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Town-to-town hiking in the USA?

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Not exactly a pilgrimage, but maybe this is the right forum...

My question: are there any long (multi-day) trails in the US which support inn-to-inn hiking with a light pack?

When we think of long-distance hiking in the US, we usually think of systems like the Appalachian Trail and and the Pacific Crest Trail which offer a wilderness experience and require hikers to carry a pack full of camping gear. However, there are some trail systems in the US which follow old rail lines or canal towpaths through somewhat more populated areas.

I've been browsing the Wikipedia article on long-distance trails in the US, as well as the site of the US Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, but I haven't found any yet with accommodations at intervals of a day's hike.


Any suggestions?

Prentiss
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Great question - I look forward to seeing the answer. All the reading I've done round this type of thing seems to include a hiker carrying a tent - at least for emergencies and for the seemingly inevitable long stretches.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Check out the California Mission Trail from San Diego to Sonoma via the 21 original Spanish missions in CA: http://walkelcaminoreal.com/. I haven't walked any of it yet, but I joined the FB group and bought the guide. We planned to try to walk three days at Thanksgiving but changes in work schedules resulted in scrapping those plans. Liz
 

kellyz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Astorga to Santiago, 2010
Camino Frances SJPP to Muxia, 2011
Camino del Salvador, 2012
Camino Primitivo 2012
Camino Portuguese, Coastal, 2013
It's not town to town, but hut hiking the White Mountains allows you to hike without camping/cooking equipment. A bit costly and you have to carry in your own wine, but stunning and communal.
 
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lendog

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP-SdC Sep/Oct 2015
I live in eastern PA and have considered the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail that goes from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and then canal towpath on to DC. Looks like it is more setup for cyclists but also looks walkable. See http://www.atatrail.org/. See also http://www.thegreatalleghenypassage.com/trail-towns.html. That site lists distances and places with accommodations along the way which seems doable for walking.
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
I live in eastern PA and have considered the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail that goes from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and then canal towpath on to DC. Looks like it is more setup for cyclists but also looks walkable. See http://www.atatrail.org/. See also http://www.thegreatalleghenypassage.com/trail-towns.html. That site lists distances and places with accommodations along the way which seems doable for walking.

Lendog, thanks! That's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. It appears that several stages are about 16 miles and one is 20 miles, so a hiker would have to be prepared for a long haul (or maybe find a road crossing and call a taxi). But definitely worth investigating further.

It's a shame that the US rails-to-trails system is largely marketed to cyclists, because the rail-trails I walked in Spain were perfect for my bad knee and old lungs. If a train can handle a grade then so can I.

[Update] I see that there are more towns than those listed on the GAP page. For example, Smithton PA could break up the stretch between Dawson and West Newton.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Leon-Santiago (March 2015)
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I hate it in forums when people answer the question they want to answer rather than the question that was asked, but if you want a fun town-to-town *cycling* opportunity, the RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) is a six day, 462 mile event with lots of camraderie and fun evening events. And no, it's not all flat cornfields. There are a few hills, and soybeans as well.
 
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Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
I live in eastern PA and have considered the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail that goes from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and then canal towpath on to DC. Looks like it is more setup for cyclists but also looks walkable. See http://www.atatrail.org/. See also http://www.thegreatalleghenypassage.com/trail-towns.html. That site lists distances and places with accommodations along the way which seems doable for walking.
Hi Kelly - I forgot about the Great Allegheny Passage. We have done big chunks on our bikes, but walking would be very doable! Liz
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
There are several short religious pilgrimages to the Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico. Most are only a day or two long, but at least one is 100 miles, and as far as I can tell are organized by various churches in the area. I haven't done any of them, so I can't really comment. Information can be found at http://www.elsantuariodechimayo.us/Santuario/windex.html and click on 'Pilgrimages' on the left side of the page.

There was an effort by a group here in Denver to establish a camino route from Denver to Chimayo, a distance of approximately 350 miles. Their information can be found at http://caminotochimayo.blogspot.com/. I'm not sure of the status of this effort, but it could be done following their route info as a self-supported trek.

I have personally been considering a shorter version of this camino, starting in San Luis, Colorado, which is near the Colorado-New Mexico border, and finishing at the Santuario de Chimayo, a distance of approximately 90 miles, depending on route variations. This would also be a self-supported camino at this time. (Note that this route starts at 7900 ft in San Luis and goes as high as 8500 ft before finishing at 6100 ft in Chimayo.)

