View Full Version : Advice on connecting different trails

08-25-2010, 00:47
I wasn't sure where this would be placed but it's a long hike so I figured to put it in here.

I'm planning a hike from Florida to Pennsylvania. I'll be hiking the Florida Trail to White Springs, Fl, then taking Georgia country roads straight to Springer Mountain. I'll be hiking the AT from there to either the Tuscarora Trail and then into Pa and then any other trails that I can connect to, or onto the C&O Canal Towpath to the Laurel Highlands Trail. I'll be going to Apollo, Pa as my final destination. I'm looking for advice or help in planning the hike as to connect and be on as many hiking trails as possible and as little road travel as possible. With the most direct route.

I have figured that it will be roughly 1600 miles. I'm hoping to do it in September and October. It shouldn't take me more than 2 months.

I'll be sleeping in a hammock tent and will also be doing this barefoot, mostly. I will have my Vibram KSO's with me if I need them.

So what do you think?

08-25-2010, 01:48
So what do you think?

25+ miles per day on trail and black top over two months in barefeet? You must have some pretty gnarly feet.

08-25-2010, 08:04
I think you ought to look up the Eastern Continental Trail (if you haven't already) and see how it uses the Benton-Mackaye Trail and Alabama Pinhoti trail to connect FT and AT with a bit less roadwalking. Other than that, sounds like an adventure and I wish you luck!

08-25-2010, 11:19
Ha. Sly, my feet are fine. I blister here and there but I run barefoot and go everywhere I can barefoot. It's not as bad as you may think. But it's not for everyone I guess.

Danielsen, I did consider this, but I would end up walking a lot of roads anyway taking this route, as the Alabama Road Walk is part of this trail, 190 miles, plus it would tack on way more miles than I'd like on this trip. I'm trying to complete my trip in Sep and Oct. I don't want to fall too much into Nov. Thanks though.

08-25-2010, 12:55
334 miles from White Springs to AFSP, GA

plus 1014 miles of AT to the C&O, Plus whatever miles on FL trail and C&O.
Seems awfully ambitious to me for just 2 months (starting next week too).

08-25-2010, 13:02
I would need to know a heck of a lot more about your hiking experiences and physical condition to tell you what I think. But without knowing those things all I can say is that your timetable is very ambitious.

Gray Blazer
08-25-2010, 13:39
Is it pronounced Kao Shags or Kaos Hags?

08-25-2010, 17:07
Here are a few thoughts on the northern end of the route:

One could take the Allegheny Trail from just north of Pearisburg, VA and the connection to the Tuscarora that is part of Great Eastern Trail (see here (http://potomacappalachian.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=226&Itemid=43) for info on the Allegheny-Tuscarora connection), however one would need a shuttle around the ALT gap south of I-64. Or see this page (http://www.brownmtnphotog.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=122) for an alternative unsanctioned GET route that bypasses the ALT I-64 gap. These would short cut the AT-Tuscarora connection in Shenandoah NP, obviously also cutting out such high points as McAfee Knob and the Pedlar District in VA along the A.T.

The C&O towpath doesn't intersect the Laurel Highlands trail, in addition the Great Allegheny Passage (http://www.atatrail.org/) would need to be followed presumably from Cumberland, MD to Ohiopyle, PA. The Big Savage Tunnel just north of the MD/PA border closes in winter conditions which you might encounter if your schedule slips from 2 months.

Also see this thread (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=57042) for info regarding a gap in the LHT crossing the PA Turnpike/I-70&76. I don't think you could get much closer than the LHT north end at Seward to Apollo only a day's walk or less downriver. With a good bit more time one could presumably figure out continuing on the GAP to Pittsburgh and then out to the Rachel Carson Trail and back across the Allegheny River somehow up the Baker Trail but the BT is mostly roadwalk itself in that area anyway.

08-25-2010, 17:11
Actually another idea might be to just continue north on the ALT to the WV/PA border and walk country roads and a few trails (get a Forbes State Forest Public Use Map) across Fayette County, PA to hit the Laurel Highlands Trail in Ohiopyle and continue as above.

