Nov 11, 2009 at 7:38 am #1241595
@timalanLocale: Mid Atlantic
I'm sure most folks here have day jobs that make it hard to escape for a month at a time into the wilderness… however, 7-10 days is very possible for most of us, with the proper planning. To that end, I'm looking for suggestions on some great hikes in the 50-150 mile range, the kind of hikes that could be done in that range of time.
All suggestions/info/links appreciated. This is a chance to brag about your favorite trips and share some of the most beautiful vistas in the country. Please include where the trip is, how long, whether it's a loop hike or not, and what the best times of year are for the hike.
Thanks.Nov 11, 2009 at 8:25 am #1544529
@alanlLocale: Bavarian & Austrian Alps
Did you have a particular country in mind?
I did a quick two day traverse of the Steinernes Meer on the Bavarian-Austrian border in September with my wife and it was fantastic. Or pick pretty much any random stretch of North West Scotland. Or any sufficiently remote bit of southern Utah desert.
That's pretty much my list of "best places ever".Nov 11, 2009 at 9:03 am #1544540
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I think that the best hikes are the ones that you spend time planning yourself. Pick a mountain range, look at maps and google earth, and choose your route. Each range has endless hikes in that length. It's rare that "famous" or often recommended hikes are as good as choose your own adventure (cross country) rambles.
If you're looking for routine "best" answers, I can provide some of the classic hikes as ideas. But I'm keeping the stellar ideas to myself :)Nov 11, 2009 at 9:09 am #1544541
"This is a chance to brag about your favorite trips and share some of the most beautiful vistas in the country."
Now, why in the world would I do that?
Try Backpacking Magazine's list.
And go there.Nov 11, 2009 at 9:38 am #1544552
@timalanLocale: Mid Atlantic
I love planning my own trips, but part of the reason for posting is to get some leads on what all is out there in other parts of the country… and I trust folks here more than folks on Backpacker or Outside magazine to give good ideas that are not always on the beaten path.
It is great to do all the planning, but some leads here could direct the planning to some states/regions I might not have considered on my own. Especially if people help identify best seasons for certain hikes.
I'm trying to start planning now for a couple of weeklong getaways next year, and was hoping this thread would give some ideas for destinations I might not have otherwise considered. I know what's in the Mid-Atlantic area, and parts of the southwest, but I haven't really hiked in other parts of the country.
Helpful suggestions appreciated.Nov 11, 2009 at 9:45 am #1544553
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
The Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, about 95 miles. Best time perhaps is mid-summer, when all the flowers are out, but this varies year-to-year.
You can find exhaustive information about this trail on the web. Overnight permits are required, and the earlier you apply, the better.Nov 11, 2009 at 9:48 am #1544556
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Like Jack, I tend not to share my favourite off-the-beaten-track hikes because I like them due to their remoteness and that I can walk for days and not see anyone else…then again I'm think in the wrong country for this question so my opinion doesn't really matter anyway!
Nothing hacks me off more than when one of the backpacking mags publishes details of my hitherto secret best walks and suddenly it's over run with folks.Nov 11, 2009 at 10:30 am #1544571
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
It's a backcountry super highway, but I could do any section of the JMT 100 times and still go back for more. I like big trees, big views, and big rocks. I get all three plus some of the most mild weather of any alpine destination.
–MarkNov 11, 2009 at 10:59 am #1544575
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
Hiked it at the end of August of this year. Great campsites, beautiful beaver ponds. Mid-hike resupply available at Wanekena, or Cranberry lake. Trail is soft, and water is available everywhere. Click here to open the trail's web page.Nov 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm #1544634
The PCT from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass. It is 72 miles of up and down through some very beautiful country. Only down side is that it is point to point. You will see people, but we only encountered 6-8 people when we did it, including Scott Williamson outbound on his PCT yo-yo. We did it in 4 days and a couple of hours, but it can as well be done in anywhere from 2-3 days on, depending on your desire and ability.Nov 11, 2009 at 4:02 pm #1544648
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
Also check out the Rae Lakes Loop in King's Canyon Park. I've not hiked it, but it appears to be very popular. (50mi.)Nov 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm #1544652
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Jeremy, Cameron, Jay, and I went on the Tahoe Rim Trail this past July.
9 days and 168 miles.
Little longer than you asked for, but it was an amazing trip that had the benefits of being close to civilization and easy resupplies. (We only carried 3 days of food at any given time).
The trail also covers some 50 miles of the PCT and gives you time in the Desolation Wilderness.
Really found it a great way to look at Lake Tahoe with a mix of well maintained trails and beautiful scenery.
High Sierra Trail from Sequioa National Park to Mt. Whitney was my 1st big trip into lightweight backpacking. 70 miles one way….only difficulty is figuring out return transportation or having someone waiting to give you a lift back.
