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Epic trips in states that don't get the glory
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Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
Epic trips in states that don't get the glory on 04/27/2014 19:27:03 MDT Print View

So CO, CA, AK, and a number of other states get all the press. Go hike the CO trail! Ski the Chugach! Etc... I have been around the west mostly, been on the AT out east. But I would like to at some point visit the states in the middle.

This is kind of along the lines of Backpacking Magazine's "Find hikes in your area!" but instead of a 7 mile day hike, or a 25 mile trip that inexplicably takes four days... I am looking for BIG stuff.

I would like to open up a discussion on what kind of awesome trips could be had in Nebraska, Iowa, Louisiana, etc. For anyone who lives there... what would you recommend for an adventurous manic tourist who likes getting exhausted on long days outdoors. Hikes, river trips, bike tours, other similar stuff?

Edited by gpramuk on 04/27/2014 19:28:02 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Epic trips in states that don't get the glory on 04/27/2014 19:30:26 MDT Print View

In California the high mountains get all the glory and the lower elevation areas are considered low tier quality hiking.
The Calistoga Palisades are a local place to me and they are seriously epic. Lots of craggy lava cliffs, ridges to climb, and hidden caves.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Epic trips in states that don't get the glory on 04/27/2014 19:43:11 MDT Print View

Interesting that you mentioned Louisiana...on the Gulf Coast, there are many protected wilderness areas, most of which are bayous. It's a fascinating ecosystem that you might explore.
Think paddling through the backwaters of Jean LaFitte National Park, or boating/camping on a barrier island (like Horn Island) in Gulf Islands National Seashore.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Epic trips in states that don't get the glory on 04/27/2014 19:51:56 MDT Print View

Head a little further East from Louisiana and hike the Florida Trail. It oughta be long enough for ya! Well over 1,000 miles through such a vast array of wildlife and (really!) some very challenging hiking.

Oh ... nice thread!

Edited by funnymoney on 04/27/2014 19:52:32 MDT.

TKB 1979

Re: Epic trips in states that don't get the glory on 04/27/2014 20:06:34 MDT Print View

Have you considered the Superstitions in Az? That can turn into a "BIG" hike in a hurry. The East side seems less accessible/more interesting. Not sure if it gets too much press to qualify ... but there's climbing, lakes, caves, et cetera.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Knobstone trail? on 04/27/2014 20:14:35 MDT Print View

Always thought the Knobstone in Indiana trail would be a great fall hike.

~60 miles with nearly 20k ft of gain. Lots of ups and downs.

Don't know if it *EPIC*, but it does sound fun and challenging.

If you want longer, how about the Ice Age trail in Wisconsin?

1000 miles of hiking.

I think it has THE BEST logo of any long trail! :)


Edited by PaulMags on 04/27/2014 20:20:36 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
West Texas on 04/27/2014 20:19:40 MDT Print View

The Guadalupes don't get much love compared to Big Bend. But they are very nice in cool months. When other mountain ranges are snowed in they offer mountain scenery without the need for winter gear. Daily mileage is shorter because hikes are normally in winter, you have to carry a lot of water and the terrain is pretty rugged.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: West Texas on 04/28/2014 03:21:38 MDT Print View

Guadalupe Ridge Trail as described in Backpacker Magazine about ten years ago.

Michael Gunderloy
(ffmike) - MLife
Re: Knobstone trail? on 04/28/2014 05:16:42 MDT Print View

If you want a bit more in Indiana, you can put the Knobstone Trail together with the Tecumseh Trail, some National Forest trails, and 40 miles of road walking to get a 140-mile trail:

Haven't done it myself but it's on my radar for some time in the next few years.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Midwest Hiking on 04/30/2014 10:09:12 MDT Print View

I've done sections of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota and the Missouri-Ozark Trail in Missouri. Both were well marked, but I preferred the Superior Hiking Trail - stunning views all over. Definitely one of the best Midwest hikes I've done, and lots of distance for a thru. It's just under 300 miles, not including a ~45 mile section near Duluth that will eventually be connected. The campsites are generally well maintained, flat, and near water sources; they require you to camp at designated spots, but the sites are every few miles and I never was at a site with other campers. That being said, I was out pretty early (early May) so your results may vary.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Epic trips in states that don't get the glory on 04/30/2014 10:35:50 MDT Print View

There are no epic backpacks in Iowa, when I lived there I looked. What is available is a practically endless selection of quiet pavement and gravel roads for bike touring. You could take just about as much time as you like making a huge loop around the state. Great people, and a surprising variety of terrain along the way. RAGBRAI is worth doing as well.

