Questions tagged [trails]

A trail is a path marked with blazes, to facilitate walking without precise maps and show the most interesting places.

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63
votes
13answers
322k views

How do you determine how long a hike will take?

Is there a general rule of thumb for converting miles to hours when looking at a potential hike? For example, how long does it take an average person walking at an average speed to walk a mile on the ...
51
votes
10answers
18k views

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

If I am lost in the woods, and I find a trail or a road, how do I decide which way to go? Autumn Veatch was 16 years old in 2015, when her grandparents small plane crashed in the North Cascade ...
33
votes
7answers
5k views

Wood versus plastic trail signs?

My town (Groton MA, USA) has 110 miles of trails open to the public, but virtually no signs helping people navigate at intersections in the woods. I am on the Trails Committee, and I'm pushing hard ...
29
votes
3answers
5k views

Is it offensive to “just hike” on a pilgrim's path?

I am considering taking a pilgrim's path - Olaf's Trail - in Norway (about 3 weeks). However, I don't want to do it for any religious reasons. I just saw this trail in pictures and thought: "What a ...
28
votes
8answers
10k views

Is it possible to hike over 30km per day?

I am planning to go on a trail (Cleveland Way trail in the UK, moderate level, if this helps). The official guide recommends spending 9 days on this trail, but I only have 7 days. Is it reasonable to ...
20
votes
3answers
11k views

When is it OK to hike off trail?

I visited my local forest preserve recently (in a suburb of Chicago, IL) and found new signs every mile or so that read something to the effect of Please stay on the trail so as to preserve the ...
18
votes
1answer
17k views

What does “out and back” mean in terms of understanding the length of a trail?

If I am going on a 10 mile hike and the book says the hike is 10 miles out and back, how many miles will it be total?
18
votes
3answers
339 views

When is it appropriate to make a cairn?

Cairns are small stacks of rocks used to mark trails. These can be especially useful above the tree line where other trail blazes would be inappropriate or unsightly. This answer discourages their ...
15
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3answers
3k views

Is there a difference between a hiking trail and a backpacking trail, including if it's the same piece of land?

I saw an article about the Long Trail, a 272-mile trail through the Green Mountain range in Vermont, USA. It's famous for being the oldest hiking trail in the United States, having been built between ...
15
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4answers
5k views

What are good designs for volunteer-buildable trail bridges?

We have several places on local trails maintained by volunteers where the trail crosses a small stream or ditch. In these places the stream is a bit too wide and deep to expect people to jump accross....
15
votes
1answer
7k views

One-day hike around Prague

I'm planning on visiting Prague and I was wondering if there are any nice one-day (two-day tops) hikes that I could do around there. It doesn't have to be in the mountains, although that would be ...
14
votes
4answers
162 views

How do I find known and documented trails for trail running in New England?

In my past experiences running on trails, the paths are demarcated for hikers and bikers and I learned about these running-appropriate paths through word of mouth and in person park information. After ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Trail maintenance: what is considered inappropriate when maintaining a trail?

Every year at the beginning of the spring, I do preliminary hikes and do some light maintenance (removing broken tree from the trail etc...) but this question made me realize to what extend should I ...
13
votes
2answers
362 views

How do I find a less crowded trail in the southeast United States on the 4th of July?

In addition to "longest walk possible" are there any good guidelines for finding trails/areas in the southeast that are typically less crowded on holidays such as the 4th of July? State parks here in ...
13
votes
1answer
312 views

What are traditional Sami trail markings?

This weekend I came down to Vuodnabahta along the spectacular Ávttje-canyon. The Norwegian Tourist Association (DNT) marks trails with cairs and red painted T-marks. The local Sami organisation in ...
12
votes
4answers
901 views

Is it generally allowed to walk in German forests in the night?

I was geocaching a bit and I've found in many caches the warning not to cache in the night during the winter because of hunting season. My question is, have such limitations a legal basis, and if so, ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

How is elevation gain and change measured for hiking trails?

