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Cross country road/hike trip

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  • Cross country road/hike trip

    So I'm in the planning stages of a cross country hiking based road trip.

    I'm looking to head south starting in May, and start by driving the entirety of the blue ridge parkway and hiking all over the smokies blacks and great balsams for two weeks before heading west. I've always wanted to see these mountains, and I figure it would be a great way to kick start the trip to some good weather and let the rest of the country thaw out a little...

    My plan is to find free camping all over the us in national forests, called "dispersed camping" or "boondocking", something that I absolutely love to do all over the Adirondacks and the white mountains.

    In places like Oklahoma or Kansas, when I'm In between destinations, I'll probably be camping out in wal mart parking lots. Haha...

    So basically I'm trying to do all of this on a strict budget and do it all as cheaply as possible. I also may be getting a diesel vw that gets 45 mpg which will be nice.

    I'm looking to hit national parks, and everything in between. I want to hike a bunch of the 14ers in Colorado, redwood forests, El Capitan, half dome, glacier, Yellowstone, and see the back country of these places, and just go nuts for a few months, while literally spending all of my money on gas and pasta, and see how long I can make my money last.

    So my route in my head at the moment would be south through the smokies, west to Colorado for a few weeks, out the Utah and northern Arizona. M From there I would reasses my situation and see if a trip up the coast would be possible, or if I should head up to Montana/Wyoming and cut the trip shorter if my money is low. There is also an idea of staying with a friend in Portland and getting a job there for a month or two...

    I am just getting this started and am so excited with anticipation I don't even know where to start.

    Where would you go?

    What hikes would you hike?

    Any tips on free camping?
    ADK - 35/46
    Whites - 25/48
    North East - 68/115
    Catskills - 9/35

  • #2
    Hey,

    I did something like this about 10 years ago. It was phenomenal.

    http://www.summitpost.org/our-experi...er-2007/471994

    That covers our journey from Colorado --> California --> Washington state. Not covered in that trip report is how we returned east via the Canadian rockies and back into the US through Glacier, which I highly recommend.

    If I had to pick the most spectacular region I would say it was North Cascades NP.

    Free camping is pretty easy out west given that there is a lot more open space. We had no problem finding free camping although we also used many national forest campgrounds as well.
    Love all wilderness!
    Trying to hike and XC ski as much as possible.

    ADK 46/46 still not official.
    W 27/46

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    • #3
      You've probably already thought of this but get yourself a National Parks Pass. $80. Good for a year. Will pay for itself many times over.

      When you're in Yellowstone there's a short hiking trail that starts near Old Faithful and the the Lodge that climbs to Observation Point. A short climb, maybe 200' ele gain, perhaps a mile round-trip hike, but the view of the Upper Geyser Basin is nice. Head up there to watch an Old Faithful eruption. Worth the quick side trip.

      Sounds like fun wherever you end up going. Looks like mainly like a hiking adventure but if you get into southern Colorado head to Mesa Verde NP. Spectacular. And if you get into Montana stop at Little Bighorn. Definitely worth a stop. And if you can carve out any time for a visit to New Mexico I would highly recommend it. It's a beautiful state.



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      • #4
        Excellent advice! Thanks guys!
        ADK - 35/46
        Whites - 25/48
        North East - 68/115
        Catskills - 9/35

        Comment


        • #5
          Half Dome is on a permit system by lottery. Applications for 2017 accepted starting today and ending 3/31. Winners announced 4/10.

          See here for more details...
          http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/0...iking-permits/

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Makwa View Post
            Half Dome is on a permit system by lottery. Applications for 2017 accepted starting today and ending 3/31. Winners announced 4/10.

            See here for more details...
            http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/0...iking-permits/

            That's inconvenient for hikers but probably a necessary evil. I've hiked half dome twice, the first time was in on a beautiful summer day and my god it was crowded. I'm talking hundreds of people on the cables at same time. That's why the second time I did it, with my wife, we started our hike at midnight so we could arrive at the cables for sunrise. Having the entire rock to ourselves was a much better experience. If I were to do it a third time, I'd go again at night.
            Love all wilderness!
            Trying to hike and XC ski as much as possible.

            ADK 46/46 still not official.
            W 27/46

            Comment


            • bfinan0
              bfinan0 commented
              Editing a comment
              They could probably do something like have a 6pm start time for non-reserved hikers. That way people would be punished by missing all the views, but those who just went to say they did/cross it off a list could still do it, as well as backpackers passing through on an imprecise schedule.

          • #7
            This past September my wife and I drove 8,302 miles from NY to Yosemite in Californis. Along the way we hiked to the top of as many
            state highpoints as we could. Arizona's was great and it sounds like you will be driving by here. New Mexico's high point was also along your route and
            it was also a great hike. In the smokies you could try Chimney Top which is near the high point of Tenn. and the hike up Mt Mitchell, NC's HP is nearby.
            We stayed in motels along the way and were gone 27 days. Drive the speed limit. Colorado is beautiful. You should have a great time.

            Comment


            • #8
              My dream road trip that probably fits the western end of your agenda: http://www.outdoorproject.com/blog-n...arks-road-trip

              Comment


              • #9
                So plans have changed a little,

                So we have a family wedding in very early july in ellicotville NY, which is a beautiful town, so i cant possibly miss that. I'm glad the plans changed, as now i can get a lot more money saved, and I was sad i wasnt going to be able to hike the ADK much at all, but now i can hike all over and get my legs into shape.

                Now we will leave the day or two after the wedding and head directly out west. i will drive directly to colorado, then up to teton, yellowstone, glacier and loop down the coast hitting the north cascades, olympic, ranier, and down the coast to the highway of the giants. Then over to yosemite, sequoia, make our way through utah, and possibly back to colorado. I might even throw in the smokies at the end of the trip, but i might save them for another get away. I will be hitting all hiking in between these national parks, and not just seeing them exclusively. I'm estimating a 4 month long trip, with about a week planned or more at every single base camp. I'm actually finding a decent amount of dispersed camping spots all over the national forests close to these parks, to make camping free.


                ADK - 35/46
                Whites - 25/48
                North East - 68/115
                Catskills - 9/35

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