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Recommendations for tough off beat hikes
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Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Recommendations for tough off beat hikes on 06/29/2009 07:25:15 MDT Print View

Hi Fellow Hikers,

I am looking for recommendations for two 5-7 day trips in the US or Canada or say a 15 day trip with a re-supply in August.
Quite frankly anywhere in the US/Canada will do as I am coming from Australia and the extra plane flight doesn't bother me.
I don't have access to a car but I don't mind hitching in or out if its feasible.
I also prefer harder hikes and less people to popular trails.
I have no problem with route finding.

I like big mountain scenery compared to forests and the sea.
I have done the JMT in the US and found it extremely pretty but fairly well trodden.
I have also done a trip in Wrangell St Elias National Park which was very remote and exactly what I was looking for.
It is so hard to judge what trips to do.
I am sure there are people here who could suggest something.

In general, I find trips in books to be too popular for my taste and I don't mind roughing it off trail with a bit of adventure thrown in.

So in summary:

* Tough hikes with fewer people
* Big mountain scenery
* Access for someone without a car

Could anyone offer some advice?

Thanks a lot

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
interesting on 07/07/2009 08:02:44 MDT Print View

The US is not so nice for folks without cars.

The obvious answer, except for the August bit, is the Grand Canyon. You could fly into Vegas, and take a shuttle to the south rim and easily do a longer, remote and isolated trip from there.

Other trail less areas that stand out, but are much more problematic without a car, might be:
-Southern Utah, consult Steve Allen's books, I've seen very few if any people on his routes, again not a summer deal.
-Greater Yellowstone areas, get outside the park itself into the wilderness areas.
-The Weminuche and San Juans in SW Colorado is amazing, do research on the popular areas and then go elsewhere! Rugged terrain will equal very few people.

It's funny thinking about this, as I'm a quintessential American; I know nothing about the public transit options (bus, etc). I always just drive the truck.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
"Recommendations for tough off beat hikes" on 07/07/2009 08:51:07 MDT Print View

You can get off the beaten path fairly quickly in the Canadian Rockies. I spent a summer there without a car getting a round by hitching and by Bus. Not ideal but definitely do-able. I would head on to the Icefields parkway with the bus, get off at a trailhead and do a huge loop.

Another option is to go further North to the Muskwa Kechika area in the Northern Rockies. Described by those in the know as the way the southern Rockies used to be. Oct. 2008 issue of Nat Geo has a good story on the MK with a map that I created. I can provide you with more details of the route that shown if you want to pursue that.

The northern extension of the CDT in Canada is another option you could travel south from Mt. Robson very easily and could get to and from Trailheads using buses.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Recommendations for tough off beat hikes on 07/08/2009 00:07:57 MDT Print View

Sierra High Route. I haven't done it (yet).

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Recommendations for tough off beat hikes on 07/08/2009 18:45:13 MDT Print View

Hi Peter,
If it's offbeat and big mountain scenery you crave, the southern Sierra offers many options. Here's one: Start at either Cottonwood or New Army Pass; Continue up Rock Creek to Sky Blue Lake and on over Crabtree Pass into the Crabtree Lakes Basin. Descend into Crabtree Meadow and follow Whitney Creek down into the Kern Canyon; Follow the High Sierra Trail to Junction Meadow and then take the Colby Pass Trail up to JUST past Rockslide Lake; Leave the trail and bushwhack/scramble up the eastern fork of Pickett Creek into the Kaweah Basin(worth spending a day or two here if you have time-it is drop dead beautiful); Exit Kaweah Basin over the saddle between Pickett Guard Peak and the first Pickett or the saddle between Lawson Peak and the fourth Pickett and descend the Kern Kaweah River to pick up the Colby Pass Trail; Head west on the Colby Pass Trail for 2-3 miles, then leave it and ascend north into Milestone Bowl about 1/2-3/4 mile east of Colby Pass; Cross Milestone Pass and drop down into Milestone Basin(another place of uncommon beauty); From here hike down to pick up the connector trail that takes you east to the John Muir Trail; Cross the JMT and continue on out over Shepherd Pass; From the Shepherd Pass TH, you will have to hike about 4-5 miles to the Onion Valley Road where it is easy to hitch hike into Independence on Highway 395. If you are lucky you might get a ride from another hiker at the Shepherd Pass TH, but I wouldn't count on it. Further hitch hiking or a bus will take you either north to Reno or south depending on your needs. This is a strenuous, off beat route that will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the Sierra. It can be done in 7 days, assuming you are fit with good map reading and off trail skills. The section down Whitney Creek into the Kern Canyon and the route up Pickett Creek into the Kaweah Basin will definitely get your attention.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
The Stein Traverse on 07/08/2009 19:00:52 MDT Print View

