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recommendation for a 10 week trail
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Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
recommendation for a 10 week trail on 09/01/2009 02:39:37 MDT Print View

Next year Ellie and I are planning a long trip. We live in Britain and have walked long ridges in Scotland, winter and Summer, large parts of the Pyrenean Haute Route and the Salcantay route to Machu Picchu. You can tell we like high and ridges. We like remote. We are scramblers maybe, but no great rope experience. For a trip this length the world is our oyster. What do people recommend?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
mileage? on 09/01/2009 08:39:06 MDT Print View

Depending on how leisurely you do or do not want to go, the Colorado Trail would certainly deliver ridges, if not quite what I would think of as 10 week length.

For something different, you could hike the Arizona Trail (though the season is somewhat limited, you'd want to start in the north in late summer or the south in mid spring).

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Buckeye Trail on 09/01/2009 08:49:41 MDT Print View

Okay, crazy idea, but here goes:

The Buckeye Trail in Ohio, USA. It rings the state, so you can get a sense of one of the USA's most rural and most urban states.

It's about 1400 miles that will take you from urban tourist locales and rural road walks through farming country to the lovely ridges of the "Little Smokies" in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Shawnee State Forest.

I know. It's no walk in the Alps - or even the Rockies. But there you go.


Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Hikes on 09/01/2009 11:42:05 MDT Print View

I don't know your pace, so this is all subjective in guessing at a 10 week hike.

--Great Divide Trail: People I know who have hiked it describe it as difficult, rewarding, beautiful, and basically no one out there.

--New Zealand. 10 weeks there dedicated to hiking will be the trip of a lifetime. I spent 6 months there and hiked roughly 1000 glorious miles. Bought a car for $500, sold it for $50 when I left. There are several threads on BPL about NZ. I don't know if Te Araroa (sp?) trail is completed or not, but that would be great.

--Colorado or Montana on the CDT, taking every harder alternative Ley describes on his maps (to get to the scrambing ridge lines).

--JMT, Sierra High Route loop hybrid? JMT south, SHR north?

--Washington and Oregon on the PCT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
PNWT on 09/01/2009 12:25:19 MDT Print View

Well, if we're willing to forgo sticking to ridges the whole way...

The Pacific Northwest Trail. It starts in Glacier National Park and heads west, ending at Cape Alava (westernmost point in CONUS) on the Olympic Peninsula. So you go through the Rockies and Cascades, down to the coast, across Puget Sound, through the Olympic Mountains, to one of the best beach hikes around.


You sort of hit it all. The downside is that you don't walk along ridges very much- you cross them instead. Several times, as you can see in the map. But it is on my life list. (But then, so is the Colorado Trail.)

The guidebook says it takes three months, but I think it was written in non-ultralight style. Author is Ron Strickland. Here is the Pacific Northwest Trail Association website:

EDIT--- Zack- I have no problems with bushwhacking...
But, yeah, the guidebook is from 2001 and mentions a lot of planned improvements. There are areas where the trails aren't well defined (sort of like the CDT) and you just have to navigate your way to the next defined location as best you can. These are usually the lower, forested areas rather than the mountainous ones. Also similar to the CDT, there is occasional road walking (usually near a town). But, again, this is as of 2001. The website will probably say more about it.

PLUS congress just designated it a Nation Scenic Trail in the recent omnibus bill, so presumably it will be improving a bit. (Certainly by the time I can hike it... I.e. retirement.)

Edited by acrosome on 09/01/2009 12:37:11 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
PNT on 09/01/2009 12:28:15 MDT Print View

I have zero experience with the PNT, but I know people who hiked it and renamed it "Probably Not a Trail (PNT)" due to the bushwhacking. Maybe it's better now?

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Some ideas on 09/01/2009 13:53:18 MDT Print View

I think Te Aroara will be complete late 2010, but in any case you could do portions

I thought it would be interesting to do tahoe rim trail (165 mi) - tahoe yosemite trail (185 mi) - john muir trail - (200 mi portion) - high sierra trail (75 mi) - total about 625 mi - maybe not quite 10 weeks

The hayduke trail? (825 mi)

The Idaho Centennial trail? (900 mi)

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: recommendation for a 10 week trail on 09/01/2009 14:21:23 MDT Print View

One HUGE vote for the John Muir Trail. Or if your time spent is the most important factor...a longer portion of the PCT. After spending the last two 6-day backpacking trips in the Yosemite and Kings Canyon backcountry...I would not be surprised if many of the folks who have hiked all over the world would not rate the area in the top 5 for beauty and ruggedness.

Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
recommendation for a 10 week trail on 09/02/2009 03:36:19 MDT Print View

Those are all interesting.
I would rather walk along ridges than cross them. The PCT seems to cross ridges perhaps they are too difficult to walk. Nonetheless The PCT including the JMT is on the short list. New Zealand sounds interesting. I imagine it is remote. Patagonia?

Someone asked how many miles. Assuming it is a trail and not a find your own way pathless route or scrambling, we tend to walk an average of 8 hours a day at about Naismith pace. Naismith is an hour for 3 miles and half an hour for 1000 foot of ascent.
To simplify 10 weeks = something in the region of 900-1200 mountainous miles
We crossed Scotland in May in some snow and high wind, half pathless, in 15 days doing 250 miles and 82,000 foot of ascent. That was a bit too hard to extend to 10 weeks.

Edited by Derekoak on 09/02/2009 03:50:39 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
bag some peaks on 09/02/2009 12:08:12 MDT Print View

If you really want to stay high, and this might not logistically make sense, you could climb all of Colorado's 14,000 ft peaks. Depending on the criteria used, there are between 54 to 57 (I think). My wife and I lived out of our car and went from peak to peak, grouping as many as possible into single days, but had to stop before we did them all (wife had altitude issues). It was a really fun way to see Colorado--I can't think of a much better way as it mixes cool towns and amazing places. People also do this with bicycles as their transport. Just an idea.

edit: if this idea appeals to you, I know a guy who put together a route to hike all of the 14ers and make it a thruhike, so you wouldnt have to worry about transportation beyond walking. It did involve some road walking (don't see a way around that), but if that doesn't bother you, I can see if he can give me his information.

Edited by on 09/02/2009 12:14:41 MDT.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: recommendation for a 10 week trail on 09/02/2009 17:11:36 MDT Print View

How about the Appalachian Trail? A fair portion runs along the ridge line.

Kenneth Knight
(kenknight) - MLife

Locale: SE Michigan
lon g trails on 09/02/2009 21:28:29 MDT Print View

If the goal is to avoid going up and down the Appalachian Trail is perhaps the worst choice of many mentioned. It has more up and down than the PCT does.

An interesting option might involve stretches of the North Country Trail. Nowhere near the elevation changes that some of the trails suggested mention but if you pick the right stretch you'll get some knockout scenery as you pass by Lake Superior. I'm thinking of stretches in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the Superior Hiking Trail.

Their are dozens of choices within the continental US and those grow if you expand throughout North America. But transportation in the States could be tricky. Not when you're hiking so much as when you want to get from place to place especially if they're a bit more remote. Public transportation networks aren't as robust here and even if they were the distances especially out west are big enough that you'll spend a fair bit of time shuttling around. Just factor that into the trip planning.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Alaska? on 09/03/2009 07:15:28 MDT Print View

I live along the Appalachian trail and it is nice but I wouldn't fly all the way over just to do part of it. The PCT and CDT are going to be much more scenic and remote. Check out Andy Skurka's website, he's got a lot of pictures to give you an idea what its like.
Heres a new idea, why not go to Alaska, its remote and drop dead beautiful. We hiked the Kusungi Ridge Trail in Denali State Park (different from the National Park). This would be a good place to get used to the area and its a great ridge trail. On second thought you might extend the route farther and blaze your own path.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: recommendation for a 10 week trail on 09/03/2009 07:23:52 MDT Print View

Try Iceland. Skurka has it up on his website.

Edited by leadfoot on 09/03/2009 07:27:15 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
re: iceland on 09/03/2009 09:19:20 MDT Print View

I've recently thruhiked Iceland and there are almost no ridges of any real length. It is amazing, but 10 weeks there would be quite expensive (even with their crippling recession, Ben & Jerry's pints were still $10).

My wife did a trailjournals for report and pictures:

edit: On second thought, if you want views, isolation, new experiences and challenges, then maybe Iceland would be really great for you. Since it is so far north, 1000' feels like 10,000', 2000' like 14,000', 3000 like 17,000'. There is very little information out there for thruhiking Iceland (trust me!) so I would be more than happy to help you out all I can (as far as I know, only 7 Americans have thruhiked Iceland on varying routes).

Edited by on 09/03/2009 09:53:43 MDT.

stephen keating
(012wanderer) - F
Re: recommendation for a 10 week trail on 10/07/2009 14:26:58 MDT Print View

do the sierra high route, also the high route south from mineral king to happy isles, plenty of scope for scrambling. then return south via the jmt and finish on whitney, ihave done those hikes twice north and south, and would again at the drop of a hat i fly over from ireland the high sierras are brill if you havnt been there go, you wont be sorry. stephen