Sock manufacturer Farm to Feet has signed on as the title sponsor of the Gathering of Friends, the annual meeting of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the trail and the extended weekend celebration in Elkin, NC, from March 24-26, serves as a kickoff to a year-long celebration of the trail.

“The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is one of the premier thru-hiking trails in the country and provides a great service to our state by connecting our communities, and also connecting us all to our cherished natural resources,” said David Petri, VP of marketing at Farm to Feet.

A Hiking Boot Gala on Friday evening will officially open the Gathering of Friends, where individuals and organizations will be recognized for their support, accomplishments and contributions to the trail over the past 40 years.

On Saturday, March 25, the annual meeting will focus on the future of the trail and its goals going forward. The meeting will feature a keynote address from Farm to Feet global ambassador and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis.

Throughout the weekend, the Elkin Valley Trail Association is offering a program of Trail & Town Excursions including hikes, mountain biking, local brewery tours and paddling trips on the Yadkin to help attendees explore the MST and the Elkin area.

Elkin Valley is one of sections of the trail that Farm to Feet is celebrating in its Mountains-to-Sea Trail collection of technical hiking socks, which includes five styles named for various sections of the trail from Clingmans Dome to Ocracoke Island.

On September 9, 1977, Howard Lee, the North Carolina Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development, recommended that North Carolina build a “state trail from the mountains to the coast, a trail leading through communities as well as natural areas.”  Today, nearly 700 miles of trail have been built and people follow the MST across North Carolina. Every year new sections of trail open, and more and more people enjoy the trail for day hikes, backpacking trips, and cross-state thru hikes.

To learn more about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Gathering of Friends visit

Photo courtesy Janet Pearson