Yosemite from Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass….returning past Half Dome, back to Glacier Point is also about 50 miles.
If you are interested, in the photo gallery, I have photo essays on these trips to give you an idea of what to expect.
Hope that this helps.
-TonyNov 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm #1544698
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Any section of the Fremont/Highline Trail in Wyoming's Wind Rivers, IMHO one of the world's most beautiful places. Total from Green River Lakes to Big Sandy Opening is about 80 miles. I would suggest north-to-south because it's better for acclimatizing to the altitude (climbing gradually from 8,000 ft. to 11,000 ft. instead of spending the first night at 10,500 ft.. Several sidetrips are mandatory, which could make the total well over 100 miles. Be prepared for plenty of weather, including snow at any time.
In Oregon, two that are on my to-do list are the Three Sisters Loop (another one with lots of sidetrips, but very popular) and Hells Canyon (lots of possible loops and few people; avoid lower canyon in the heat of summer). In Washington, the Boundary Trail through the Pasayten Wilderness (both ends are a long way from anywhere).Nov 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm #1544699
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Hand's down, the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park. Search it on Wikipedia. Starts in Giant Forest (Crescent Meadows Trailhead) which has largest trees in the world, ends at Mt. Whitney, tallest mountain in contiguous 48 USA states. " From Crescent Meadow to Whitney Portal the trail is 72.2 miles (116.2 km) long and is often hiked in 6 to 7 days or more. There is a natural hot springs in the middle. It is occasionally performed in even less time by experts. Work began on the High Sierra Trail in 1928 and it was the first Sierra trail built solely for recreational purposes."
PS. Best way to do this round trip, is to return from Whitney Portal via Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead after resupplying at Lone Pine, CA, and you can hike due West via Golden Trout Wilderness Area to Kern Canyon Ranger Station via a well maintained trail and then north 9 miles to the High Sierra Trail, then back to Crescent Meadows. That is about 130 miles, via that "lasso" route. Mt. Whitney Shuttle Service can help at Lone Pine, CA. And a shuttle bus works from Visalia, CA to Lodgepole, CA then to Crescent Meadows Trailhead. Round trip is easiest way to deal with transportation. Doing a one way trip, requires you to do an "open jaw" flight to Fresno, CA to start, and from Reno, CA at end, using buses to get to/from trailhead.Nov 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm #1544870
@lenchik101Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
Any combination of trails, including PCT, around the Glacier Peak in the Glacier Peak Wilderness (WA). Just get the maps of the area and plan your own hike: combine different trails, make your own loops, make your own to and from exploration points, go off trails, go over passes, climb small peaks – it's the country that would leave you breathless. If you go off the beaten path, you may steal some solitude.Nov 12, 2009 at 4:17 pm #1544873
.Nov 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm #1544874
"If you want to hike in the High Sierra, I'd recommend staying (mostly) off the JMT, and just making up your own adventure"
++1 to this whole post, with the caveat that you are comfortable with off trail travel and like designing your own routes. As Dave said, you can't go wrong above timberline, and the Sierra offers some of the finest to be found anywhere.Nov 12, 2009 at 5:07 pm #1544889
"Any combination of trails, including PCT, around the Glacier Peak in the Glacier Peak Wilderness (WA)."
Ordinarily, I would jump to second this recommendation, but you need to be aware that many of the trails have not been maintained for several years, bridges are out, and some of the access roads are closed due to storm damage. Be sure to check with the local Forest Service or ranger station. Better yet, check at the Forest Service kiosk in the REI Flagship store in downtown Seattle. They have a log book which shows the current status of all access roads and trail conditions. If you can find something open this is, as Elena said, some of the most beautiful and remote country the Cascades have to offer, second only to the North Cascades NP, IMO.Nov 12, 2009 at 5:07 pm #1544890
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
The scenery is ever changing and fantastic. (August)
Books of interest that describe numerous ways to plan hikes of the time and distances you ask about:
Sierra South, Backcountry Trips in California's Sierra Nevada, by Kathey Morey and Mike White
John Muir Trail, by Wenck and Morey
Day and Section Hikes of the JMT by Kathleen Dodge
Sierra High Route by Steve Roper
The High Sierra: Peaks Passes Trails by R.J. Secor
People at this web site have described off trail hikes in the Sierras off of the JMT, but just hike the trail and you will see why it is the favorite of so many .
Climbing to Forester Pass, JMTNov 12, 2009 at 5:20 pm #1544893
@becklaLocale: Southern California
Although all of these off trail hikes may be cool you can always cut out a chunk of the JMT to suit your needs.
