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  1. #1
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Default Eastern US Trail Recommendations

    I'm starting to get some ideas together for a Fall trip. I've gone out West the last 3 years (and honestly could head out West every year for the rest of my life and still not see and do everything I want!). But I'd like to show the Eastern US some love. Isle Royale NP looks cool, as does Acadia NP. The thing with Acadia is that it seems to be a series of very short interconnected trails. I'd ideally like to be out for around a week or more, and avoid the AT as I'm trying to save the Northern portion of the AT for my section hike. Just wondering if anybody has any suggestions?

    Also, I have been looking into winter cross-country ski/snowshoe trips. Seem to be a big thing in places like Colorado, where they have hut systems devoted to this. Is there anything like this in NE? I fell in love with Winter camping last year and want to do more of it.

    Thanks guys!
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  2. #2
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    A week would give you a chance to hike some of the more remote parts of the Great Smokey Mountains during leaf peeper season (mid October).

  3. #3

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    The AMC has a cross country/snow shoe hut system in Maine.

    Acadia is okay, but is insanely crowded with tourist. I'd avoid it unless you want to spend a lot of money in the Maine coast tourist traps.
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  4. #4

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    Maine Huts and Trail is currently in financial trouble but assuming it make it through they offer hut to hut experience in the winter. The Coos Trail in northern NH is far less crowded alternative to the Long Trail.

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    I've also heard good things about Isle Royal.

    The Adirondacks are classic with the Northville-Placid Trail cutting up through the middle of them (skiable and snowshoeable also), the Cranberry Lake 50 mile loop in the central west part. The high Peaks area in the Adirondacks is amazing in the winter on snowshoes, but apparently wall to wall people in summer.

    I agree. I would avoid Acadia for the crowds.

    I would strongly encourage a route through the White Mountains of NH - they are pretty much THE iconic eastern mountains. Plan on significantly lower mileage than you ever imagined relative to out west. Lots of trails to choose from.

    100 mile Wilderness in Maine has lots of appreciation, and it's the northern terminus of the AT.

    The Long Trail through Vermont is also supposed to be a great trip. And, a trail with lots of history.
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  6. #6

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    Agree that long trail is a good option if you want extended non-AT hiking. If you're going to do the AT later, could do the LT up near mansfield/camel's hump. Great in Sept/early Oct. Difficult hike
    Or something like the Pemi an loop in the whites. Part of that loop is the AT, but not a bad part to do twice!
    If you're later in the fall that mid-oct, probably be better off further south

    I found Acadia NP "ok". Was busy, including a cruise ship & a million buses at the time. I just did some sea kayaking and a few short hikes there and was more than ready to hit the road

  7. #7

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    I don't think there's any overnight backpacking in Acadia. It's a beautiful park though. If you like biking, the carriage trails are supposed to be very nice, I never got to do those. If you decide to go, remember fall comes early in Maine.

    Maybe check out a section of the Great Eastern Trail or the BMT. Take a look at the wilderness areas available in the east, there are a few on the Monongahela NF in WV. GSMNP has what, around 900 miles of trail?

    I'll bet Tipi Walter could send you on a nice route in the southern Appalachians.
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  8. #8

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    A new option is Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument immediately to the east of Baxter State Park. They have the southern starting point of the IAT (The IAT starts outside of BSP as its is not allowed to exist officially exist inside BSP). The IAT is routed through the monument.

  9. #9

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    The Long Trail has become very popular the last couple of years and as a result, it's starting to exceed it's optimum carrying capacity in terms of shelter and tenting space. However, it is the Readers Digest version of the AT.

    How long a fall trip? The NH/ME line north for a couple of weeks Middle/end of September would be an ideal fall hike. Rugged, but worth the effort.

    A shorter loop hike is Grafton Notch. 4 nights/5 days is reasonable. Also strenuous, but some fantastic views when the colors are peaking. (Timing is everything.) Very lightly trafficked.

    Or set up at a campground for a week or two and do day hikes to various vistas. We got a lot of them in the Whites. You could spend a week doing climbs out of Crawford Notch.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    I don't think there's any overnight backpacking in Acadia. correct

    It's a beautiful park though. also correct

    If you like biking, the carriage trails are supposed to be very nice, they areI never got to do those. If you decide to go, remember fall comes early in Maine.Acadia is a favorite day hiking destination of ours with good weather well into December and even January depending on the year

    Maybe check out a section of the Great Eastern Trail or the BMT. Take a look at the wilderness areas available in the east, there are a few on the Monongahela NF in WV. GSMNP has what, around 900 miles of trail?

    I'll bet Tipi Walter could send you on a nice route in the southern Appalachians.
    see my reply in bold above

  11. #11
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    Isle Royale is pretty awesome. Also I'm n that area is the Superior Hiking Trail (which I've not done, but you can read about it). I have done the Lakeshore Trail in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It's not long enough for a whole week, but it gives an amazing variety of experiences. The first third is through north woods, along perched dunes hundreds of feet above the lake and down to the rocky shore with lighthouse. Then there is 12 beach. The last section is the cliffs with hanging falls. If the 50 miles in the park it could be extended easy or west as it is part of the North Country Trail.

    Also you could check out the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park in the western UP. There are some huts there. Not sure if they are open in winter. But if you want a place for back country snowshoeing or x country skiing, you can't do better than the UP where there are lots of Nordic immigrants, miles of trails, and they measure snow in feet, not inches.

  12. #12
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    Fall is the best time in the Northeast, here's some possibilities:
    Northern Long Trail (North of Rte 15)(VT)
    Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail (NH)
    Mid-state Trail (MA)
    Northville-Placid Trail (NY)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    Fall is the best time in the Northeast, here's some possibilities:
    Northern Long Trail (North of Rte 15)(VT)
    Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail (NH)
    Mid-state Trail (MA)
    Northville-Placid Trail (NY)
    I really like the northern LT suggestion. Start at the Canadian border and hike as far south as time allows. Then when you're on the AT in VT you can fill in the gap from the AT/LT junction to wherever you left off, thereby having completed the LT.

    FWIW, we really enjoyed 4 days of backpacking on Isle Royale. But 3-4 days is plenty, we basically hiked the entire island. Another option there though is to Kayak camp, which is what we do if we return.

  14. #14
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    Canoeing the Allagash waterway north of Baxter State Park is pretty remote.

    West Fork Trail is 20 scenic, easy, remote miles in WV. No people at all.
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  15. #15
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    WOW, everyone! Thank You for all the suggestions so far. I've been Googling each suggestion as I come across them, and getting a lot of inspiration from them. Gonna be a great Fall trip!
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  16. #16

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    I have always wanted to tackle the Boundary Waters Wilderness with a canoe, which may be an option especially if you can find someone to go with that can share portage loading.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    I have always wanted to tackle the Boundary Waters Wilderness with a canoe, which may be an option especially if you can find someone to go with that can share portage loading.
    Yeah, doing a boundary waters canoe trip couples very nicely with an Isle Royale backpack, which is exactly what we did a couple years ago; 4 days on Isle royale followed by just about the same amount of time in the Boundary Waters, and not a huge drive in between the two places. In fact, if you take a passport, you can take the ferry to Isle Royale from the Canadian side (thunder bay?) vs. Copper Harbor in Michigan and shorten the trip between the two destinations.

    AND, for what it's worth, the fall (or late summer) would be the only time I'd consider visiting either place, earlier in the summer is too buggy for my preferences.

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