If a trail is listed as 1500m of elevation change, what exactly does that mean? For example, if the trail goes up 500m, then down 200m, then up 100m, then down 300m, then up 400m, is that considered ...
12
votes
2answers
325 views

Do animal trails have switchbacks?

When hiking in a rarely frequented area, trails may be very faint to the level of being essentially invisible. In such situations, it has happened more than once that I accidentally followed an ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Trail marking material that will last a few years

I'm currently trying to remark a trail that seems to be forgotten or had very little use in the past few years. The markers that remain (different types of ribbon) are fraying or crumbling depending ...
11
votes
3answers
391 views

Hiking uphill, two choices of trails: how to deal with each one?

There are two trails leading to a beautiful spot in a nearby park. One of them has a steady climb all the way (trail A) while the other has some sharp climbs followed by relative level segments (trail ...
10
votes
8answers
371 views

New Zealand recommended hiking maps, books and other resources

Me and my girlfriend will go there in January and we plan on hiking for a week or so. Unfortunately there are no maps or books available for NZ hiking in my area. Could you recommend some for me? ...
10
votes
3answers
354 views

How are the routes of hiking trails determined?

While hiking and backpacking, I often ponder how the trail came to be located where it is. Some trails, especially longer ones, seem like they could take several different routes to get to their ...
9
votes
2answers
247 views

Are pets allowed to thru-hike US National Scenic Trails?

In the US, National Scenic Trails span many different land types (state/federal parks, forests, etc). While these all have different rules on pets, I was wondering if the National Trail System ...
9
votes
1answer
303 views

What does the status “W: Available at the Facility” mean regarding trail permits?

When looking for trail permits for a particular trail at recreation.gov, I almost always see the status "W: Available at the Facility" for today and the next day, and rarely anything available for 2 ...
9
votes
1answer
752 views

Do military style obstacle course trails exist in a genuinely forested setting and open to the general public?

I am interested in knowing if there are any military style obstacle course trails that exist in a completely forested setting for the military, police, search and rescue, and so on, yet are open to ...
9
votes
1answer
279 views

Does it harm deer when I walk on their trails?

I've often walked on deer trails already. The last time I've done this I suddenly realized that it might not be the best practice. I was (and I am) concerned that the "human smell" might stop the deer ...
8
votes
4answers
727 views

How to hide a trail turn?

There is a trail (Not really a "trail" as such), adjacent to my appartment I am lucky to be by a 100m x 500m patch of earth (not an official park), that is not built on. Swerving from the trail, where ...
8
votes
2answers
180 views

Is it feasible to hike Zion and Bryce in Utah in mid-May?

Is it feasible to hike trails to at least some overlooks around Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah in mid-May? If yes, do we need a 4x4, or will a sedan do? We are only interested in day ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What resources are needed to attempt E3?

E3 is a 7000 km hike through Europe. What resources would every member of a small group of average adults need in order to realistically have chance of completing it: Vacation time Money Equipment ? ...
8
votes
3answers
246 views

What is the longest stretch of bike trail that parallels a navigable river in the US?

I have begun adventuring where I drive to a boat launch on a river near a bike trail, put the canoe on a trailer, and tow the canoe up the trail with the bike. At another boat launch I put the canoe ...
8
votes
1answer
180 views

What is the leave no trace thing to do when parallel trails start to form?

Sometimes in areas with sandy/muddy ground, multiple parallel trails will start to form. What is the least impactful way to walk a trail like this? Do you stay on whichever trail shows the most ...
8
votes
1answer
225 views

Permission from military when hiking in Israel

When hiking in Israel I've seen some trails that had information on them to contact IDF first for permission before going on them. How I'm supposed to get the permission? How much in advance you have ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Devils path shuttle

I'm planning on through hiking Devil's Path in the Catskills in November with some friends, and I'm trying to figure out the transportation. We leave about 3 hours away, so I'd prefer not to have to ...
8
votes
1answer
431 views

Interactive online map of long-distance / marked trails against best freely available topographic map background

I've recently learned about the U.S. national trails system, apparently akin to the European long-distance paths. I found an (incomplete?) table of U.S. national trails and a rather poorly layed out ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Yosemite in late March a good idea?