Jim
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Jim, great tip! A walk to Chimayo would be lovely - although I doubt that the trail would pass the "old knees and lungs" test. :-]
 
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Scott Sweeney

Active Member
We have found very few trails that support walkers without needing tents and gear or using expensive rooming. I am on the east coast and have walked much of the AT in sections, many many miles of the Arizona desert and also the C& O canal trail sections. People here just don't walk like what we find in Europe. People in smaller towns don't understand hikers and really don't want you passing through town. In order to make it anywhere near possible you would have to use roadways and in the eastern US that's risky. I am sure there are trails out there, its just a matter of some serious logistics.
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Scott, thanks. I think the best bet is rail-trails or towpaths which (in the more populated parts of the US) do connect towns and do not rely on walking on the shoulders of highways. People above have suggested a couple to check out. I'm sure you're right that there are few or no inexpensive hostel-style accommodations on such routes, but there might be conventional hotels, BNBs, or (better yet) AirBnBs.

My dream: that someone would develop accommodations along Texas's one lengthy rail-trail, the Northeast Texas Trail from Farmersville to Paris (and eventually points east). Some of the stages would be hard for hikers but would be very doable for cyclists:

http://netexastrail.org/

The approach taken by that website shows the difficulty of building up such a system in the US. It assumes that you've got a car at each stage to ferry you to a motel miles away. What's needed are accommodations right on the trail. Some of the towns that were once linked by the railroad are little more than crossroads without any local businesses left, so it would take a creative person to market their BnB or AirBnB (or barn with a haypile for sleeping bags?) to the handful of hikers and cyclists who would be interested at the outset. But it's not hard to imagine a thriving seasonal through-hiking/cycling scene once it catches on.
 
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Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
But it's not hard to imagine a thriving seasonal through-hiking/cycling scene once it catches on.

The "season" in Texas, of course, being November to March or so! Once the mosquitoes wake up, it's time to book it to Spain... :-]
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
We have found very few trails that support walkers without needing tents and gear or using expensive rooming. I am on the east coast and have walked much of the AT in sections, many many miles of the Arizona desert and also the C& O canal trail sections. People here just don't walk like what we find in Europe. People in smaller towns don't understand hikers and really don't want you passing through town. In order to make it anywhere near possible you would have to use roadways and in the eastern US that's risky. I am sure there are trails out there, its just a matter of some serious logistics.
I guess I totally agree with Scott! For our walk on the Cal Mission Trail we were/are planning to stay in budget hotels but they are still $50/night minimum mostly more. I do think the Western US is more friendly for walking. Not sure why I think that but.... Liz
 

Sheilajg

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2013) 250 kms Camino Frances, (2015 Camino Frances)
This one isn't in the US but close. It's a trail on the coast of Newfoundland and some B&B's have joined up to support hikers. The information is on this website and if you click on the accommodations link, you'll see. I haven't done it but it is on my list of amazing hikes and places to go.
http://www.eastcoasttrail.ca/
 
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mmm042

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VDLP 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
Hi.

In 2013 I thru-hiked the 1,100-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail. It's all in Wisconsin and traces the last glacier's terminal moraine. It's one of just 11 National Scenic Trails like the AT and PCT, but the IAT was designed to unite people with the trail, not avoid population areas. So while you can't walk the entire thing and find an easy place to stay every single night, there are many sections where you could hike, say, for a week or two straight and find places to stay very near the trail. Wisconsin's Bed-and-Breakfast Association partners with the trail, too. Some B&Bs are right on the trail, while others are nearby. Some B&B owners will pick you up at a trailhead or drop you back off. Plus the IAT maintains a list of "Trail Angels" -- volunteers who would also provide transport to/from lodging or even let you stay overnight in their homes. Check it out at www.iceagetrail.org.

Oh -- about 650-700 trails miles are currently completed. The remaining mileage is on smaller roads (county highways, for example) called "connecting routes." While not like hiking on trails, I found the vast majority of them quite scenic, as they're all passing through beautiful countryside.

Melanie
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Melanie and Sheila, thanks. Those sound great!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Also not in the US, but not very far away, are about 5,000 km of rails-to-trails in Québec (http://www.routeverte.com/rv/home and http://www.out-there.com/bkp_pq01.htm)--perhaps the ones in the eastern townships are best for walkers-- some stretches use roads a bit too much for my taste, but there is a great deal of accommodation of the b&b variety available and the trails are much used. Page 4 of one of last year's Canadian bulletins (http://www.santiago.ca/_newsletter/april2014.pdf) gives a good one-page compendium with links of pilgrimage trails in Québec and eastern Canada- most require advance reservation as pilgrims are billeted in private homes. However, some of them (des Sanctuaires, between Montréal and Saint Anne de Beaupré, still a pilgrimage site; Saint Anne de Beaupré and Gaspé; and Point-au-Père/Rimouski to Saint Anne de Beaupré) can be done on one's own. While almost all of the material I can find is in French, it is fairly straightforward and not that hard to use. English is not frequent outside main centres, but US pilgrims will find locals friendly and helpful.
 
