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Best City for a Fly-in 48 (or 72) Hour Mountain Hike?
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Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
Best City for a Fly-in 48 (or 72) Hour Mountain Hike? on 07/28/2012 21:39:08 MDT Print View

I live in Orlando (obviously) and my hikes are either local (and thus flat) or long drives with lots of planning, usually to the AT. I am trying to figure out an alternative type of trip to speckle in the year where I can fly out after work on Friday, get on the trail in some majestic mountains before sunset and then fly back out on Sunday and get home late. I have researched direct flights and proximity to the trails and Denver seems to be a compelling choice. I'm interested to know other recommendations. Realistically, I may need to stretch it out by flying out Thursday. Any other cities come to mind? I'll also need to figure out a rental or shuttle and then a place to wash up before I get to the airport. Denver appears to have nearly endless trails within an hour of the airport.

I've checked out Fresno as well, but it requires a connection, and is a lot flying. I am also open to the northeast, but I don't pick up time zones on the flight out.

Having recently read Jeremy's article, this could be part of my strategy to balance family, career and BPing.

Edited by Cooporlando on 07/28/2012 21:48:36 MDT.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Denver on 07/28/2012 22:09:09 MDT Print View

If you're spending the $$$ to fly, then rent a car. Shuttles will get you to urban areas, but you'll waste valuable time getting to and from the trailheads. Speaking of which, plan in 2 hours between DIA and trailheads in Indian Peaks or Rocky Mountain NP; maybe a little less to THs nearer Denver proper.

Second consideration is flight availability - how early would you have to be off the trail to make a 5pm MT flight? There aren't many flights to the east coast later than that from Denver, and only a handful of red eyes. Make it easier on yourself by planning Monday as a travel day if you can, so you get all of Sunday on the trail.

Finally, what experience do you have hiking at altitude? Acclimatisation takes a while for most. I witnessed it recently when a friend - an experienced hiker - came out from sea level. We hit the trail 12 hours after he arrived, and we had to scrub our planned route as 11000ft and 80F was too much too soon.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Seattle or Portland on 07/29/2012 00:19:00 MDT Print View

Seattle: rent a car and drive to Olympic NP (entry along the east/Hood Canal), Mt. Rainier NP (a loop in the northwest part of the park), Alpine Lakes Wilderness (from Stevens or Snoqualmie Pass). I'm sure there are ways to use public transportation to Rainier and Olympic, but these parks are big and you would use up a lot of time in transit. However, taking a ferry across Puget Sound is a nice way to see the area.

Portland: rent a car and drive to the Columbia Gorge (Eagle Creek TH is only 30-40 minutes from the airport), Mt. St. Helens (in WA but closer to Portland), Mt. Hood, Three Sisters Wilderness (maybe a little too far for a long weekend with travel).

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Best City for a Fly-in 48 (or 72) Hour Mountain Hike? on 07/29/2012 00:59:45 MDT Print View

Fly to Palm Springs, take the tram up Mt San Jacinto. A hike around the mountain in a weekend sounds about right.

Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
Thanks for the great ideas on 08/03/2012 20:24:13 MDT Print View

For Pacific NW and SoCal I want to stretch into longer trips. It looks like a connection is needed for most of those flights. Good point on the altitude, I haven't had trouble in the past, but I've haven't spent more than a few hours above 10,000 feet at a time. Although peak bagging would be fun, I would be just fine roving around the lower elevations.

I'm also checking into Mancheser, NH as an East Coast option, looks like the is a direct flight that works within my timeframe.

Good point in transportation, will stick with rental cars.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Thanks for the great ideas on 08/03/2012 21:49:17 MDT Print View

Kalispell, Montana. You'll be 45 minutes from Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Check out Dave Chenault's recent article on Glacier and the Bob for starters.

Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
Big Sky Potential on 08/03/2012 22:02:59 MDT Print View

I have been reading for years with envy about Glacier and Bob Marshall. It looks like I could leave after work on a Thursay, get on the trail early Friday and camp closer to the car on Saturday to get to a noon flight out on Sunday. Connection in Salt Lake does make it a long travel day. I'll just make sure to download another season of The Wire before the trip.

I have been thinking of many of the above mentioned spots as once-in-a-lifers, but may be able to change my thinking a bit.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Big Sky Potential on 08/03/2012 22:08:02 MDT Print View

Watching the entire series of The Wire will be the second best decision you've made in a long time if you decide to come up here. Feel free to PM me if you need more details.

David Palmer
(djpfive) - F

Locale: Arizona
SLC on 08/03/2012 22:30:19 MDT Print View

SLC is a good option for lots of types of hiking.

Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
SLC is a nice option on 08/05/2012 18:55:05 MDT Print View

Good call on SLC, I didn't realize the Wasatch range 1) had so much to offer and 2) was literally at the edge of town in Salt Lake City / Provo. This appears to be even more convenient than Denver and the flights work out nicely with directs. I am pondering an early November weekend trip.

Edited by Cooporlando on 08/07/2012 21:24:11 MDT.

