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65 votes
Accepted

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

Settlements tend to be near water like rivers, lakes or oceans and the larger the body of water, the more likely there are people. A small stream is likely to join another at some point. This is why ...
60 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to hike over 30km per day?

Your planned hike sounds like it's within your physical capabilities. It will really come down to mental, rather than physical constraints. Do you enjoy challenging yourself, pushing through an ...
  • 4,364
44 votes
Accepted

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

No, it would not be offensive. A survey of 200 pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago found that motivations were as follows, in order of importance: Exercise Adventure Peace, solitude, relaxation ...
  • 11.6k
41 votes

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

In many parts of life, you have to play the percentages. The likelihood is higher that going downstream will lead you to a trailhead or some other sign of civilization than it is for going upstream. ...
  • 22.6k
30 votes

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

Trails show less use the farther from the trailhead one goes because fewer people walk the trail all of the way to the end and most turn around far more quickly. The odds are that going downhill will ...
29 votes

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

Out and back is the same as total. The 10 mile trail might be 5 miles out and 5 miles back, for example. If you take a different route back, the numbers might not be the same. For example you might ...
  • 11.7k
20 votes

Trail marking material that will last a few years

Before marking any trails, please speak to the forest service or whatever local authority is in charge of the land. They likely have established methods for trail marking that should be followed, and ...
  • 1,456
19 votes

When is it OK to hike off trail?

I've hiked all over the USA and the general rule is that on public land, you can hike anywhere you want, unless there are specific rules for a given sensitive area. Generally these rules are posted ...
19 votes

Is it possible to hike over 30km per day?

To add to @csk's answer. It looks from the elevation profile that the Cleveland Way trail is fairly flat at one end. If possible I would aim to do the flatter end as the longer walking days rather ...
  • 8,016
18 votes
Accepted

When is it OK to hike off trail?

Leave No Trace I grew up in a place that was surrounded by open wilderness. There are no, "stay on the trail rules" there. After spending a lot of time in Parks, where there are a lot of rules, and ...
  • 53.1k
18 votes
Accepted

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

While there's a lot of overlap, a trail that can't possibly lead to anywhere to stay the night is unlikely to be called a backpacking trail, as backpacking implies multi-day trips carrying sleep gear ...
  • 23.6k
18 votes

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

Hiking is a superset of backpacking. A backpacking trail can be used for hiking, since that's how you move along the trail while backpacking too. Any trail specifically stated to support backpacking ...
  • 21.3k
15 votes

How to hide a trail turn?

I can't speak for lands inside a city, but out in the woods the best way to hide a trail, is not to leave a trail. I grew up in the sticks where growing up everyone I knew had a secret fort somewhere ...
  • 53.1k
15 votes
Accepted

Trail marking material that will last a few years

If you want the quickest way to mark a trail, you could go for forestry marking paint. Some brands will advertize around 5 years of permanence. It requires careful placement of your marks so they are ...
  • 5,006
14 votes
Accepted

When is it appropriate to make a cairn?

On designated trails that are infrequently traveled and maintained, using them to mark a faint or overgrown section of trail, the point a trail passes under a large downed tree, a switchback, a trail ...
11 votes

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

Knowing why distance was included or omitted in any particular instance requires asking the people that decided on that particular sign. In other words, in the general case, you don't know why. I've ...
  • 21.3k
11 votes

How is elevation gain and change measured for hiking trails?

There are three different ways of describing elevation gain/change for hikes. The least useful – and sadly a very common – method is simply to subtract the starting elevation from the ...
  • 3,925
11 votes

Trail marking material that will last a few years

Source: Wikimedia Commons Probably the easiest and most durable version is the use of cairns. Provided there is enough rocks around, they are easy to build, unaffected by bleaching of the sun and ...
  • 6,465
11 votes

Is it possible to hike over 30km per day?

On short (5-6 day) walks I can do about 26 miles a day as an average. For longer walks (months) I divide this by two, as a shorter daily distance is easier to sustain over a long period, mentally and ...
10 votes

How to hide a trail turn?

This answer is "you shouldn't", since it appears from your description it's not your land and you have no authority over it. Unauthorized private modifications to public land can be a serious problem....
  • 21.3k
10 votes
Accepted

Yosemite in late March a good idea?

Check out the website http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildcond.htm As of March 3, 2016, the website said this about General Conditions under the heading Wilderness Conditions Be prepared ...
  • 22.6k
9 votes
Accepted

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

In areas with quotas on permits, often only a certain percentage of permits can be reserved. The remainder are available on a first-come first-serve basis at the ranger station. For Mt Whitney, ...
  • 8,620
9 votes

Wood versus plastic trail signs?

I appreciate everyone's help and opinions here, and want to report what we ended up doing. We (the Town of Groton Massachusetts Trails Committee) looked at a variety of options. At first the plan ...
  • 21.3k
9 votes

How to hide a trail turn?

This answer assumes that either land ownership is not an issue, or that you have permission from the owner. Please read Olin Lanthrop's answer for a discussion of the ethical issues of whether you ...
  • 4,199
8 votes
Accepted

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

Yes you can definitely hike Zion/Bryce in May. In fact it is a good time of the year for hiking in that area. A sedan will do just fine for most trailheads.
  • 8,021
8 votes
Accepted

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

This is impossible to answer unless you are willing to do an enormous amount of research. There is no single, or even just a few, databases of trails in the US. The national trail lists generally ...
  • 21.3k
8 votes

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

There are some good answers about trails that I am not going to expand on. For roads that are not heavily used like logging roads These may extend many miles into the forest, with multiple branches,...
8 votes

Do animal trails have switchbacks?

Update: I have found some photos of sheep tracks which clearly show that they do not travel directly up a hill. The first first one of switchbacks comes from this website by Chris Collison, where it ...
  • 2,980
8 votes

Trail marking material that will last a few years

Permanent trails in NZ were marked with cut up bits of Venetian blinds - the aluminium ones and preferably white, nailed to trees with stainless steel (IIRC) nails. You can (could) often get these ...
  • 8,016

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