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kellyz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Astorga to Santiago, 2010
Camino Frances SJPP to Muxia, 2011
Camino del Salvador, 2012
Camino Primitivo 2012
Camino Portuguese, Coastal, 2013
I think it would be cool to walk Rte. 40 and stay at the old motels. It would be an interesting way to see America by highway, but one step at a time. I imagine it'd be a lot like the life of an unsuccessful hitchhiker, pre-interstate. But all that pavement! I fear the rails to trails would present a similar problem.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2004 road cycling
Frances path cycling (2016)
I live in eastern PA and have considered the Great Allegheny Passage rail-trail that goes from Pittsburgh to Cumberland and then canal towpath on to DC. Looks like it is more setup for cyclists but also looks walkable. See http://www.atatrail.org/. See also http://www.thegreatalleghenypassage.com/trail-towns.html. That site lists distances and places with accommodations along the way which seems doable for walking.

Speaking of eastern PA, there used to be a Horseshoe Trail that connected a series of youth hostels, which I suspect are all gone. My parents would carry my brother and I on the back of their bikes (early 50's), and one year when we were older we biked and hiked it on separate trips.
 

basquelady

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2013), CF Pamplona to V del Bierzo (2014), Baztanés, then CF (2016), CF Sahagun to SDC (2017)
Not exactly a pilgrimage, but maybe this is the right forum...

My question: are there any long (multi-day) trails in the US which support inn-to-inn hiking with a light pack?

When we think of long-distance hiking in the US, we usually think of systems like the Appalachian Trail and and the Pacific Crest Trail which offer a wilderness experience and require hikers to carry a pack full of camping gear. However, there are some trail systems in the US which follow old rail lines or canal towpaths through somewhat more populated areas.

I've been browsing the Wikipedia article on long-distance trails in the US, as well as the site of the US Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, but I haven't found any yet with accommodations at intervals of a day's hike.


Any suggestions?

Prentiss
I have Camino internet friends who live in Omaha, Nebraska. Last year they walked the Cowboy trail and had a great adventure. They carried a small tent which they used a few times when accomodation was not available. Very different from their Camino experience, but great in its own way. They are in their mid-60s. Info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_Trail
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
This one isn't in the US but close. It's a trail on the coast of Newfoundland and some B&B's have joined up to support hikers. The information is on this website and if you click on the accommodations link, you'll see. I haven't done it but it is on my list of amazing hikes and places to go.
http://www.eastcoasttrail.ca/
Good grief. It's easier and cheaper to get to Europe than to Newfoundland. I agree that it is a wonderful trail, just disagree about it being "close".
 
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Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Charles, I'm guessing that maybe what Nico meant is that US towns are further apart because they were settled after the coming of the railroad, or at least after roads and wheeled transport.
 
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Charles, I'm guessing that maybe what Nico meant is that US towns are further apart because they were settled after the coming of the railroad, or at least after roads and wheeled transport.

Well, he only mentioned motorized transport, and I'll admit that played a key role in settling the western half of the country, after sailing ships and wagon trains initiated it. However, I suspect most of the cities and larger towns in the east were settled before the railroad arrived. Certainly people walked, and rode horses, and used stagecoaches - probably not much different than what was the case in Europe. I think the major social impact of the railroad came later - in creating suburbs, so people could work in the city, but didn't need to live there. Later, the automobile meant that they didn't even need to live near a rail line.

I'm certainly not questioning that Europe was settled much earlier, but do doubt that walking behavior was that much different prior to the arrival of powered transport. It may seem different because the development progression was much more compressed in the U.S. - i.e. we went from stagecoaches to automobiles over a much shorter period. I'm happy to admit that in current times Europe likely has a more walking-oriented culture than we do here, almost certainly married to our love affair with the car, but also due to the more compact nature of European cities, and perhaps traditionally greater proximity of residential centers of all sizes.

I'm no historian, but a quick check indicates there were wheeled vehicles in Europe for some 5,000 years, so many/most European towns were also likely settled after roads and wheeled transport.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Not wishing to tangent too much, but a few years ago I tried to plan a walk from Ottawa to Montreal via Glengarry and like others, found centres too far apart for it to be practical. I complained about this at a dinner among some academics. An historian told me that I should have walked it before WWI and I would have then had no trouble. Before then, rural centres were about 15km apart, with clusters of churches and a post office, a few taverns, and a small hotel or inn. Churches, particularly, needed to be within an hour's ride by horse or buggy. She told me that should I now explore the backroads by car, I would find dozens of abandoned crossroads villages. As transport improved, smaller Anglican and Presbyterian congregations amalgamated, farmers drove to larger centres for a better selection of shops (and taverns), post offices were closed and these hamlets ended up being an empty crosroads after about 30 years. Older maps will confirm this. Centres with large RC churches tended to live on, as they often had schools and other institutions, and provided more of a critical mass-- I would have more luck in French Canada, she told me.

