Nov 6, 2013 at 11:37 am #1309538
A friend and myself are looking for a hike as the title above states (challenging and scenic 75-150 mile hike). Looking to go some time next summer (he is a teacher so some time from June to August). We considered doing as much of the JMT as we can but I prefer to actually complete something (either loop or thru-hike). Wanting to stay in the US and interested in what some of the best of the best in that mile range is.Nov 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm #2041849
@jlistLocale: Cape Cod
Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier.
Very scenic. About 93 miles.
Camping only at designated sites, permit required.
End of August/early Sept best, when snow has mostly melted.Nov 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm #2041852
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
The Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in WA state is a 90 mile loop hike.
Although slightly more than your upper limit, the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is a perfect loop. Do it yourself or the TRTA offers 2 or 3 guided, fully supported thru-hikes every summer. See http://www.tahoerimtrail.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=358&Itemid=302Nov 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm #2041857
NH section of the AT would be pretty challenging if you're not used to White Mountains style hiking.. 160mi from VT border to ME border.Nov 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm #2041970
Boundary Trail in the Pasayten Wilderness. Over 100 miles of some of the most scenic wilderness in the country (I'm a tad bias!), very few people, limitless side trips/variations.Nov 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm #2042691
@jcar3305Locale: East of Cascades
Ozzy, tell me more about this trail. Doing a search I have found more than one start and stopping points. What is the 'classic' version of the trail? I might try it next year. I am looking for 3 different trails next year near 100 miles. I am putting in for the Wonderland again (did it in Sept this year) and might go longer for one of the trips and do the Tahoe Rim Trail but this would make a nice 3rd trip as well. What can you tell me?Nov 9, 2013 at 6:46 am #2042776
I know you said you prefer to complete something, but, the JMT from Onion Valley north to Reds Meadow is absolutely beautiful and 125 miles.
Getting a permit for Onion Valley is very easy, much easier than the lottery for Whitney or standing in line at Yosemite.
Finishing at Reds gives you a nice place to hang around in Mammoth at the end of your trip.
… and completing something is just relative to your definition. You will have completed an amazing trip.Nov 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm #2042900
One thing I like about hiking is the solitude and the idea of designated camp sites doesn't excite me. How 'crowded' would it be in say, August, if we select our sites carefully? Maybe doing 15-20 miles per days.Nov 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm #2042935
@dlcrandallLocale: North Cascades
Most people go in at the Iron Gate trailhead (terrible road to get in there) up Toats Coulee Creek west of Loomis. From there it is about 95 miles to Harts Pass campground on the PCT. If you want, you can hike and camp off-trail as much as you want the first couple of days– it's wide open country, and very few people.
If you like to fish, take fly rod for Cathedral Lake.
Dale CNov 10, 2013 at 11:37 am #2043046
Here are two ideas —
(1) North Cascades NP: E to W traverse, starting at Little Beaver Creek trailhead on Ross Lake (reached by boat taxi), then thru Beaver Creek valley to reach about 50 switchbacks going up to Whatcom Pass, then down the other side of Whatcom Pass to Chilliwack River valley, then back up to and along the Copper Ridge crest to reach Hannegan Pass, ultimately exiting at Hannegan Pass trailhead.
Only about 50 miles, but spectacular. Long time ago, we did it in two halves, one 50 mile roundtrip to half-way across from the east, with a later 50 mile roundtrip half-way across from the west (missed out on Copper Ridge, though, darn it).
Doing it in halves ended up doubling the total distance versus doing a single traverse. So guess doing the "two-halves" option would give you the hundred miles you want — and avoid arranging a shuttle, too. ;)
Here's a report by someone for the whole traverse —
(2) Wind River Range: Highline Trail from Green Lakes trailhead, going south along the crest of the range, exiting at Big Sandy trail head about 80 miles later.
