Step by step
April 7, 2009 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest some good multi-day hiking routes?

If I had anywhere from a week to a month off of work and wanted to be able to hike all day, stay somewhere at night, then get up and keep going the next morning, where are some of the best places to go? I'd probably lean more toward routes that would have places for me to sleep and buy food from time to time like the Camino, instead of places where I needed to pack along everything I'd need to survive, but I'm open to all suggestions.

Places that would be good to hike alone and are cheap to travel to from the middle of the US are great too, but no suggestion will go unconsidered. I like the idea through-hiking more than staying in one place and doing day hikes for the sense of accomplishment inherent in being able to point to a map and say I walked from *here* to *here*.
posted by MsMolly to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
If you're into more adventurous and historical hikes, the Inca Trail is a pretty awesome choice. I actually just came back from doing this two weeks ago, and it was great fun.

There are longer itineraries possible, but the four day hike is the most popular choice, and is quite a feat to be proud of when finished. There are places to buy items for the first two days, and you camp outside every night except the last.

You can fly pretty cheaply through LAN from the U.S. to Lima; I did JFK->LIM for about $400 when I went. Search the Peru forums on tripadvisor for details.
posted by gushn at 8:26 PM on April 7, 2009

Best answer: I know you said US but I'm throwing it in anyway because it was amazing: 14-day Coast-to-Coast walk of England. There are dozens of such walks in GB.
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:30 PM on April 7, 2009

A few:

Any part of the Appalachian Trail
The Long Trail
John Muir Trail
posted by meta87 at 8:31 PM on April 7, 2009

The West Coast Trail is pretty good. It's 77 kilometers over very rough terrain and takes a week with a full backpack, but you could do it in 2-3 days with an ultralight pack and plan to buy food from the locals.
posted by Phssthpok at 8:47 PM on April 7, 2009

New Zealand has an excellent network of hiking trails with cabins to stay in along the way. A bit expensive to fly down there, but some of the most beautiful and safest places on Earth to hike.
posted by paperzach at 9:00 PM on April 7, 2009

Maybe you could do a stretch of back-country road somewhere that has a lot of smaller towns along it.

Or, follow the superior trail for awhile, there are quite a few towns along the route
posted by Think_Long at 9:09 PM on April 7, 2009

Seconding the Superior Trail.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:03 PM on April 7, 2009

The Appalachian Mountain Club has a system of huts and lodges that would probably interest you -
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:24 PM on April 7, 2009

I'd highly recommend the Northern California stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail. Alternatively, Yosemite has some great multi-day / thru-hiking options as well as at least a couple dozen options for day hikes, and places to stay / buy food for the latter group.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:35 PM on April 7, 2009

Best answer: Not sure about cheap access from the middle of the US, but the Tour du Mont Blanc and Haute Route in the French/Swiss Alps are both about 2 week long hikes that can be done without huge amounts of gear, passing through towns and villages to sleep (either in hotels, hostels, B&Bs or camping) and buy food. The West Highland Way in the Scottish Highlands is pretty similar.

Again probably not cheap access for the US, but the hiking trails in New Zealand mentioned by paperzach above are also great. They have a series of Great Walks which all have amazingly good/comfortable cabins which provide sleeping and cooking gear (although you have to carry the food, as none will pass through any towns).
posted by garth at 10:47 PM on April 7, 2009

I've always wanted to walk the Pennine Way . It's not as remote as some of the other walks suggested but it's a beautiful part of the world.
posted by fshgrl at 11:30 PM on April 7, 2009

The North Country National Scenic Trail runs through seven states and is managed by the National Park Service.
posted by various at 11:53 PM on April 7, 2009

A note on the West Coast Trail: it is supposed to be a great hiking trail. So great, in fact, that (at least about 10 years ago) you had to pay $100 to go in, and you might have to wait around (they were controlling crowds).

And you cannot buy food from the locals - it is a week long trail with only about one settlement for the whole of it. It is very tough - you don't want to do it alone, or without experience. I actually chose not to go on the West Coast Trail after I got to Port Renfrew because I realised that it wouldn't be safe to do alone.

There is a nearby trail which is easier, though not very well designed (it goes up and down and up and down and doesn't have that many great views for all that up and down, but it does have a sweet emergency shelter where I once met some really good-looking role-players...)

I understand the desire to walk from one place to another - that's what I was doing in BC (walking from one end of Vancouver Island to the other). I only did it for about 10 weeks, but if you want advice on long-distance walking/hiking, feel free to email.

But I'm curious - were you planning to camp? Or wanting to find actual indoors places to stay? Camping can be done, even when you don't find official sites, but then you would want to avoid trails that run through heavily settled farmland (like parts of Ontario's Bruce Trail). (I really want to hike Britain, but I think I need to get more chutspah about asking farmers to borrow the corner of pasture or something because its so much more densely settled than Northern Ontario or rural BC.)
posted by jb at 12:42 AM on April 8, 2009

I'm sorry - you did say that you would rather have places to stay. I think that's rarer in North America than it is in Europe (because of the distances), but there may be some. Not in BC, or really in Ontario that I can think of.

(I met someone who hiked Cyprus, staying a different hotel everynight - actually, their luggage was moved for them, as the trails were too narrow for packs).
posted by jb at 12:48 AM on April 8, 2009

Camino de Santiago; use the google to find plenty of links in english.
posted by adamvasco at 2:56 AM on April 8, 2009

See also this previous question, including my suggestion therein.
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2009

For rugged beauty and the ability to escape the crowds that stay on the roads, I have enjoyed hiking the Grand Canyon and Big Bend in Texas.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 7:17 AM on April 8, 2009

If I read this correctly, you are not talking about backpacking, you are talking about dayhiking with a prepared destination at each waypoint, correct?
Glacier NP in Montana (and Alberta) has cabins along some of its magnificent trails, but some self-sufficiency is required. There are also trails in the Canadian Rockies NP's that have tea houses or somesuch along the route. North America is not set up for this kind of thing, really, but many of the great hiking NP's offer a month's worth of in and out hikes you could do from a few basecamps or lodges rather than a point to point chain.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:14 AM on April 8, 2009

Best answer: The Wonderland trail is a 93-mile loop around Mt. Rainier in Washington offers gorgeous views of glaciers, wildflower meadows, forests, volcanic geology, the Cascades and Puget Sound, as well as vigorous hiking. Lots of stream and river crossings, some by suspension bridge, most by logs or small bridges. Rustic cabins that you can camp in at a few points. My wife and I did the hike at a leisurely pace (11 days) several years ago, and had a wonderful time - without a doubt the hiking trip of our lives so far.

There are several access points for supply drops so you are only carrying 3-4 days of rations at a time. You can buy all your supplies ahead of time and mail them to the drop points, or drive them around, or get friends to meet you. You can even stay in a hotel for a night (or more) at Longmire if a mid-trip break is in order.

The trail was heavily damaged in severe flooding back in 2006, but I believe its been repaired and reopened. Worth confirming though. You'll also want to plan ahead, as it can be tough to get campsite reservations for each night of the trip.
posted by rube goldberg at 12:11 PM on April 8, 2009

I've looked for this and the closest one I've seen in the US to the camino is lodges on the superior hiking trail.
posted by ejaned8 at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2009

It's not super long, but the Northville-Lake Placid trail through the Adirondacks is super enjoyable.
posted by stefnet at 4:41 PM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: These are some great suggestions, and thanks for the links to previous threads with additional ideas!
posted by MsMolly at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2009

posted by Taurid at 3:37 PM on April 9, 2009

« Older Laptop stores in Sweden?   |   Levemir for diabetes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.