I sat down with some mid-century roadmaps at a library and found that she was right. There were dozens of ghost villages along my route. Further work suggested that rural centres in prairie Canada were perhaps about 20km apart but most of these have disappeared and can only be identified by graveyards and the occasional gas station. I would imagine that settlement patterns were similar in the US, with the important distinction that post offices in the US close much less frequently.
 
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k-fun

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2011), Camino Portugués (2013), Camino St. Jaume (2013)
This is a great thread...thanks everyone for all the info.
 

GreatDane

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
I've followed this for a couple of years but in conversation with them last year found that has not come to fruition. http://caminotochimayo.blogspot.com/ Bummer because I love the area and the Santuario de Chimayó. Read all the back posts at the blog, it is very interesting.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
This one isn't in the US but close. It's a trail on the coast of Newfoundland and some B&B's have joined up to support hikers. The information is on this website and if you click on the accommodations link, you'll see. I haven't done it but it is on my list of amazing hikes and places to go.
http://www.eastcoasttrail.ca/
I was thinking of the East Coast Trail as I was reading this thread, and was surprised and delighted to see your post. I walked a bit of this trail a few years ago. We hit the weather just right (mid-September) and the scenery is spectacular - had a taxi come and pick us up at the end of our hike. Would love to go back and walk more of it and make use of the B&Bs. Hope you manage to check it off your list soon.
 

Sheilajg

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2013) 250 kms Camino Frances, (2015 Camino Frances)
I was thinking of the East Coast Trail as I was reading this thread, and was surprised and delighted to see your post. I walked a bit of this trail a few years ago. We hit the weather just right (mid-September) and the scenery is spectacular - had a taxi come and pick us up at the end of our hike. Would love to go back and walk more of it and make use of the B&Bs. Hope you manage to check it off your list soon.
It's great to hear from someone who has done it. I think it looks wonderful. I guess I have to focus on Camino Frances for this year and see what happens after that!
 

Sheilajg

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2013) 250 kms Camino Frances, (2015 Camino Frances)
Good grief. It's easier and cheaper to get to Europe than to Newfoundland. I agree that it is a wonderful trail, just disagree about it being "close".
the cost of travel to NFld is expensive for sure. Too bad, though.
 
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Anemone del Camino

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Also not in the US, but not very far away, are about 5,000 km of rails-to-trails in Québec (http://www.routeverte.com/rv/home and http://www.out-there.com/bkp_pq01.htm)--perhaps the ones in the eastern townships are best for walkers-- some stretches use roads a bit too much for my taste, but there is a great deal of accommodation of the b&b variety available and the trails are much used. Page 4 of one of last year's Canadian bulletins (http://www.santiago.ca/_newsletter/april2014.pdf) gives a good one-page compendium with links of pilgrimage trails in Québec and eastern Canada- most require advance reservation as pilgrims are billeted in private homes. However, some of them (des Sanctuaires, between Montréal and Saint Anne de Beaupré, still a pilgrimage site; Saint Anne de Beaupré and Gaspé; and Point-au-Père/Rimouski to Saint Anne de Beaupré) can be done on one's own. While almost all of the material I can find is in French, it is fairly straightforward and not that hard to use. English is not frequent outside main centres, but US pilgrims will find locals friendly and helpful.
Sooooo anti Camino: you have to sign up months before you head out. Then there are 4, perhaps 6 of you walking and you have to follow a certain rytm and stay in the one place. Good luck finding people whose company you enjoy.

Food? Yuk! And I live in Montreal. Mind you, perhaps because I live in Montreal I say "yuk" to eating in places these routes take you to.

And did I say mosquitos and humidity? Nope.

Oh... and you have to pay to sign up and get the route. Pilgrimage? Nope. I would rather pay 1000$ for my plane ticket and the currency exchange cost.
 

cherrys

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
Not exactly a pilgrimage, but maybe this is the right forum...

My question: are there any long (multi-day) trails in the US which support inn-to-inn hiking with a light pack?

When we think of long-distance hiking in the US, we usually think of systems like the Appalachian Trail and and the Pacific Crest Trail which offer a wilderness experience and require hikers to carry a pack full of camping gear. However, there are some trail systems in the US which follow old rail lines or canal towpaths through somewhat more populated areas.

I've been browsing the Wikipedia article on long-distance trails in the US, as well as the site of the US Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, but I haven't found any yet with accommodations at intervals of a day's hike.


Any suggestions?

