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Q: Hiking Across America ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Hiking Across America
Category: Sports and Recreation > Outdoors
Asked by: darthdenis-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 06 Jul 2004 18:17 PDT
Expires: 05 Aug 2004 18:17 PDT
Question ID: 370570
I want to hike across the USA.  I live in RI right now and am curious
about what routes can be taken.  I'm an experienced hiker, so trails
and paths wouldn't bother me, but I would like the route to be full of
Subject: Re: Hiking Across America
Answered By: scribe-ga on 07 Jul 2004 09:10 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello adventurer,
First, let me say thanks a lot for your question. It led me to
discover something that I had never heard about before and something
that should be of great interest to you: the coast-to-coast American
Discovery Trail.

Let me begin by saying that I assumed that you were not looking for a
wilderness trail across the nation--a trail like the north-south
Appalachian Trail. As you already know I am sure, no comparable
east-west trail exists. Your request for a route that would be "full
of Americana" also suggested to me that you're not seeking a
wilderness experience, but rather a rich and variegated experience of
the USA, with maybe an emphasis on America as it was (and still is in
some places), rather than today's go-go-go, Interstate-highway
America. I hope I have read you correctly.

I started my search with the premise that perhaps a route could be put
together based on the growing number of hiking/biking trails that
follow rail right-of-ways where tracks have been removed, or that (as
in my state of New York) follow old canal towpaths. Such an approach
seemed to have several advantages: such paths would keep you on
relatively flat terrain; you would have some company; you would
usually be not far from small towns where overnight accomodations
might be had, and such rail/canal paths are part-and-parcel of the
country's history.

So my first search terms were: "railway canal paths USA." This led me
to what seemed a very promising site: But
the site appears to be down. However, there is a book, "Biking USA's
Rail Trails" that you can order online: 

But searching further, I hit paydirt with this site: 

This is the website of the America Discovery Trail, which bills itself
as "the only coast-to-coast non-motorized recreational trail for
hiking, biking, riding." As you will see, the ADT passes through 15
states, beginning on the Atlantic Coast (for you) in Delaware at the
mouth of Delaware Bay and ending in Califonria at Point Reyes National
Seashore. Actually, unless you make this a roundtrip, you would hike
through 13 states: in mid-country, you can either take the northern
trail through Nebraska and Iowa, or the southern trail through Kansas
and Missouri.

The American Discovery trail is actually a map/guide of the BEST
combination of hiking trails, dirt and gravel roads, Jeep roads, and
paved roads that will get you across the country while encountering an
absolute minimum of motorized traffic. As a guide, the site is superb,
very detailed and useful, with lots of information on what to see
along the way. You will note that you can buy the site's content in
book form, to carry along with you. (By the way, there's no way to get
across America on foot without hitting some serious wilderness and
unpopulated areas. Check out the site's Utah portion, for example).

Crossing the country (and continent!) on foot seems like such a
daunting undertaking. But the American Discovery Trail makes it seem
doable. I hope you agree.

All the best to you in your great adventure.
darthdenis-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
What a great answer.  Thanks a lot for the information.  You've given
me some stuff to start with and fully intent to keep looking for lots
more information!  Once again, thanks!

Subject: Re: Hiking Across America
From: carbon1-ga on 09 Mar 2005 12:09 PST
Scribe has given a good answer, but if you were interested in
experiencing more of the US wilderness areas, then the Pacific Crest
Trail that stretches the length of America, from Mexico to Canada, is
an excellent choice. It is more remote than the Appalachian Trail.
A New Zealander gives a good account of his travels along it that
could be of interest to you in making a decision.
<a href="">Pacific Crest Trail Adventure</a>

Good luck!

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