There’s something unique about hiking trails that take more than just a day or two. After three or four days, life begins to feel pretty simple. Just eat, sleep, walk, repeat. Here are a few longer distance trails that we have managed to explore over the past few years.
The Lost Coast Trail 24 miles, 3 to 4 days
This may be the most rugged and wild stretch of coastline in California. The scenery is stunning, the weather is temperamental and the terrain is challenging. We hiked the Lost Coast Trail as an out-and-back, totaling approximately 50 miles. Most people take 3 to 4 days to hike from Shelter Cove, north to the mouth of the Mattole River.
The West Coast Trail 47 miles, 7 days
The West Coast Trail is on Vancouver Island in Canada. This trek was seven days of mud, beach, ladders, and fun. This book seems to be the most popular one, but you might consider cutting it in half if you take it along, since it repeats the same information to cover travelers going both directions. An excellent map is given out by Parks Canada along with your permit.
Haute Route 110 miles, 15 days
There’s not much information on this trek, and it’s much less popular than Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). The Swiss Federal Office of Topography make the best topographic hiking maps in the world, though they are quite pricey. If you plan to hike this route, you should buy this book to help with your planning:
Tahoe Rim Trail 165 miles, 15 days
In planning, I used this book by Houserman, and this map of the whole trail and lake by Tom Harrison. The map is excellent. The book, at least the second edition, seemed more geared toward doing the trail in sections, however, it still contained a lot of valuable information about lodging, water, etc.
John Muir Trail 211 miles, 21 days
When we planned for and hiked the JMT, I used the following book and map pack. I wished the maps were two-sided, but they worked very well. You can also download this elevation profile, which is a slightly improved version of the one from Parkay Maps.
Pacific Crest Trail 2650 miles, 147 days
Thru-hiking from Mexico to Canada in 5 to 6 months: it’s an adventure.