Prentiss
Hi - There's also the Long Path going from the George Washington Bridge in New York City, to Thatcher Park, just south of Albany NY. It goes approximately 350 miles. I have done most of the section through the Shawangunks when I lived in that area, and have also hiked in the Catskills - Slide Mountain among others, and in Thatcher State Park. I'd love to do the whole thing straight through. Here is a link to someone who ran it http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/thru-running-new-yorks-long-path-posner and also for the NYNJ Trail Conference www.nynjtc.org/.../long-path. I hope these links work. If there is anyone interested in hiking all or parts of it, please let me know, as I would like to do it. (And sadly, I think you would have to carry your own wine on this one too - Lo siento) Thanks, Cherry
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
There's also the Long Path going from the George Washington Bridge in New York City, to Thatcher Park, just south of Albany NY. It goes approximately 350 miles.

Cherry, the Long Path sounds beautiful! Are there accommodations along the way? It sounds like that trailrunner slept in lean-tos (and on hard boards with no pad!). Tougher than I am for sure. :-]

Here's that NYNJTC link:

http://www.nynjtc.org/region/long-path

Buen camino!
 

cherrys

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
Cherry, the Long Path sounds beautiful! Are there accommodations along the way? It sounds like that trailrunner slept in lean-tos (and on hard boards with no pad!). Tougher than I am for sure. :-]

Here's that NYNJTC link:

http://www.nynjtc.org/region/long-path

Buen camino!
Hi - I don't know about accommodations all the way - I know in some of the villages/towns it goes through there are places. I haven't had time to look closely at the route on a map, but will do so in a couple of weeks and post info here. And I agree about the hard floors of leantos - I'm too old to do that! - Cherry
 
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Suzanne S.

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(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
(2019) Camino del Norte
Not exactly a pilgrimage, but maybe this is the right forum...

My question: are there any long (multi-day) trails in the US which support inn-to-inn hiking with a light pack?

When we think of long-distance hiking in the US, we usually think of systems like the Appalachian Trail and and the Pacific Crest Trail which offer a wilderness experience and require hikers to carry a pack full of camping gear. However, there are some trail systems in the US which follow old rail lines or canal towpaths through somewhat more populated areas.

I've been browsing the Wikipedia article on long-distance trails in the US, as well as the site of the US Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, but I haven't found any yet with accommodations at intervals of a day's hike.


Any suggestions?

Prentiss
Here's a website devoted to "Walkabout California." It does get expensive though...and the walks are pretty short compared to some. http://walkaboutcalifornia.com/
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
I'm not a historian by any stretch of the imagination, but I suspect that one of the differences between the US, at least the western part (and I guess Canada to some extent), and most of Europe is that the rural areas in the new world developed after the demise of the feudal and manor systems. In those systems, the land was owned by a lord or duke, and farming was mostly done by serfs and later tenant farmers who lived in villages around the castle or manor house. The serfs or tenant farmers went out each day to work their assigned fields. On this side of the Atlantic, the western lands were opened by individuals who claimed or homesteaded their own land, and they lived on that land rather than grouped in villages. The towns and cities in these areas were more like centralized marketplaces, and later, with the development of railroads, transportation hubs. Thus, they tended to spaced a day's wagon drive or so from the farthest point served, which is about 20 miles / 30 km, which actually made the distance between towns as much as 40 miles / 60 km. Therefore, there is little in the way of inns or even places to eat or buy food between the towns once you get away from the major highways, and this makes Camino-style trekking more difficult than in Europe with its myriad of small villages spaced a few kilometers apart.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Sooooo anti Camino: you have to sign up months before you head out. Then there are 4, perhaps 6 of you walking and you have to follow a certain rytm and stay in the one place. Good luck finding people whose company you enjoy.

Food? Yuk! And I live in Montreal. Mind you, perhaps because I live in Montreal I say "yuk" to eating in places these routes take you to.

And did I say mosquitos and humidity? Nope.

Oh... and you have to pay to sign up and get the route. Pilgrimage? Nope. I would rather pay 1000$ for my plane ticket and the currency exchange cost.

All I can say is that those to whom I have spoken have loved the Chemin de l'Outouais and had a great time. It is a very different form of Camino and much more strongly a Roman Catholic one. Apparently the food varied in quality but when I enquired on this by telephone after I saw your post, I was told that in two places it was of a university faculty club standard, in others it was home cooking, but in a few spots it was institutional. In any case, 25km walking is a great sauce for any dish (and I fear that yuk is a good word for a few of the menus de peregrino I encountered on the Frances!). Admittedly, the mosquitoes would be a challenge for me.

