Good place for a long walk
April 1, 2006 12:49 AM   Subscribe

Where should I take a walk?

I've been wanting to do a long walk for a few years now.

The best of all trails would be about three hundred miles long, with hostels or other cheap overnight accomodations placed conveniently every ten to fifteen miles. Assuming that such an arrangement doesn't exist, I'll settle for accomodations every 50 miles, and clean water every ten or so.

This doesn't have to be a wilderness hike. A trail that followed the length of the Rhine would be wonderful. The only restriction is that I don't want to spend the bulk of my time hiking on the shoulder of highways.

Anywhere in the world is fair game, although the cheaper the better.

Suggestions?
posted by tkolar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Northern Scotland to Southern England?
posted by slater at 12:57 AM on April 1, 2006


The Appalachian Trail.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:06 AM on April 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


The Bibbulman track in Western Australia, try it from Peth to Albany. People come from all over the world to walk all or parts of it and it takes you through some amazing areas of the State. Plus it's cheap!
posted by Jubey at 1:49 AM on April 1, 2006


That would be Perth, not Peth
posted by Jubey at 1:49 AM on April 1, 2006


Long Trail in Vermont?
posted by fixedgear at 1:53 AM on April 1, 2006


The South West Coastal Walk in the UK is wonderful. Plenty of 'off road' walking that will take you through small villages, small towns, and stunning countryside.

The Youth Hostel Association has many good places to stay, cheaply along the route.

At over 600 miles long, it's a little further than you may wish to go, but you could just do the north coast part of the walk, then take the train back up!
posted by Arqa at 2:07 AM on April 1, 2006


The European Ramblers' Association mantains several long distance paths across Europe. It shouldn't be difficult to find maps and route descriptions.
posted by dhoe at 2:24 AM on April 1, 2006


The Offa's Dyke trail on the English-Welsh border.
posted by greycap at 2:36 AM on April 1, 2006


My second thought, like slater's, was Land's End to John o'Groats. That would be a pretty epic undertaking though with a high chav/Aussie backpacker ratio and shitty weather to boot. After considering all the expense and time involved it wouldn't be that different to what you already know.

For me, the quintessential walk along the lines of what you describe is this.
I live nearby and have done it with a friend by bicycle. We made a bit of a race of it and finished it in 2 weeks. I went back and round the opposite way and finished it in a week and a half. On foot is the traditional way though and would probably take about 6 weeks.

You'll see some amazing stuff and it will be an incredible cultural experience without a lot of risk. The important thing is that Shikoku has far less of us Aussies and the local species of chav are funnier and more exotic than the UK variety. Just avoid winter and typhoon season.
posted by Jenga at 2:55 AM on April 1, 2006


Have you considered New Zealand?

It's probably the most beautiful place on Earth. Long distance walking, called Tramping is an institution there and facilities are fantastic, as is everything else. The Abel-Tasman and Milford tracks are the best known, but there's an incredible amount of choice. Can't lose really.
posted by grahamwell at 3:54 AM on April 1, 2006


More on the Milford Track (is it the finest walk in the world?) and the link in there to the West Coast Trail in Canada looks interesting.

These are, however, relatively short walks. You suggest you want something more demanding. Perhaps the pilgrimage route from France to Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain? You'll have company on the route if you want it, overnight accommodation is in well-organised Refugios - Map, pictures and community.
posted by grahamwell at 4:12 AM on April 1, 2006


Seconding the Long Trail in Vermont, it meets your criteria almost perfectly. It's beautiful, and offers easy access to accomodations in nice little Vermont towns and villages.

Another possibility might be to do the Appalachian Trail from the White Mountains in New Hampshire up to Katahdin in Maine. Depending on where you start, it will probably be about 350 miles of hiking. In the Whites, you'll be able to stay in the Appalachian Mountain Club's hut system, and further along the trail passes by several towns that have good places for hikers to stay. You'll also pass through Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness, which is one of the most remote sections of the trail. You won't have access to civilization at all along this stretch, but there are shelters and campsites and plenty of people on the trail.
posted by dseaton at 5:11 AM on April 1, 2006


I wanted to hike the Appalachian trail ... until I ready Bill Bryson's book (A Walk in the Woods). I came away thinking just the last hundred miles through Maine would be nice.

My sister raved about the Cotswolds in England, hiking from one bed and breakfast to the next (this sort of thing, though she made up her own).

At the extreme end of your requirements, but in your home state, is the John Muir Trail. Extreme elevation, extreme elevation changes, extreme weather. 211 miles but you could do a chunk of it that begins (or ends) in Yosemite.

More rugged and not at all safe anymore but inspiring in that makes-you-want-to-take-a-long-walk kind of way is the Darien Gap: 125 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific through Panama and Colombia.

More inspirational reading: Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker and The Man Who Walked Through Time.
posted by zanni at 5:16 AM on April 1, 2006


You can do a tiny chunk of the 18,078km long Trans Canada Trail. Or you can do the walk of life, yeah you do the walk of life.
posted by furtive at 6:32 AM on April 1, 2006


didn't vacapinta ask something similar way back?

here you go.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:53 AM on April 1, 2006


A friend of mine recently walked most of the California Coastal Trail. If you're a walking enthusiast you may be interested in Rebecca Solnit's excellent book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking.
posted by trip and a half at 8:44 AM on April 1, 2006


How about the Pennine Way? It's one of the most popular walks in the world and has an established set of places to stay. It also has some of the best views in the whole of the United Kingdom. It goes from Southern Scotland to the Midlands of England (although I think most people walk it from England to Scotland). There's tons of resources about walking it here on the net including some travelogues.
posted by wackybrit at 8:51 AM on April 1, 2006


Romania. (Stunning landscapes, and it's quite cheap.) Sorry I can't recommend any particular routes, but you can probably find what you're looking for in Transylvania.
posted by xanthippe at 9:13 AM on April 1, 2006


Wow, thanks for all the suggestions folks. AskMeFi comes through again.

Off to do a lot of research now....
posted by tkolar at 9:29 AM on April 1, 2006


A trail that followed the length of the Rhine would be wonderful.

And it does indeed exist! After the UNESCO declared the Upper Middle Rhine Valley a world heritage site, the German states Northrhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate cooperated to create the Rheinsteig between Bonn (German's former capital) and Wiesbaden, which was opened recently. (Coincidentally, I just went for a walk there earlier today, near the Loreley.)

The Rheinsteig is about 320 km (200 miles) long and offers accomodation every couple of miles in nearby towns, villages and cities. Access to the Rheinsteig is easy, there are trains several times an hour on both sides of the Rhine, and paths that lead from the river to the Rheinsteig are well marked, as is the Rheinsteig itself.

Having lived on the Rhine for almost nine years now (seven in Bonn, two at the Upper Middle Rhine Valley), I highly recommend the area because the scenery is very beautiful; the Rheinsteig offers great views over the River, the vineyards and the towns along the way.

If you'd like more info, let me know in the comments here and I'll send you an e-mail.
posted by amf at 10:00 AM on April 1, 2006


Vienna to Prague via the Czech Greenway.
posted by nicwolff at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2006


You might consider the 88-temple Shikoku pilgrimage. The whole thing is more than twice as long as your "ideal" but you could do it in sections.
posted by sennoma at 5:24 PM on April 1, 2006


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