Long Distance Thru Hiking

“It’s either one, or all three.”


1. Pacific Crest Trail 2014
2. John Muir Trail (as part of PCT Thru Hike)
3. Appalachian Trail 2017


Te Araroa 2020


            There are many different definitions of a Thru Hike. Here at Travel & Trail, we don’t care about any of that nonsense. We firmly believe in the Hike Your Own Hike ideology, which means our definition of a Thru Hike is whatever someone calls a Thru Hike. When we hike, we like to hike the trail from terminus to terminus, using our feet. Let us be the first to tell you, it does not matter how you hike a trail.

Long distance hiking is one of the most interesting and accepting communities of people I have ever met. Those who choose to hike long trails, or distances, tend to be extreme travel lovers, possessing a deep connection to the nature, exercise, and self torture.

People hike for a myriad of reasons, and if it doesn’t involve running from the law (not unheard of), then your reason for hiking doesn’t matter any more or less than anyone else’s. Thru Hikers run the gambit from 17 year old, gap year students, to 70+ year old retirees. From Thoreau-quoting hippies, to investment bankers. Some are there to party, while some are there to push themselves physically and/or mentally. Some do both. Some don’t know why they are out there. Some have NEVER hiked or camped outside before their first day on the trail.

What seems to be a common trait among successful thru hikers is their LOVE of traveling through wild spaces’. They NEED to see what The Trail has in store around the next bend, and the next, and the next. You need to be a little mental, with the ability to endure a significant level of pain and discomfort. Failure is always a step away, and it’s a vacation, your choice. A thru hike is one of the most inspirational and brutal things anyone can do, but we would recommend it to almost anyone!

In the United States, there are three main long distance hiking trails over 2k miles long that create The Triple Crown of Long Distance Hiking. The Pacific Crest Trail, ranging from Mexico to Canada, travels 2,668 miles in California, Oregon and Washington. The Appalachian Trail ranges from the state of Georgia to the state of Maine, and travels 2,190 miles through a total of 14 states. The Continental Divide Trail ranges from Mexico to Canada, traveling close to 3000 miles through the Rocky Mountains.

Finally, the North Country Trail is in the process of being completed, and is estimated to reach up to 4000 miles when finished, traveling from New York to Montana.

Other notable long trails include The Camino de Santiago (Spain), The Florida Trail, The Arizona Trail, The Colorado Trail, The Te Araroa (New Zealand). They are all on the list!

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