These are different pilgrimages, to my mind primarily because of the small numbers involved and the more devotional aspect, and are perhaps not my personal cup of tea. I much more enjoyed the haphazard nature of the company of pilgrims in France and Spain and by far meals a la carta with the local wine in the evening but I think that there are those who might be interested in this approach and who might find the encounter with another nearby culture to be of interest.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
All I can say is that those to whom I have spoken have loved the Chemin de l'Outouais and had a great time. It is a very different form of Camino and much more strongly a Roman Catholic one. Apparently the food varied in quality but when I enquired on this by telephone after I saw your post, I was told that in two places it was of a university faculty club standard, in others it was home cooking, but in a few spots it was institutional. In any case, 25km walking is a great sauce for any dish (and I fear that yuk is a good word for a few of the menus de peregrino I encountered on the Frances!). Admittedly, the mosquitoes would be a challenge for me.

These are different pilgrimages, to my mind primarily because of the small numbers involved and the more devotional aspect, and are perhaps not my personal cup of tea. I much more enjoyed the haphazard nature of the company of pilgrims in France and Spain and by far meals a la carta with the local wine in the evening but I think that there are those who might be interested in this approach and who might find the encounter with another nearby culture to be of interest.
Thank you for your response. I find it interesting that these are more "religion based", perhaps closer to the clasical definition of pilgramage than what we see in Spain. Cannot agree more regarding the "yuk" when it comes to food on the CF ;0) The meals you are refering to are the evening meals, right? I was thinking more of stops for poutine & hotdogs at La belle province for lunch and breaks ;0) I'm thinking I'm tempted to drive the Outaouiais route and see if I might like to walk it. I know little next to nothing of the area I have lived in all my life, perhaps it's time to start exploring.
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Year of past OR future Camino
?
... perhaps it's time to start exploring.

I've had the pleasure to walk the Chemin des Sanctuaires (Montreal/Ste-Anne) and the Chemin des Navigateurs (Pointe-au-Père/Ste-Anne) and enjoyed both of them greatly without the presence of mosquitos.
facepalm.png

You can do them without registering in one of the 4 person packet as long as you are willing to wing the accommodation and the meals. Very easy to do.
A lot of info here for the Navigateurs: http://chemindesnavigateurs.org/index.html
and there for the Sanctuaires: http://www.chemindessanctuaires.org/en/
Concerning the negative comments on food, you can eat very well outside of Montreal. In fact, sometimes better...if you give it a chance.
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Letsgocamino

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2013 Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.
Camino Portuguese Porto to SdeC May 31 2017.
My son will be doing the Trans Catalina Trail in July. This is on Catalina Island just 20 miles or so from Long Beach, Ca. Its four days of rigorous hiking through the hills, east to west. Granted, its not a pilgrimage but from comments I've read of people who have done it, the experience sounds like a life changer. Most people carry all their equipment. There is a service(of course)! that will drop off&set up a tent for you with dinner at each of the four campgrounds. I checked out the elevation for the hike and it is killer. But to see buffalo and island fox(which were almost extinct) would be worth it. Not to mention all the flora and fauna. Check out socalhiker.net for good info and seatosummitultralight for a beautiful video.
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Year of past OR future Camino
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. Hoping to go back in 2022.
Note to self: come back to this thread for menu recommendations the next time I'm in Québec!
 

Antonio Benitez

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2008) (2012) (2014) (2015)
Hi.

In 2013 I thru-hiked the 1,100-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail. It's all in Wisconsin and traces the last glacier's terminal moraine. It's one of just 11 National Scenic Trails like the AT and PCT, but the IAT was designed to unite people with the trail, not avoid population areas. So while you can't walk the entire thing and find an easy place to stay every single night, there are many sections where you could hike, say, for a week or two straight and find places to stay very near the trail. Wisconsin's Bed-and-Breakfast Association partners with the trail, too. Some B&Bs are right on the trail, while others are nearby. Some B&B owners will pick you up at a trailhead or drop you back off. Plus the IAT maintains a list of "Trail Angels" -- volunteers who would also provide transport to/from lodging or even let you stay overnight in their homes. Check it out at www.iceagetrail.org.

Oh -- about 650-700 trails miles are currently completed. The remaining mileage is on smaller roads (county highways, for example) called "connecting routes." While not like hiking on trails, I found the vast majority of them quite scenic, as they're all passing through beautiful countryside.

Melanie
Dear Melanie
I plan to walk El camino this fall and I am wondering if there is in Dane County any group of friends of El Camino.
Thanks for your time and attention,
Antonio Benitez
 

CA_Pilgrim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
El Camino Real de California
Camino Frances (2017)
Not exactly a pilgrimage, but maybe this is the right forum...

My question: are there any long (multi-day) trails in the US which support inn-to-inn hiking with a light pack?

When we think of long-distance hiking in the US, we usually think of systems like the Appalachian Trail and and the Pacific Crest Trail which offer a wilderness experience and require hikers to carry a pack full of camping gear. However, there are some trail systems in the US which follow old rail lines or canal towpaths through somewhat more populated areas.