Yosemite Valley to Red's Meadows – 60 miles
Red's Meadows to Whitney Portal – about 160 miles
Bishop (South Lake) to Whitney Portal – about 100 miles
The list goes on an on… :)Nov 12, 2009 at 6:21 pm #1544902
@lenchik101Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
I completely agree, hiking in the Glacier Peak area requires a heightened level of backcountry awareness (which prompted me to join the local SAR chapter this year!). Add the ever changing weather and ferocious bugs in the early summer, and you got yourself some adventure. I still remember that dreadful 3-day hike to Napeequa valley, "trailing" through the jungle while being eaten alive by bugs after 5 applications of deet. and then trying to find where the river crossing was that was just impossibly hidden by a thick wall of bushes and marsh. Btw, we had GPS but never found it, which was just for fun, crossing wasn't in the plan. But what if it was? Going cross country in the wooded areas is very tricky and can be dangerous. I personally find all these sufferings extremely rewarding at the end, you just have to understand what you are signing up to and make sure you go with great company who is reliable, adventurous, and strong. But the rewards are great, the solitude, the meadowy flowers, the huckleberries, the turquoise glacier lakes, high passes, the wildlife…. even the rain has its charm. For true alpine adventure, nothing in the lower 48 beats Washington! (this last comment was very uninformed as I've never been to Glacier National Park which I've heard is absolutely amazing, or the Tetons, or the Yellowstone…. can only compare to CA-Sierras, but naturally, my vote goes to emerald Cascades!) .Nov 12, 2009 at 6:50 pm #1544911
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
> If you want to hike in the High Sierra, I'd recommend staying (mostly) off the JMT, and just making up your own
> adventure. It's easy to use trails to get in and out, and then just strike off across the granite above timberline.
I recommended the JMT earlier… and I still think even with all the traffic it is worth the time. But I will agree with DaveT… if you are comfortable going cross country (not everyone is) you can have a wonderful adventure in the high sierras. I am fond of Kings through Yosemite, but there are some wonderful destination north as well. I haven't spent enough time south of King's to suggest if that is as wondrous as the middle section. Some people like the Roper "trail" but it's fun to make up your one "trail" as well.
–markNov 12, 2009 at 6:54 pm #1544913
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I find it hard to believe that there are backpackers ready to descend like locusts on new destinations. And if you really want solitude, go in the shoulder seasons.
My list (in order of preference):
-Grand Canyon: Royal Arch route, then Tonto Trail to Bright Angel
-"Grand Circle +" in Glacier NP (Highline, Stoney Indian Pass, then over Ptarmigan and Piegan Passes, then a 3 mile shuttle ride (free!) back to the start) Doing this during wildflower time (early July) requires a reserved trip or flexibility. This summer a three day hole in my schedule coincided with some open campsites and I was off. Amazing trip. The GNP website has a chart of available backcountry sites for five days out that is updated daily during high season. They have the best backcountry desk in the NP system.
-Southern half of the JMT is just stunning. I really didn't mind sharing it.
-Pelican Valley-Lamar River-Specimen Ridge-Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. I haven't done this as an integral trip yet, but it's on the list.Nov 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm #1544923
I totally share your feelings about the Cascades, having climbed in them for 8 years and hiked, on and off trail for 20 or so. And the area around Glacier Peak is still my favorite to this day. I've got a couple of routes that'll stimulate your off trail appetite(I know they did mine), if you haven't already done them: 1) The Bath Lakes High Route-starts and finishes at the Sulphur Mtn TH, goes up the Sulphur Mtn trail and then cross country with intermittent boot track to Bath Lakes. From there, you're on your own to Canyon Lake, ~ 22 miles from Canyon Lake to car. Awesome scenery, strenuous, interesting route finding, it has it all. 2) Buckindy-Snow King Traverse-starts at Green Mtn fire lookout, runs ridges out and over to Mt Buckindy, on past Snow King to Cyclone Lake and out on a boot track to a fire road near Kindy Creek in the Middle Fork of the Cascade R. drainage. Scenery not quite as spectacular, but a real Cascade off trail ramble. Strenuous and very interesting route finding. The climbing register on Mt Buckindy had maybe a dozen entries when we did it in 1989. I'll bet it's still in the teens. About as remote as you'll get in the Glacier Peak wilderness.
"can only compare to CA-Sierras, but naturally, my vote goes to emerald Cascades!) ." Funny thing, for me it's the opposite, I guess because I learned backpacking in the Sierra. As much as I love the Cascades, my heart will always be in the southern Sierra. Always a transcendant experience for me. vive la difference!!Nov 12, 2009 at 7:31 pm #1544925
With your excellent physical conditioning and off trail skills, you should do some off trail routes in the Southern Sierra. Even more stunning than the JMT, guaranteed!
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