mountains and a decade later lamenting the chasm that the digital, virtual age has created between the younger generation and the wild. And now, we see a resurgence of interest in and passion for the wild. Across the country, the number of hikers has increased dramatically—45 million people went hiking in 2017, up from 30 million in 2006. Ironically, social media—one of the virtual realities we hypothesized would distance Millenials and Gen Z from the wild—has helped connect people to the wild. How have cultural shifts impacted the wild in the last two decades? What have they been?

Similarly, we are interested in your personal experience with changes to the wild and changes in perceptions of the wild in the last  twenty years. What aspects of the wild endure the tests of time?  

Essays will be accepted through February 2, 2020. The winning essay will be awarded $1,500. The runner-up essay will receive $500. Both will be published online and in Appalachia.

Essay winners will be selected and announced by mid-summer 2020. For the purposes of this contest, an emerging writer is considered someone who has a solid writing background or interest, but has not yet published a major work of prose on this topic or been featured in national publications.

Appalachia Journal