Trail Suggestion

11:44 a.m. on October 21, 2012 (EDT)
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My husband and I are looking for a trail to hike that will take between 1-2 weeks.  We have thought about doing part of the AT but were wondering if there were any good trails that we could complete in that amount of time.  Any suggestions would be GREAT!!

11:51 a.m. on October 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Welcome to Trailspace ibdawnk.

Any part of the country in particular you are looking at? I noticed you referenced the AT so I am thinking the eastern side of the country?

Are you concentrating on a section of the AT alone or are you possibly interested in other trails as well?

2:32 p.m. on October 21, 2012 (EDT)
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If you want to branch out in other parts of USA, there are spectacular hikes that need 10 days+ to do it right. 

Eastern California, High Sierra Trail either way  Crescent Meadows in Sequoia NP to Mount Whitney.  It is a 7-10 day trip through some of the most awesome high mountain scenery in the world.  Except for having packers bring extra food in, it is a non supported 80+ mile trip ranging from around 7,000' to the highest spot in lower 49. 
Easily extended to as many days that you have energy and inclination - especially the Upper Kern River Basin.  You would need a shuttle car or another hiker group going opposite way to trade cars.  Two cars would make the connection easier.

There are other loops in the high eastern Sierra (along US-395 from Lone Pine to Bridgeport) that could easily be from 3 to 14 days or several 3-5 day lollypops staying in civilized digs in Independence, Bishop or Mammonth in between to clean up and regroup without a car shuttle.  

July/Aug is prime time for most.  Now would be a good time to plan wilderness permits for the adventure.

COLORADO has too many trails to pick favorites including portions of the Continental Divide Trail, or into specific high Rocky Mountain areas for 5-20 day trips that bring you back to your car.

6:04 p.m. on October 28, 2012 (EDT)
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We live in the midwest but would rather hike somewhere where we can find different scenery.  We would travel wherever we needed.  We have family and friends all over the country.  


11:04 a.m. on October 29, 2012 (EDT)
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If you live in the Midwest, I would suggest going West for your journey.  Just make sure you give yourselves some time to adjust to the altitude before starting out in places like the Rockies.  Every western state has some great long distance hikes, they just aren't very well known.  I will keep it that way by naming any of them.

1:40 p.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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How midwestern than southern Illinois. The River to River through the Shawnee National Park system may be just the trail to make anyone proud. It may be a very challenging trek for the advanced lest the adventurous and I plan to do the trek early next year myself as I want to beat the bugs out through the woods.

6:39 p.m. on November 10, 2012 (EST)
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Not knowing how fast you want to hike its hard to name a trail for a specific time. If you guys move along, maybe the long trail in vermont. Its pretty well maintained as it gets dual maintenance a lot of times. Decent shelters if bad weather moves in and lots of scenery.

12:55 p.m. on December 13, 2012 (EST)
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The Wonderland Trail around Rainier is aptly named. You won't find many lakes, and complete seclusion but the rest of the trip makes up for any of those kinds of disappointments.  Spectacular vistas of Rainier - given it is good weather.  August is usually the 'dry season' but the mountain is so massive, it makes its own weather.

Best in late part of summer as there could be, depending upon the winter,  deep snow on the trail getting into Summer Land.  The last time we did it was over Labor Day and it was a bit dicey in that one spot.  Only a bit of mist one day, the remainder of the trip was spectacular.   Unless you are a purest, the portion between Longmire and Nickle Creek could be skipped (if you wanted to shorted the trip).   That portion of the trail is the least 'wilderness' portion as the trail as it parallels the road.  I think the counterclockwise way is the better trail by a small margin.  Both ways are uphill all the way anyway. I think there is about 26,000' elevation gain over the 93+ miles. It is undulating. 

You can cache food at Sunrise on the east and Mowich on the west. Just make sure the containers are vermin proof.  You have to your homework before requesting one of a limited set of permits.  You must stay at the camping sites you specifiy (from a limited set).  They have done an excellent job in preserving the area by controlling the number of back packing visitors.  They pack out all human waste so you can't do as bears do but at the many (and sometimes picturesque) places they provide near camping areas.

This trail should be on anybody's list of things to do and see.  Late August early September will provide you with exaggerated displays of flowers and abundant supplies of huckleberries along the eastern side. Bring lots of batteries and 'chips' (or film if you haven't changed from Kodak yet).  A tripod is recommended on most of the north and west side as you are in deep, deep old (OLD) forest that has duff on the trail that is probably older than 1000 years old and little sunlight getting though hundreds of feet tall fir.

