Walking is one of the best ways to explore a new place. That slower pace and perspective on the pitch can make it easier to appreciate a new environment, taking note of the sights, scents, sounds and textures that are easily missed at a faster clip.
In Europe, many indulge in this style of travel with multi-day long-distance walking vacations, as they are called, that involve full-day treks from a night hostel to an overnight stay. other. Thanks to the luggage transportation provided by tour operators and guiding services, the bags are already in hostels when guests arrive each night, ready for a hot shower and a comfortable bed. extra layers.
And now these hostel-to-hostel hikes have started popping up in the United States. While there aren’t as many options, the routes that do exist offer a chance to slow down, get out and explore the various terrains of the country. Below are some of our favorite European-style hostel-to-hostel hiking routes in the United States.
With its lush forests, snow-capped peaks, icy blue alpine lakes and abundant elk herds, Rocky Mountain National Park offers a typical Colorado getaway. Explore the 415 square mile park on foot, then retreat to comfortable private cabanas or lodge rooms each night with a lodge-to-lodge hike organized by Footpaths of the World. Although the hike is self-guided, meaning groups walk on their own and at their own pace, owners David and Phebe Novic do all of the heavy lifting to make sure the trip is a success. The Novics, who have hiked all over Europe and Nepal and also own the Warming House outdoor retail store in Estes Park, offer baggage transport, packed lunches, maps and waypoints GPS, hiking poles and breakfast each morning.
Trips range from three to six nights, with each hiking day covering seven to 11 miles of the Walter Tishma Way, a 42-mile route named after a deceased Bosnian man who moved to the United States after WWII and is fell in love with the local mountains, especially those in Rocky Mountain National Park (he climbed Longs Peak, the park’s tallest mountain, more than 100 times, according to the Novics). Inns along the trail include an intimate guesthouse, several historic lodges, and simple motel-style accommodation. While walking, hikers can expect to encounter waterfalls, alpine meadows, and scenic scenic views of the Rockies (plus, if they’re lucky, wildlife at a safe distance).
The Rogue River begins in the Cascades and winds 215 miles through southern Oregon before finally emptying into the Pacific Ocean. Rustic lodges and a century-old mining supply trail along the river banks make this the perfect location for a European-style lodge-to-lodge hike with a twist: hikers’ luggage is stowed in waterproof bags and transported by river raft. As an added bonus, travelers can still float with their luggage if they need a break from walking.