08-26-2010, 00:16
ki0eh - thanks for the info.

I think I've decided to forgo the C&O and Laurel Highlands Trails.

I am going to take either the AT or the Tuscarora Trail to Route 30 in PA and then head west from there towards Apollo. I would love to hear anyone's input on whether I should stay on the AT or should take the Tuscarora Trail to 30. Which has the best hiking, views, etc.?

When I hit route 30 I'm going to walk that west but if there are any other trails that I can jump on for as much as I can I'd love that too. Any ideas? I know the Lost Turkey Trail is north of 30 but that may be too out of the way just for a 26 mile trail. I love route 30 but would love to stay off of the actual highway as much as possible. Any way to hike or hit any trails along Route 30 from Gettysburg area to Apollo?

08-26-2010, 02:06
kaos - before creation
hags - shortened last name

08-26-2010, 03:02
For a this-year hiker who has done this, I suggest that you look at Lil' Budda's trail journal (http://www.trailjournals.com/about.cfm?trailname=9885). He started with the Florida trail, did all of the AT, and is now continuing on from there, he's currently in Quebec. A nice guy, obviously a strong hiker, and he writes a good journal.

08-26-2010, 09:41
I've been on the US 30 corridor many times through the PA mountains for work, trail work, family, etc. US 30 carries considerable local traffic and at several locations is limited access. I would agree with staying off the highway itself as much as possible.

A few ideas:

-Taking the TT from Shenandoah NP north will get you to Big Schloss (actually just south on the GET from the southerly TT/GET junction) which is more of a highlight than the roller coaster. I've heard good things about the much-relocated-recently TT between here and Hancock, MD especially through WV's Sleepy Creek WMA but haven't yet been on it myself. Hancock is a much more useful town than Harpers Ferry for meeting the immediate needs of the long distance hiker but several steps down in history/cuteness factors. North of Hancock is a big no-camping zone on the TT and the section from the PA/MD border north to PA 16 is considered as rough as the roughest sections of the PA A.T. and likely more briery on top of that.

-If you take the A.T. north thru the roller coaster, Harpers, and MD you get history but also a much more crowded trail. From Pen Mar north I'd rather steer you on to PA 16 as a roadwalk (in fact, just turn left at the 1st road crossing in PA on the old road to Waynesboro instead of continuing to 16) across the Cumberland Valley vs. US 30 itself which is much busier and less scenic through faded commercial strips around Chambersburg, which I consider the scenic equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. The 17 miles or so of A.T. from Pen Mar to US 30/Caledonia SP rates an entire one-sided printed PATC map but nothing extraordinary in terms of scenery. PA 16 through Waynesboro, Greencastle, and especially Mercersburg is a lot less cobbed up crap than you get through Chambersburg and better spacing of town services too.

-From PA 16 north the Tuscarora Trail is more scenic and easier footway for a while. US 30 around McConnellsburg is limited access and the old Lincoln Hwy through McCbg has a big backtrack on west side to get back on 30, not particularly interesting scenery or history vs. other areas, then many treacherous but relatively un-scenic curves west from there up Sideling Hill. I would suggest instead taking TT north to Cowans Gap State Park, then Standing Stone Trail http://www.hike-sst.org up to US 522 then following PA Bike Route S ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/state_mapS.pdf west from there through Fort Littleton and Hustontown. West of Hustontown diverge south off the signed Bike Route S to where the bike route should be signed, onto an abandoned superhighway http://www.pike2bike.org/ which is far and away the most interesting approach to Breezewood from the east. The Gateway in Breezewood has a scrupulously clean trucker motel hidden behind the franchise motels and much cheaper. West of Breezewood to Everett Bike Route S wanders around on quieter roads but you might as well follow the wide shoulder of US 30, right here it turns to 4 lanes divided but not limited access for a bit, to Business US 30 to Everett where you first pass the Igloo classic ice cream shop then a laundry before coming into downtown.