The Stein Traverse is very rugged, very remote, very scenic, and an excellent way to take in the diverse flavour of the North American wilds in a single trip. I think it would be perfect.

The only part of this trip that doesn't fit your criteria is the access, but you could feasibly work that out by posting to, which is a local hiking club. Frankly, any place you can get to without a car is likely to be "well-tramped".

Here are a couple of trip reports. The first one is the best:

This is a dream trip for me, and I'm waiting until I have hiking partners who are up to something this rugged and challenging. If you go, do post a trip report!!

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Recommendations for tough off beat hikes on 07/08/2009 23:07:30 MDT Print View

I second the Sierra High route. It meets all criteria except access for someone without a car (which is going to be a problem for any remote route and at least there is heavy traffic at both ends)

I've done this route solo and it's like the JMT without trail or people. It's almost all at or above timberline.

Andy Skurka's web site has a trip write up and here's a link to my blog site with a trip description:

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
rugged trip suggestions on 07/09/2009 00:24:41 MDT Print View

Seconding prior recommendations...

Steve Roper's "Sierra High Route" - book available from Amazon. Car free access to any trailheads on the east side of the Sierra is easy. stops at the Reno Airport and serves all the towns on highway 395. Hitching from 395 to the trailheads is consistently easy.

Roper's route description makes trip planning easy. But there are plenty of other options in the southern Sierra; get a copy of RJ Secor's The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails. This is not a list of popular recommended hikes; it is the definitive description of all peaks and passes, allowing you to assemble your own route and collection of peaks, based on whether you are limited to class-2, 3, 4, or 5 travel. General planning is best done with the map-set that covers the entire southern Sierra region: "A Guide to the John Muir Wilderness and Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness", sold by the US Forest Service.

And, southern utah hikes as described in Steve Allen's Canyoneering-2 (and also Canyoneering-1 and Canyoneering-3) are super off the beaten path, spectacular, rough going. Canyoneering-2 routes are roughly a week in length each, and require some climbing skills (class 5.1 or 5.2). However, hiking in southern Utah canyons in August is not appropriate due to heat. You'll need to save that for April/May or late September/October.

Amy L, Palo Alto

Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Great routes up there guys! on 07/09/2009 07:15:07 MDT Print View

Great routes up there guys!
The Canadian Rockies route by Martin looks really cool.

I spoke to BPLs Doug Johnson and he recommended his neck of the woods so I am kind of focusing in on the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

I know the Sierras are great but I have been there. Is that a valid reason to try somewhere else?
Hmmm dont know!

Franco, yes THE Franco and I, are trying to get our stuff together and come over.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Great routes up there guys! on 07/09/2009 18:58:40 MDT Print View

"I spoke to BPLs Doug Johnson and he recommended his neck of the woods so I am kind of focusing in on the Alpine Lakes Wilderness."

Hi Peter,

If you are interested in Cascade, or Olympic NP hikes, another excellent resource for you is "Trekking Washington" by Mike Woodmansee. It is a collection of some of the very best trail hikes in Washington State. Many of them will take you to remote country where you will not encounter a lot of people and the scenery will be spectacular, guaranteed. Almost all are strenuous. One problem with a lot of the more remote hikes in Washington is that a car is pretty much a necessity, unless you have a lot of spare time. That said, if you choose properly you will have a memorable trip. Both the Cascades and Olympics are awesome.