A bunch of midwestern states have some very long rivers, and a canoe or kayak trip can give you a unique look at the areas. Camping can be a pain, so check stream access laws for each state and generally do your homework. The North Raccoon in Iowa is a great paddle.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Iowa on 04/30/2014 12:17:17 MDT Print View

Agreed, haven't found much in Iowa or Nebraska that I'd consider "epic." Wisconsin has the Ice Age trail as others have mentioned, and Minnesota has the SHT, but Iowa and Nebraska are a lot flatter and have more farmland - not too conducive to hiking. I'd love to hear any IA/NE suggestions though - pretty hard to get outside the two for weekend trips from Omaha.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Iowa on 04/30/2014 13:09:10 MDT Print View

The Boone and Upper Iowa Rivers are very nice floats. The Upper Iowa is more highly touted, but I prefer the Boone.

Kent McLemore
Arkansas! on 04/30/2014 15:53:43 MDT Print View

Ozark Highlands Trail (218 miles)
Buffalo National River.
Buffalo River Trail.

Stinson 108
Cowboy Trail Nebraska (321 miles) on 05/01/2014 09:09:14 MDT Print View

The Cowboy Trail in Nebraska runs thru some beautiful country in the Sandhills. 321 miles long ought to satisfy anyone. It's a rail trail so you will have bikes and I think horses may be allowed too. When you get to the end, canoe the Niobrara.

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
nice ideas! on 05/01/2014 10:22:42 MDT Print View

I like the input gang!

We aren't ALL purely hikers... Some of us do bike tours, paddle, climb, ski... RAGBRAI, though extremely popular, would be fun. That is a way to see a lot of Iowa in a short time. 8 days? can't remember. Though it seems like when in doubt, do a bike tour... heh.

SD and ND have the Missouri River with HUGE lakes. Could mean a lot of paddling. Of course they also have Black Hills and Badlands and such...

I know some of those states have startling beauty and stunning activities that one wouldn't expect. World class rock climbing in Arkansas, and rafting I have heard. Also, I think there is something beautiful about miles of wheat fields in late summer too! It is a different beauty than say... the Wind Rivers.

Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
+1 on Guadalupe Mountains on 05/01/2014 11:13:23 MDT Print View

Couldn't agree more with what Luke said. Guadalupe Mountains always seem to be an afterthought relative to Big Bend for most Texans, and I'm not exactly sure why. While the Chisos in Big Bend offer incredible views of Mexico to the south, Guadalupe Mountains are far more rugged and see a whole lot less foot traffic than its interstate cousin. There are countless day hiking options in the park, which make it ideal for families or those who lack substantial backpacking experience. But if it's solitude you crave there's plenty of that as well. Due to the lack of reliable water sources in the mountains themselves I have rarely encountered hikers doing much more than an overnight (although, clearly some do), but if you have a partner with transportation of their own the park becomes much more accessible. While I've never had an opportunity to explore Dog Canyon, I have spent quite a bit of time in McKittrick Canyon. In the fall I think you would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful spot in Texas to see the fall foliage.

Andrew Stow
(AndyS) - F - MLife

Locale: Midwest USA
Minnesota & Illinois on 05/01/2014 11:53:59 MDT Print View

Boundary waters in Minnesota. After your second portage you'll hardly see anyone.

I haven't done it yet, but will, and have heard good things about, the River to River trail in Shawnee National Forest (southern IL.) 160 miles.

Edited by AndyS on 05/01/2014 11:54:32 MDT.