There is plenty of ground water available along with a bazillion bridges that you cross - each is different.  An interesting take away would be a picture of each.  They do become part of this trail that you would not see on many other trails. The last big bridge (going CCW) is a long suspension that a sign suggests only one of you at a time should be on the bridge at the same time - unless you like adventure.

There are a dozen trees, hand full of shrubs and maybe 100 different flowers, but there are what seem to be thousands of different kinds of fungi and molds.  Find a book on Rainier area mushrooms if you are at all looking down and curious.,-121.75220&z=12&t=T

If I were to do it again, it would be much more leisurely taking a two weeks on each of the three major sections.  So much to see and do off trail, if you don't mind climbing over/under large logs and spending time on glaciers.

4:19 p.m. on December 13, 2012 (EST)
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The TCT (Teton Crest Trail) in Grand Teton National Park is nice. I have lived and worked in Jackson Hole the last 30 summers and often hike this trail. It has many spendid views with high Alpine lakes, mountain goats, deer, Elk, Hoary Marmots, Big Horn Sheep, wolverines,ground and tree squirrels, chipmonks, etc. The trail is about 65 miles in length and is easily accessed from either end. The highest elevation point is 11,400 feet behind Grand Teton, the upper end of the trail starts at String Lake at about 6500 feet the lower end ist at about 9800 feet.

Best time to hike is between Memorial Day and labor Day tho so years you can get on it earlier and stay later depending on the warmth of spring and the beginning of fall/winter.

Once on the main section of the trail above 10,000 feet its rather gentle and easy hiking. The beginnings are where the trail climbs the quickest at either end.

3:32 p.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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More detail on the Sierra. The Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail bisect the Sierra north and south.  Access to the PCT/JMT is provided by many eastern and a few western approaches.  Some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in America is located in the Sierra...much of it over 10,000'.  11 of the 13 fourteen thousand foot peaks are in the Sierra (White Mountain is a few miles to the east of Mt. Whitney and Shasta is in the Cascades. These high peaks are near the trails described below.  The west side of the Sierra have long approaches to the high Sierra from lower altitude.  The eastern side have short (usually 6-8mile) approaches to a pass that leads over the 'backbone'.  The eastern trails start much higher than the western side - up to 10,500' for the trail head at Horseshoe Meadows out of Lone Pine.

Eastern (US-395).  Almost every town and wide spot on the hiway has road access to a trail head that leads over a pass to the PCT/JMT which is a main connector link to most of the trails into the National Parks (Mineral King, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite).

LONE PINE is the entry to Cottonwood Lakes as well as another road up to Whitney Portal and thence to Mt Whitney.  From Cottonwood Lakes you have access to one of the easiest 14r in the state- Mt Langley.  Cottonwood Pass is a lower pass to the south that connects up with the trail over the higher Army Pass/Mt Langley and down Rock Creek to the Miter and upper alpine lakes.  Rock Creek joins the PCT for a northern trek all the way to Canada - if you have the spare time.  More importantly it stitches together many feeder trails to lead up higher to the east and west.,-118.20345&z=14&t=T

The Miter is to the west of Mt Langley at the head waters of Rock Creek.  The PCT is down Rock Creek.  Mt Whitney is to the north.,-118.28602&z=14&t=T

West of Mt Whitney is the trail leading in from the JMT.  Whitney Portal is to the east.

INDEPENDENCE has two passes of note.  One is Shepherds Pass (12,000') starting around 6,000' and an invigorating walk up close to  Mt Tyndall and Mt Williamson (2nd highest in Calif) off to south of the trail. It is my most favorite late spring day hike up to snow level at Anvil Camp.  Glorious waterfalls from 12,000 cliffs, Tydall and Williamson doing a slow strip tease as you walk up... but I digress,-118.31494&z=14&t=T

Continuing on over the pass you connect up with the JMT/PCT that will get you back to Cottonwood Lakes to the south.  You would now be in one of the more awesome areas of the Sierra - the High Sierra and the head waters of the Kern River.,-118.38953&z=14&t=T

Off to the west from here are cross country passes and views looking down into the eastern Sierra. Continuing north on the JMT over 13,200' Forester Pass (some really REALLY wow! views here) and down through Vidette Meadows will get you to the other trail over Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley (just west of Independence) a popular trail head.,-118.36601&z=14&t=T

