Thru-Hiker's Guide to America
Excerpted from Thru Hiker's Guide to America by E. Schlimmer
America's classic through-hiking trailsthe Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest trailsstand at the pinnacle of the long-distance hiker's ambition. However, not all of us have six months or more to take off on such Herculean adventures, nor the hardwired devotion to tackling such monumental 2,000-mile challenges.
Here, we bring you seven trails from around the country within easier reach for the backpacker looking to go long. Handpicked by trail guru E. Schlimmer to be hit in one to eight weeks (so as not to make your boss label you MIAMissing in Appalachia), find yourself the wilderness, scenery, and triple-digit trail miles you've been dreaming of.
Wonderland Trail (Washington)
A 95-mile scenic stunner that can be hiked in a loop in less than a week, best tackled July to October. Only danger is you'll develop a crick admiring Mount Rainier to your left (or right) as you wend your way around.
John Muir Trail (California)
Playing host to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, this 220-mile route traverses stunning alpine scenery, including the Lower 48's highest point, Mount Whitney. Best tackled July to October, expect to complete in 17 days at 13 miles a day.
Superior Trail (Minnesota)
A little-known gem threading the shores of Lake Superior, traipse 225 miles through varied terrain including hardwood forest, bogs, and lakes. Budget for 16 days to complete through-hike at a pace of 15 miles per day.
Ouachita Trail (Arkansas-Oklahoma)
Passing through Ouachita National Forest, expect spring wildflowers, fall colors, and undulating rock-strewn inclines on this 225-mile, 16-day hike. Better still, you'll pretty much have the place to yourself.
Mountains-to-Sea Trail (North Carolina)
Mountains to the back of you, ocean to the front, and here you are... Stuck in the middle of a 925-mile, state-width monster. Budget up to 60 days to complete; expect the experience of a lifetime.
Tuscarora Trail (Virginia-West Virginia-Maryland-Pennsylvania)
Enjoy the same ridgeline hiking so enjoyed by AT through-hikers on a 250-mile jaunt along some of the Mid-Atlantic's prettiest terrain. Hikable April to November, expect to complete in 18 days at a pace of 14 miles per day.
Cohos Trail (New Hampshire)
Commune with moose, black bears, snowshoe hares, and a wonderful wilderness setting along a 160-mile trail that should take about 11 days to complete. Hiking season is June to September.
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Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication