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3 Thru-hikes You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job For

In my twenties and thirties, I was single and unencumbered. My life consisted of working, saving money, and taking a long hike. I walked the length of the long green tunnel, traversed the crest and followed the great divide. My life consisted of wonderful memories, experiences and moments made over the years.

Then my priorities shifted a bit.  I married Mrs Mags, formed a community I care about and started to plan for more than my next-big-hike. I, frankly, don’t want to be gone for four to six months at a time anymore.  Four to six weeks sounds about right.


Currently, my goal in life is the creating of flexibility so I may attain my less time intense goals on a regular basis. Where I can maintain a marriage, a community and a career and still explore the backcountry for an extended period of time.

In the mean-time, I still need my outdoor fix. Working full time, while working towards a goal of more flexible time, means I have vacations that range from one week or, if I am lucky, one month.

These lesser length hikes help maintain my sanity and get my needed outdoor fix.

The type of journeys I enjoy doing in this time frame are different than the usual suspects of the Long Trail, the John Muir Trail or the Wonderland Trail. These more well-known trails are great, but I prefer trails a little more off the beaten path…or perhaps have no path at all.

Here’s some suggestions that may work for people in a similar position.


One Week

The nearly 100 mile long Highline Trail in the Uinta Mountains of Utah,  commonly called the Uinta Highline Trail, takes in glacier carved valleys, is within striking distance of the highest point in Utah and starts in the sage brush and traverses through alpine terrain. The Uinta Mountains themselves are said to have nearly 2000 lakes, contain the largest expanse of above tree line area in the lower 48 second only to Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and is the rare range that goes from east to west.

The trail itself is not defined in many areas and does require a person to pay attention to the terrain ahead of them.  But the rewards of hiking this relatively unused wilderness area, other than Kings Peak itself, are excellent.  A memorable adventure for anyone.


Be sure and check out the second part of the article

16 Responses to 3 Thru-hikes You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job For

  1. tradja February 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Awesome. Good stuff, Mags. Now that I have a haircut and a jobby job, I need ideas like this. We’re looking at the Big SEKI Loop this summer.

  2. AdventureHatOutdoors February 26, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Another great one is the West Coast Trail in British Columbia if you just want a gorgeous 5 day walk 🙂

  3. Anne Rusk February 26, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    I’d love to do a section of the Colorado Trail this summer, but am just starting to figure out where. We’d only have about 4 days and would like to be in the San Juans. So many mountains, so little time.

  4. Jeff McWilliams February 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    I see your posts on BPL, didn’t realize you contributed on here as a T.A. I enjoy reading your stuff. Thanks for the additional trail ideas. My bucket list of trips continues to grow!

  5. Paul Morgan February 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    A nice week long thru hike is the Lone Star Trail north of Houston.

  6. Terry Moore (@tmoorerlc) February 28, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Well the BMT is on my bucket list for 2016. I live in North Carolina so why not!

  7. Grant Mackenzie March 8, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    Awesome article! The GR20 in Corsica, is another great option.

  8. Paul Morris March 10, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    162 mile Cohos Trail should be mentioned. It’s the northern third of New Hampshire to the Canadian border

  9. Lyndon July 10, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    The High Sierra Trail is another good option.

  10. Cole July 30, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    Superior Hiking Trail in northern Minnesota – 296 miles of backwoods awesomeness.

  11. Perry July 30, 2015 at 4:16 am #

    Let us not forget the Pinhoti Trail running from Georgia into Alabama.

  12. Alanyork July 30, 2015 at 5:11 am #

    GSNP end to end is 70 miles of high ridge walking. Easy to get shuttled.Avoid thru-hiker season. Nice east coast week.

  13. JohnG July 31, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    The Cumberland Trail going from the southern border of TN to the northern border of TN is another candidate. About 300 miles when completed, this trail follows the Cumberland mountains and has some beautiful scenery. The first segment has some fabulous TN river views. There are numerous waterfalls almost throughout the trail segments. Unfortunately, there are several disparate segments and a shuttle is required to get from one segment to another.

  14. david longley August 3, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    The Foothills Trail in the high mountains of SC. Gorgeous 77 mile walk…much of it beside the Chattooga River.

    • picky-eating-be-a-signivian August 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      I just did this trail in June. Very beautiful and hard. I would do it again. Took us six days, next time I will take more time and enjoy it more.

  15. judi December 28, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    I did the 160 mile Collegiant Loop in Colorado last summer. Solo. It was amazing. Took me 2 weeks.

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