I've been browsing the Wikipedia article on long-distance trails in the US, as well as the site of the US Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, but I haven't found any yet with accommodations at intervals of a day's hike.


Any suggestions?

Prentiss
I came across this site when I was researching routes for the El Camino Real de California.

http://walkaboutcalifornia.com/
 

CA_Pilgrim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
El Camino Real de California
Camino Frances (2017)
Liz, thanks! That California Mission Trail looks fantastic. Not easy, as the website says, but definitely worth exploring.
I actually hiked the entire 850 mile Mission Trail. It's actually not all that difficult, just long. I did it in stages and used Amtrak train service to get me to and from start and end points. I found the southern California section from Mission San Diego to Mission Santa Barbara to be the easiest because there is plenty of infrastructure to support hiking from town to town and mission to mission. The central coast gets much more remote and finding lodging within a reasonable days hike becomes more challenging (but not impossible). Once you get to San Jose, there's plenty of infrastructure all the way to Sonoma

Here are some additional free resources
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CA_Pilgrim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
El Camino Real de California
Camino Frances (2017)
Dear Melanie
I plan to walk El camino this fall and I am wondering if there is in Dane County any group of friends of El Camino.
Thanks for your time and attention,
Antonio Benitez
Antonio, please see my previous response for a listing of free resources for hiking the El Camino Real. In particular, I suggest you join the California Mission Walkers Facebook group. That group is the most active and there are several people currently on the trail posting of their adventures. If you go down far enough in the group postings, you'll find my posts from when I did the pilgrimage. I love photography, so there are lots of photos of the trail in my posts.

Siempre Adelante!
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
My wife and I love the Camino and cherish our experiences on the CF and CP, but getting there involves considerable expense for those of us outside Europe. We are therefor beginning to think about Camino-type walks here in the US or possibly Canada, and more specifically about a walk along the C&O Canal in Maryland. Has anyone here in the forum community done the entire distance from Georgetown to Cumberland? If so, I'd like to hear about it. Our son lives in Alexandria and we've walked a few short segments of the C&O in the Great Falls area with him, but they were just day strolls. I'm aware of the Alleghany Trail Alliance, and have their guidebook to the C&O and GAP trails; but they (the ATA) seem more directed toward cycling the trail, and we're more interested in walking the C&O portion (185 miles). The accommodations they list are spotted more in line with daily cycling distances than walking, and although there are campgrounds at more reasonable intervals, we really don't want to carry camping gear. We would be more interested in B&B type accommodations. (I'm also posting this query on the APOC Facebook page.)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
My wife and I love the Camino and cherish our experiences on the CF and CP, but getting there involves considerable expense for those of us outside Europe. We are therefor beginning to think about Camino-type walks here in the US or possibly Canada, and more specifically about a walk along the C&O Canal in Maryland. Has anyone here in the forum community done the entire distance from Georgetown to Cumberland? If so, I'd like to hear about it. Our son lives in Alexandria and we've walked a few short segments of the C&O in the Great Falls area with him, but they were just day strolls. I'm aware of the Alleghany Trail Alliance, and have their guidebook to the C&O and GAP trails; but they (the ATA) seem more directed toward cycling the trail, and we're more interested in walking the C&O portion (185 miles). The accommodations they list are spotted more in line with daily cycling distances than walking, and although there are campgrounds at more reasonable intervals, we really don't want to carry camping gear. We would be more interested in B&B type accommodations. (I'm also posting this query on the APOC Facebook page.)
Not that you asked, but another option might be the Katy trail in Missouri. I think most people bike it, but I have always thought it would be fun to walk it with a bunch of camino friends.

This is an old report, but one that gave me the idea years ago. http://www.americantrails.org/resources/railtrails/WalkKaty.html
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
Not that you asked, but another option might be the Katy trail in Missouri. I think most people bike it, but I have always thought it would be fun to walk it with a bunch of camino friends.

This is an old report, but one that gave me the idea years ago. http://www.americantrails.org/resources/railtrails/WalkKaty.html
I haven't seen that particular one, but I am familiar with the Rails to Trails movement, and that is certainly one to consider. Thanks for the link.
 

mla1

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2000); St. Giles (2013); Le Puy-SJPP (2015); VDLP (2016); Mozárabe, Almeria to Granada (2018)
Not that you asked, but another option might be the Katy trail in Missouri. I think most people bike it, but I have always thought it would be fun to walk it with a bunch of camino friends.

This is an old report, but one that gave me the idea years ago. http://www.americantrails.org/resources/railtrails/WalkKaty.html

I haven't heard of this trail before.
There are so many rail trails now -- not the most exciting walking ever, but close to home. They would be much more interesting to walk in a group.

