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  1. #1

    Default Help on picking a trail

    Hi,

    Coming from the UK I don't have a great deal of background knowledge about US beyond a deep fascination with the PCT and interest in the AZT.

    I'm hoping to come to the US next year for a long distance hike and I'd like advice from the community on a hike that may most closely match my wishlist.

    These are the things that I would be looking for the most:-

    1. A hike of around 200 miles but this does not need to be the whole length of a trail.
    2. Experience desert type landscapes, as we don't have anything like this in the UK.
    3. Way marked. I'm an experienced navigator but I don't like to work too hard on that on a long hike.4. Water. I'm concerned about water after reading a couple of books on the AZT.
    5. Resupply, I'm not keen on the idea of hitching into towns so resupply on or near trail would be good.

    Any suggestions on trails or times of year you think may be suitable. Perhaps a southbound section of the PCT later in the autumn for example.

    Thanks Alan.

  2. #2
    Garlic
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    Maybe the PCT in southern Oregon, late summer? Access and resupply may be harder than you'd like. Water and navigation should be manageable.

    It's hard to think of an easy desert hike. My own introductions to desert hiking were with some local knowledge and vehicle support. My NOBO PCT thru hike had trail angels stocking water caches.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  3. #3
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    Do you have one or more specific months in mind? When you hike could be pertinent to your choice of trails. If you will be coming to the USA during the summer months, consider possibly getting your desert experience by car camping and taking short day hikes in one or two arid areas (Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Brice Canyon, and Zion Canyon National Parks are among may possibilities.). Then, other possibilities do a 150 + mile continuous walk at a different location such as, for example, the easily resupplied northern 2/3 of California's John Muir Trail.

    Coming from the UK, you may possibly not yet be fully cognizant of either how much of a hassle carrying large amounts of water can be, nor appreciative of how brutal summer daytime temperatures can be during parts of the year in American deserts.

  4. #4

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    Not exactly the best match for your criteria, but if you are looking at 200 miles, just hike the John Muir Trail (210 miles) and you will never regret your choice. I don't think there are 200 miles of trail on the planet that has that "wow" factor. You can probably get a permit if you go northbound. Not really desert conditions, but I guarantee you don't have anything like it in the UK.

  5. #5

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    I can come over at the best time to suit the trail, so I was hoping that flexibility might open up trails that would normally be hiked at other times of the year.

    A couple of years ago I day hiked in Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon and Sedona and that's where my fascination with deserts came from.

    I'm guessing numbers are limited on the JMT due to the statement about the permit. Do the JMT and the PCT follow some of the same route, as doing some of the PCT appeals as I'm fascinated with the history of it.

    What about bears!

  6. #6
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    Much, but not all, of the JMT is also part of the PCT.

    Some reservations/permits are apparently very difficult to obtain, such as campground spots in Yosemite NP, permission to summit Mount Whitney, or permission to begin a JMT hike going southbound. It is much easier to get permits to hike on the JMT, and many other connecting trails that are just as scenic, if you begin your hike within the Inyo National Forest rather than starting at the JMT's northern terminus in Yosemite National Park. Inyo's permits are allocated for particular trailheads from which overnight hikes can commence, but they do not limit where you subsequently walk, or how far. For example, its possible to begin hiking in INYO on one of their permits and finish at Yosemite Valley. Some INYO permits can be reserved in advance while others are issued at the last minute, up to one day before a hike commences. Public transportation can get you to/from INYO trailheads and Yosemite Valley.
    Fifteen years ago I took four backcountry trips (total time three weeks) in that region's Ansel Adams Wilderness and John Muir Wilderness, partly on the JMT. I experienced no problems getting permits from INYO. And, I encountered no backcountry bears. As required by law, I stored all of my food overnight in a hard plastic canister, a Bear Vault. It appeared to me that mandated use of those canisters was by then already effectively addressing previously notorious human/bear interaction problems. The bears can't get into the canisters which secure hikers' food so they don't bother showing up at campsites. But, with luck maybe you'll get to see a bear or two somewhere along the trail, most likely running away from you.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the information Siestita. I've never heard of Inyo National Forest, so will definitely look at that in more detail.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincenam View Post
    Thanks for the information Siestita. I've never heard of Inyo National Forest, so will definitely look at that in more detail.
    The PCT and the JMT both connect Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks. In between the parks, these trails can be accessed by several side trails and trailheads. All of this is in wilderness areas that are just as spectacular as the parks, but are managed by other government agencies. As such, they have different permit policies and procedures, and not being in a NP, often are less in demand. You can also hike into this area from the south (Sequoia National park or federal land south of there).

    Note that the original post was looking for desert hikes with good resupply options, and this does not quite fit those parameters.

  9. #9

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    If you want to hike the desert, recommend spring over fall due to water availability. The southern end of the PCT is a pretty good choice in April or May.
    Hike from the border to Highway 10 would be about 200 miles, hike to Big Bear would be about 266. Resupply is fairly easy and none require a hitch.

    Small store at Lake Moreno at mile 20
    Small store at Mt Laguna at mile 40
    Warner springs at mile 109 has a post office for mailed resupply
    Paradise Valley Cafe at mile 151 will accept resupply packages and has great food.
    Idllywild can be reached off mile 183 and is a great little mountain town with lots of resupply options, lodging and restaurants.
    You could end at Hwy 10 mile 209 and get an uber to just about anywhere, but I recommend you hike all the way to Big Bear mile 266. Easy to get a Trail Angel to pick you up at hwy 18.

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