This one's on my personal list for the future. Here's a great trip report of this hike by Kris Sherwood from a few months ago here on BPL —Nov 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm #2043057
@bookLocale: Northern California
All of the PNW suggestions so far are excellent. Let me add Glacier Peak wilderness area. Take the boat up Lake Chelan and start at Holden; or, if you want to add miles, start out of Stehekin. You can string together a lot of trails with the sort of miles that you're talking about. More wilderness solitude that Mt. Rainier for sure. However, having grown up in the PNW, and always pooh-poohing Mt. Rainier in favor of the more northern Cascades, I must say that I was wrong. When I finally hiked around Mt.Rainier-after moving to California–I realized how spectacular it really is. My advice would be to not worry about sharing campsites with people on this trail. The rest of the experience more than makes up for this.
That being said, Glacier Peak is flat out spectacular too. short season though!Nov 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm #2043869
Rainier and North Cascades Park traverse are excellent, however I'll stick to my Pasayten suggestion because of logistical ease. No permits, no quotas, no parking fees (forest pass I guess, but that's only a few bucks). Just less hassle, more options.
If you do the NCNP traverse, let me suggest
1- Do not skip the Copper Ridge section. Egg Lake and Selesia camps are great. Don't skip Hannegan Peak either, it's fantastic.
2- Plan for an extra night at Tapto Lakes along Whatcom Pass
3- Go w -> e, and head down Big Beaver to Ross Lake and take a swim, then picked up on hwy 20. Saves cash by skipping boat shuttle, and gives you a day of hiking along the lake, not to mentions some spectacular old growth along Big Beaver Creek.Nov 22, 2013 at 6:37 am #2047114
If you consider the Wind River Range,
The "Wind River High Route" would be better than the poorly named Highline Trail, since that trail doesn't really go high.
The Wind River High Route is in my opinion, mile for mile, the finest non-technical Alpine route in North America. It stays close to the crest of the Continental Divide in one of the most rugged and glaciated mountain ranges in the lower 48. The route is thrilling and the scenery spectacular.
has a complete guide with maps, waypoints, shuttle info, etc.
You could easily extend this route to be in the 100-150 mile range if you so desired. -alanNov 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm #2047254
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"(1) North Cascades NP: E to W traverse, starting at Little Beaver Creek trailhead on Ross Lake (reached by boat taxi), then thru Beaver Creek valley to reach about 50 switchbacks going up to Whatcom Pass, then down the other side of Whatcom Pass to Chilliwack River valley, then back up to and along the Copper Ridge crest to reach Hannegan Pass, ultimately exiting at Hannegan Pass trailhead.
Only about 50 miles, but spectacular."
If you want to extend your trip a bit, re cross the Chilliwack about 1.5 miles north of where you start heading up to Hannegan Pass, and head up the strenuous climbers' trail to Easy Ridge. From there you can follow an easier trail south along the ridge to a chasm aptly named Perfect Impass. You will be rewarded with absolutely spectacular views of Baker/Shuksan to the West, and North Cascade vistas to the East, along with terrific views of the Central Cascades to the South. Most will turn around here but, if you are feeling frisky, descend along the north side of the chasm about 1500' to where the chasm is crossable and scramble up the other side to Perfect Pass, on the edge of the Challenger Glacier. More awesome views, and a good place to camp, ideal for a memorable sunset over Baker/Shuksan.
If you do the whole package you will have lengthened your trip by 10-12 miles and acquired a tale to tell your grandchildren. ;0) It really is a spectacular side trip, if you are fit and accustomed to a small bit of Class3-4 scrambling going up to Perfect Pass. Up to Perfect Impass is just hiking, albeit a bit strenuous getting up onto Easy Ridge.Nov 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm #2047256
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Check out the trail reports at WTA.ORG. Likewise for other Washington destinations. Lots of good and free info: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/boundary-trail-1
The Mountaineers' book, "Best Loop Hikes: Washington" (ISBN-13: 978-0898868661) is a good armchair guide to hikes like you want.Nov 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm #2047302
I haven't seen any mention of the Big Seki Loop. It's a 152 mile loop hike and although it covers a portion of the JMT it mostly follows much less popular ares including much of the Circle of Solitude, the High Sierra Trail and a short section of the Sierra High Route. There are several ways to tailor the loop to your timeline or daily mileage preference. It can easily be lengthened with amazing side trips or shortened by taking alternate routes. It usually starts at Roads End but there a few other places to join the loop, like over Kearsarge Pass or Taboose Pass etc. I prefer the big mountain vistas and high passes typical of the southern Sierra and this loop delivers. Forester Pass 13,200 ft, Colby Pass 12,000 ft, Elizabeth Pass 11,400 ft, Granite Pass 10,600 ft, Kaweah Gap 10,400 ft, Mather, Pinchot &Glen Pass all around 12,000 feet. Here is the link:Nov 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm #2047309
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"It can easily be lengthened with amazing side trips or shortened by taking alternate routes"
+1 Spend a couple hours with the relevant maps and, with a little imagination, you can get into some really beautiful areas with just a little off trail hiking from the Big SEKI Loop. It really does take you through the best of the Sierra, IMO.Nov 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm #2048018
@drongobirdLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Back to the original post — Joe, can you be a little more specific about what you mean by "challenging"? Are you talking about off-trail, and if so let us know whether you're comfortable on class 3, tough class 2, or just class 1 and easy class 2 routes. Or do you want to stay on trails? Or are you thinking of taking a rope and including class 4 and very easy class 5?
If you're comfortable off trail and have the skills to deal with tough class-2 or class-3 terrain, then Alan and Don's Wind River route is an option. Obviously, Roper's Sierra High Route is a good choice. The season is wrong, but any of Steve Allen's "Canyoneering 2, Technical Loop Hikes in Southern Utah" are great.
If you plan to go off-trail in the Sierra, you'll want to get a copy of RJ Secor's book to help you plan your route.Nov 26, 2013 at 8:31 am #2048226
I think for this trip we are wanting to stay on trail. Love all of the suggestions and giving me a great deal to think about. I hate the idea of mandated campsites for some reason so these last few suggestions are going to put me on a new path of research. Wish there was more in the midwest area…even CO is is a heck of a drive…AT and CO are both 12+ hours from here.Nov 26, 2013 at 9:42 am #2048249
@drongobirdLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Joe – that puts it in perspective. Since most CONUS trail hiking is fairly easy (assuming basic fitness), I think that what you mean by challenging is that it would be a fairly long distance without resupply.
"I prefer to actually complete something (either loop or thru-hike)" You might consider dropping that idea. In Europe there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of named trails of 75-150 miles, so it makes sense to think about completing something. But in the US, the vast majority of wilderness areas have a network of trail segments that are not organized into a single named trail. Since many people like "named trails", those tend to get all the attention and are therefore more crowded — John Muir Trail, High Sierra Trail, Colorado Trail, Wonderland Trail, etc.
Of the alpine areas, I'm most familiar with the Sierra range. The best part of the range is between Mono Recesses (Italy Pass area) and Cottonwood Pass. Just put together any loop, or one way hike (by hitching to/from highway 395 on the east side), and you'll be a happy hiker. Optimize your route to spend as much time above 10,000 feet as you can. Don't hesitate to plan a trail distance that's shorter than your total trip and then spend some time exploring off-trail. Going just 1/2 mile off trail gives you access to a lifetime supply of beautiful places. If you decide to go to the Sierra, then you need three things to plan your trip: RJ Secor's "The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails", and two Trail's Illustrated overview maps – #205 and #809. Or, if you really want a single "just go here" answer, then the Big SEKI Loop would be an option.
Obviously, the Rockies (MT, WY, CO) has plenty of good hiking at half the driving distance from KC (12 hours instead of 24 hours). I can't help with specific recommendations there.
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