There are a number of such trails in Quebec, most of which have been primarily developed for cycling. And so there can be a lot of asphalt. But they don't involve trans-Atlantic flights!
 
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Camino Frances (2014), Portuguese (2015), Primitivo (2016), Lucca to Rome (2017), VDLP (2019)
I stumbled across this thread while looking for ideas for a US hike—one not involving a tent, sleeping bag, etc. I’ve found. a couple that I think are fairly well established: the trails along the Erie Canal in NY and the Ohio and Erie Canal in Ohio. There seem to be sufficient accommodations at 15 +/- mile intervals to allow through hiking with only a pack. There may be a third. The Genesee River runs North from its headwaters in Northern Pennsylvania to Rochester and Lake Ontario. There are little towns along the way at reasonable intervals and a mix of Rails to Trails, a trail along the old Genesee Valley Canal, and the trail through Letchworth State Park that would minimize road walking. I’m planning to walk it either in June and September and will post my impressions. If anyone is familiar with any of these routes I’d be interested in hearing from you.
 

mla1

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (2000); St. Giles (2013); Le Puy-SJPP (2015); VDLP (2016); Mozárabe, Almeria to Granada (2018)
I'll look forward to hearing about how you make out!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Like @peregrina2000 said, the Katy trail in Missouri came to my mind immediately as a potential option. It goes from St. Charles across the state and has some beautiful stretches. I have biked a couple of sections for a few days in the fall and it is lovely with cliffs, old railroad bridges and views of the river. Quite a few lodging options, cute towns, vineyards, etc. scattered along the way, too. Not sure of the walking distances, but there is much info online. Also, it is on an Amtrak train route with stations along the way, so it can be a one-way journey.
 

Faith831

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Muxia/Fisterra (Dec/Jan 2016) Way of St. James - Luxembourg (July/Aug 2018)
It's not exactly an answer to your question, but if you're interested in an American pilgrimage, the Walk to Chimayo in New Mexico is the only one I know of.
 
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Atbodd

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances- August 2015
Camink Portuguese - April 2016
Check this out! Something new and might be what you’re looking for. Fully-inclusive 6-day or 3-day walks in Southeastern Minnesota. Dates and events are up for this summer!

walkingspace.org
 
Last edited:

Katie R

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Want to walk one of the caminos next summer
I stumbled across this thread while looking for ideas for a US hike—one not involving a tent, sleeping bag, etc. I’ve found. a couple that I think are fairly well established: the trails along the Erie Canal in NY and the Ohio and Erie Canal in Ohio. There seem to be sufficient accommodations at 15 +/- mile intervals to allow through hiking with only a pack. There may be a third. The Genesee River runs North from its headwaters in Northern Pennsylvania to Rochester and Lake Ontario. There are little towns along the way at reasonable intervals and a mix of Rails to Trails, a trail along the old Genesee Valley Canal, and the trail through Letchworth State Park that would minimize road walking. I’m planning to walk it either in June and September and will post my impressions. If anyone is familiar with any of these routes I’d be interested in hearing from you.
I live in buffalo and have friends who have biked this and say that things are well set up along the trail to stay and eat Btw the trail starts in buffalo I think. If you wanted to super size this there is a great extension you could take from buffalo over to Canada and on to Niagara Falls I have biked this and think there may well be accommodations along there too
I am dying to do the Camino but can’t until next summer. I don’t mind biking or bringing a tent but what I yearn for is the community people seem to find along the Camino. I’m not sure I’d find this along the non pilgrimage routes mentioned or am I wrong?
 

irish2828

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plan to do Camino in 2020
Thanks for all the great info! I am hoping to do the Camino in 2020 and in the meantime, have had great success with a group called Modern Catholic Pilgrim: https://www.moderncatholicpilgrim.com/
These guys have a growing list of hospitality network hosts nationwide, where you can stay for free on your pilgrimage. You can walk where you want to go! I've done a few along the mission trail and it's been great! We have done several ones over weekends with 20+ miles a day between the missions. Really recommend!
 

ScowDog

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Check this out! Something new and might be what you’re looking for. Fully-inclusive 6-day or 3-day walks in Southeastern Minnesota. Dates and events are up for this summer!

walkingspace.org
Thank you for this link. Living in MSP - this might be a good local option if my Camino doesn't pan out this summer.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Check this out! Something new and might be what you’re looking for. Fully-inclusive 6-day or 3-day walks in Southeastern Minnesota. Dates and events are up for this summer!

walkingspace.org

Thank you for this link. Living in MSP - this might be a good local option if my Camino doesn't pan out this summer.

That trail looks interesting. Is it possible to arrange your own accommodation along the way?
 

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