-Hancock to Everett has a trail alternative, the west loop of Great Eastern Trail which has just recently been moved west to leave the C&O towpath at the Paw Paw Tunnel, head north on gravel roads and mtn bike trails to near Flintstone, MD (reasonable resupply) and up PA's Mid State Trail. The section 1 of PA MST as recently relocated http://www.hike-mst.org/guide.html has good camping, water, and footway with not many views, but the second section right before Everett is the opposite in all four respects, rougher than the PA Tuscarora south of PA 16 even.

-Everett to Bedford on US 30 is no picnic, better to head over Bike Route S which at first appears a little roundabout. An old railroad bed on the south side of the Raystown Branch Juniata river would be more pleasant walking if it weren't private land, only the part of it from Everett west to Cornell Rd is a trail (a new relocation of MST). If you have a lot of money to blow when you hit Bedford go for a night at Bedford Springs Resort (http://www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/bedfordsprings.aspx). You could follow Business then regular US 30 west from Bedford past the former location of the Ship of the Alleghenies (http://local.aaca.org/westernpa/shiphotel.html) or diverge onto Bike Route S for the last time for a PA 31-based route to New Baltimore and cut back over to US 30 through the Shanksville area to see http://www.nps.gov/flni - or I suppose walk country roads from Bedford northwest to hit the Lost Turkey Trail to come out on PA 56 near Windber and then a lot of depressed back streets in the Windber/Johnstown metroplex. But if you stick to US 30 now at least there are parts of the old Lincoln Highway remaining through such hot spots as Kantner and Stoystown.

-Not sure why you ruled out the Laurel Highlands Trail, from US 30 north it's not affected by the Turnpike bridge closure and offers perhaps the easiest footway of any long distance hiking trail in PA. US 30 on the west slope of Laurel Hill offers such scenery as an air brake manufacturer's testing station and ample opportunity to be hit by the failures. The old Lincoln Hwy is obliterated through Chestnut Ridge by the four lane (and the old good restaurant the Hollow Tavern hasn't yet come back from its fire) so certainly leave US 30 no further west than Ligonier, and head over back roads to Derry and Keystone State Park, then maybe PA 981 and PA 819 (dyslexia test here) to Apollo. No reason to go to Latrobe, Rolling Rock's no longer made there. I'm not quite familiar enough with the immediate surroundings of the uppermost stretch of the Kiskiminetas River to know if there's a way of paralleling the river more closely but still not getting run over by many freight trains.

08-26-2010, 10:20
Here's another thought to avoiding air brake hill on US 30 west of Jennerstown - head south (yes, south) for a bit on LHT and come down through Linn Run State Park (really neat rocksliding in the creek) and then on quieter back roads towards Ligonier.

08-26-2010, 12:39
Ok so here is my revised most current itinerary.

I'll be jumping on the Florida trail just past Immokalee - Florida Trail to White Springs, FL - to Jasper, Fl - to Dupont, Ga - to Pearson - to Douglas - to Broxton - to Jacksonville - to Eastman - to Monticello - to Covington - to Lawrenceville - to Dawsonville - to Springer Mountain, Ga (AT) - Shenandoah and Tuscarora Trail - Route 16 - Bike Route S - Pike 2 Bike - Bike Route S - LHT - Ligonier - 30 west 981 - and the rest I know from heart.

The Georgia leg is a straight shot (backroad) walk from White Springs, Fl to the AT. I don't want to take the Eastern Continental Trail up the panhandle and around to the AT because it will add too many miles and time on to my trip, and I'll end up walking on roads anyway for 190 miles on the Alabama Road Walk.

If there are any, not too out of the way off the road system trails, bike, hiking, etc, through my Georgia leg I'd love to hit those too.

Also is my Pa route feasible from the TT to LHT and so on?

08-26-2010, 12:39
thanks BrianLe very cool. Go lil buddha.