David Palmer
(djpfive) - F

Locale: Arizona
SLC on 08/06/2012 01:09:23 MDT Print View

In early November, you could go south from SLC for canyon hiking--good time of year for that. Much of it less than 4 hours from the airport.

Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
Wasatch Bound on 08/19/2012 21:35:03 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone for the ideas. I have a flight booked for SLC early next month for a two nighter in Big Cottonwood Canyon. All pics and vids look pretty amazing, particulalrly for this east coaster. hopefully the first of many forays like this. Trip report to come.

andrew brown
(abrown3mtg) - F

Locale: High Rockies
two other CO options on 08/21/2012 01:01:46 MDT Print View

Fly into Pitken (Aspen) airport. The maroon bells/four pass loop is literally about ~15 minutes from the airport..

Option b.) Fly into Eagle/Vail. More options than I can count within a half hour :-).

I'd check the lost creek wilderness/goose creek trail. About an hour from denver if you went that route with great spots right by the trail head for day 1.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Great thread! on 08/26/2012 20:06:59 MDT Print View

Thanks for this idea, it's a great plan, i will give it a shot.

For this to work though, you almost have to be able to get a direct flight.

Another option for a few people (in the midwest) is Amtrak. Slow, but if you can take an overnight train you can use that night for travel. The train also comes much closer into the mountains. (Glacier for example and some cool stuff in Colorado that I know of.

What about Las Vegas. Cheap to fly to from anywehre in the world and easy acces to some cool outdoor landscapes.

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Ground transportation idea on 08/26/2012 21:22:39 MDT Print View

If you are going to fly somewhere, maybe you can hook up with someone locally who would want to hike with you. They get a hiking partner and you get a ride to/from the trailhead. Win-win. I, for example live in Southern California and would be willing to pick someone up and head out for a trip as long as I had enough advance notice and could work it into my schedule.


Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
Like the local buddy idea on 08/26/2012 22:01:31 MDT Print View

As a matter of fact any Wasatch Hikers are welcomed to join from 9/7 to 9/9. Just shoot me a message. I actually have another buddy coming with me as well. Through guide books and websites we landed on hiking into Lake Blanche the first day, then make our way over Dromedary Peak (or the ridge if that is too sketchy) down into Broads Fork for the next night. We plan to hit REI for fuel on the way to the trail and then the Flying J for a shower before getting back on the plane. So for the ticket price of $300 we are going to go from downtown Orlando to an 8000ft cirque in roughly 9 hours (including hike time).

Additional trail beta welcomed!

I like the Maroon Bells idea for a future trip. SoCal and Vegas are other good choices. Although in researching this SLC trip I am amazed at all of the possibilities including Moab.

Also, if any of you want to hike the Ocala section of the Florida Trail, I would make the same offer to you. It is a good winter trip.

Edited by Cooporlando on 08/26/2012 22:03:17 MDT.

Mark Cooper

Locale: Central Florida
Lake Blanche Was Awesome on 09/11/2012 21:12:15 MDT Print View

The first 48 hour fly in hike was a success! I'll post more on post trip, but we were on the trail by 1pm on Friday (after fuel stop at REI, and lunch stop at Cafe Rio), were at the campsite on Lake Lillian by 5pm and back at SLC by 3 on Sunday. It was late Sunday night, but worth it to hike in the Wasatch Range for the first time while only missing one day of work and 3 days away from the family.

On plane I caught 5 episodes of The Wire season 4 and started reading Joseph Campbell for the first time.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Reno? on 09/14/2012 10:28:39 MDT Print View

As an adopted Californian, currently stranded on the island of Manhattan, I’ve done research on this very question, as when we moved here, I negotiated one trip a year back to the West Coast.

Based on your time frame, though, the West Coast may just not work. I’ve flown into Reno once a year for the last three years. That three hour time change plus a connection is a killer. I have to leave on Saturday morning to arrive by 3-4pm, and then fly out by noon to be back in NYC by midnight on my return.

In theory, I could do a 72 and change hour trip by taking Friday off work, leaving in the early AM(8-10am), arriving in Reno between 3-5pm, taking a shuttle to South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City, or Truckee (60-90 minutes) and then a cab to a trailhead, or walk onto the Tahoe Rim Trail in Tahoe City. Renting a car shortens that process, and would make it easier to stop at a sporting goods store to pick up a fuel canister, if you don’t want to go no-cook. In the summer I’d have a couple hours of daylight to hit the trail and find a campsite before dark. Then I’d have Saturday, and most of the day on Sunday before catching a 7pm red-eye back to NYC, arriving at between 5-6am, getting home at 7am to shower before heading to work by 8am. And of course there’d be the need to shower or wash up somehow before boarding that red-eye. I could also take a half-day off on Friday, catch a 4pm flight and be in Reno by 10pm, stay at a hotel and start early Saturday.

A quick look at Kayak, and it looks like you could do about the same thing. If you rise really early, there are pre-7am flights that get you into Reno before noon. I just worry about forgetting something trying to leave that early.

And any flight delay messes up plans significantly.

I’ve done research on a lot of other place, Reno being the only one I have personal experience, with, but I’m looking at a 6-10 day time-frame, not 48-72 hours.