From Horseshoe Meadows to Onion Valley would be a 5+ day trip, depending upon how curious you are and how much energy you still have to visit some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. You would have to work a way out to retrieve your car.  Hitch hiking works well, but chancy on the way up to Horseshoe.  Would be better to drop people at Horseshoe Meadows take the car back to Onion (so it will be there when you get off the trip) and then one of you hitchhike (or pay the driver to take you the 26 miles from Lone Pine to the meadows)

The only loop in this area that is easier to get permits for would be over Kearsarge and down Shepherd.  Walk the 3 miles to the road and an easy hitch up to the car at Onion Valley.  You could spend time from Kearsarge Lakes north to Rae Lakes over Glen Pass and back then continue south to the Kern River Basin and explore the Wright and Wallace Lakes to the east of the Bighorn Plateau.  Catch Mt Tyndall on the way over Shepherd (access to Williamson is closed in the summer)

This would be a strenuous trip if you do it too fast.  It is all at altitude above 9,000'.  But you could make as many days as you would have energy for.

You could continue North for a very long haul to just west of Bishop Pass. You could escape out over Saw Mill Pass (ugh),-118.35588&z=14&t=T

or over Taboose Pass (double Ugh),-118.40086&z=14&t=T

BIG PINE a nice overnight or more just to see a large concentration of 14ers.  Up to Big Pine Lakes and the largest glacier in Calif.  you could spend a couple of days taking pictures here.  Trail starts near Glacier Lodge and returns - no pass here.,-118.48343&z=14&t=T

BISHOP has several passes out that you can make a 5+ day trip out on North Lake (for example) and back at South Lake, having worked out transportation between trail heads with the people at Parchers Camp (call ahead).  South Lake is the trailhead to Bishop Pass one of my favorite day hikes especially in late Spring.,-118.53261&z=14&t=T

(South Lake is to the northwest just off the map).  Bishop Pass is at bottom of map. Continuing over the pass down through beautiful Dusy Lakes Basin, you are on the other side of the 14ers you saw out of Big Pine Lakes.  A nice cross country pass, Knapsack Pass is a good day hike if you stay at the Lakes in Dusy Basin.  You could continue down to Le Conte Canyon.

If you are still continuing North from Cottonwood Lakes or Kearsarge you could end it here and catch a ride back down to Lone Pine and get a ride back up to your car. 

OR, leave from North Lake (just east of the map shown) going over Piute Pass to the tremendous scenery of Humphrys Basin.,-118.67260&z=14&t=T

Then when you get jaded with that wonderful lake country head down hill to Evolution Valley picking up the JMT and south over Muir Pass to Le Conte Canyon then catch up with Dusy Basin Trail and your car at South Lake.


Western Sierra

To be continued....

There is mining railroading and ancient civilization history up and down US 395.  Most of the western's made during between 20-50's were made just west of Lone Pine.  There is the Laws Railroad Musuem in Bishop and ghost towns galore including Bodie - a state park.  If you get a book on the ghost towns and mining in the area, you could spend years hiking up to old delapidated mining boom towns.

11:38 a.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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Nice list but you are giving away too many local spots.  I just tell people that the hiking around here is not very good and that they should look somewhere else.

11:38 a.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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Nice list but you are giving away too many local spots.  I just tell people that the hiking around here is not very good and that they should look somewhere else.

7:18 p.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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ppine.  Yep.. I tried that for the longest time and then people started following me.  That wasn't so bad, but then I had to tell all my lies all over again around the camp at night.  They didn't believe me about the beautiful cirque nestled up against a 14,000' peak just outside of Connecticut and why would anybody want to see the Sierra - way over there on the other coast?!  Stay with the awesome 'green tunnels' where it is low enuf to still some oxygen.

Fortunately "Everybody" knows about these spots... at least that seems the reason for trail head entry restriction. There are sooo many more places that are not especially tied to the JMT/PCT -- that are also not very interesting.  Ho humm.  What with those Wilderness area restrictions and such.

I can't wait for mail from Colorado when I start referring to my old hiking logs.  Now THERE are some really REALLY boring places. 

Nope, not a lot in Colorado either, or Wyoming come to think of it.  I wonder if I should mention that really long (boooringg) walk along the ridge of the Olympic Peninsula.  Naaaaaa....

But British Colombia has some nice places - if you like snow above 6,000'. Used to be the exchange rate was exciting enough to get up there.  So, now I'd guess not a lot of reasons left.

Hope to catch you up there sometime ppine.  We can trade fabrications, prevarications and just outright Tom foolery.


Pssst... shhhhh.  Those are just bait so they'd leave the rest of the places alone.

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