My wife and I have never been to Yosemite. We will have some time off in a couple of weeks (end of March) and we're considering planning a trip to Yosemite. The amount of rain and snow in recent ...
7
votes
2answers
198 views

What are the best possible ways of indicating a 'closed' trail?

I live in a region where you have trails that are open any time of the year, some of the other trails are usable throughout the year except rainy (monsoon) season. There are also rare cases of the ...
7
votes
1answer
141 views

Good two-day tour for the “Trekkinghütten” in the saxon switzerland

Since May 2015, the German Elbsandsteingebirge (Elbe Sandstone Mountains) has so called "Trekkinghütten" (trekking cabins). However, due to the fact that they're pretty new, there aren't really any ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

Can a dog thru-hike 2500 miles in 6 months?

Recently I came across the story of Bobbie the Wonder dog and it really got me wondering about the veracity of this. So, aside from the fact that the dog found the way on his own, if a person is ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

How are trail surface firmness and surface stability defined?

Nevada State Parks have the most numerically precise characterisation of hiking trails I have yet seen. For example, see this map and list for Valley of Fire State Park or this one for Beaver Dam ...
7
votes
1answer
211 views

What's the best way to plan a 3D archery course?

Let's say you want to establish a 3D archery tournament. You want to create a small 3D course. You are at the stage where you want to make a concept for the trail. How do you create a map to ensure ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

Can putting nails in trees cause longterm health problems for the tree?

I asked a question about marking trails and one of the answers suggested nailing markers to the trees. Does this damage the trees? I'm mostly concerned about long-term infection or rot that will ...
5
votes
2answers
253 views

Are there reasons for not putting the mileage on trail signs or is it just a matter of style?

I have seen a lot of trail signs and one thing I noticed is that sometimes they have the distance from one point to another like, Phelps Lake 4 miles Death Canyon Shelf 8 miles and sometimes the ...
5
votes
2answers
603 views

What are the busiest months for hiking in the New Hampshire Presidential Mountains?

I'm planning a 3 day hike (somewhere between early June and early September) in the New Hampshire's White Mountains, specifically the Presidentials. I'd like to avoid the biggest crowds and would ...
5
votes
1answer
201 views

What are these painted markings on trees for? (not trail markers)

In one section of a trail I was on yesterday a large number of trees had markings like the following: These are certainly not trail markings - the trail markers were entirely different (round plastic ...
5
votes
1answer
521 views

How can I distinguish between rock pile types cairn, duck, and natural?

I've seen cairns while hiking in mountains and they are usually easy to distinguish from natural rock piles. However, I am a bit confused by what makes a duck and what distinguishes it from a cairn ...
4
votes
3answers
170 views

Backpacking in southern NY or PA

All- I'm looking for a good 25-30 mile backpacking trail in southern NY or PA. I've looked into Allegany State Park and National Forest, but couldn't find a loop that would keep us out of campgrounds....
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How many miles of hiking trails are there in the United States?

Wikipedia has a list of Long-distance trails in the United States I exported the table to excel and found there more than 150 trails listed, totaling more than 74,000 miles. Another resource with a ...
4
votes
3answers
98 views

How can I identify hiking trails with views of the surrounding areas from online resources?

When on holiday in a region I like to do day hikes to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery. Sometimes the local tourist office has some information but when that's not the case I try to use on-line ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

Printable maps of the Tony Knowles coastal trail

The maps of the trail at http://anchoragecoastaltrail.com/index.php are not well suited for printing. Even the printable map is pretty much illegible. Are there perchance higher quality maps available ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Two day hike recommendations in New England area

I am interested in a recommendation for a good hike in New England (MA, NH, ME, VT, etc). We will have Saturday and Sunday and we want to do a long hike/backpacking. Preferably with elevations of 4k+ ...