READER EXPERTS Jeff Chow North Potomac, MD
Tough gig: Chow spent 10 months mapping every mile of the Appalachian Trail. See GPS tracks and tips at backpacker.com/at Favorite hike The AT (natch) through Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness
Steven Roy Milton, MA Favorite hike Appalachian Trail through Mahoosuc Notch, ME
Nicholas Minute Middleburgh, NY Favorite hike Montour Falls section of the Finger Lakes Trail, NY
1. Best foliage: Camel’s Hump
Vermont’s third highest peak has 10 acres of tundra on top, a nice pad to scan the kaleidoscope of turning maples and oaks below. Hit the 2.4-mile Burrows Trail in October’s second week.
2. Alpine day: Bonds-Twins linkup
Top six 4,000-footers (the Bonds, Twins, and Mt. Guyot) on a 16.6-mile point-to-point from NH 112 to US 3.
3. Mega megafauna: Baxter SP
“If you don’t see a moose on this hike, then your guide dog will,” jokes Roy. Leave Roaring Brook Campground for a seven-mile hike to Bullwinkle-infested Russell Pond.
4. Favorite basecamp: Wild River Campground
Five trails meet near the entrance, and trout rise within walking distance. Its 12 sites are first-come, first-served.
5. Favorite weekend: The Great Range
Some do this 25-mile greatest-hits loop through Adirondack Park’s High Peaks region in a day. Blasphemy. Savor it. Day one is huge: You’ll hit seven peaks higher than 4,000 feet, then top 5,344-foot Mt. Marcy, the highest point in the state, before camping in Panther Gorge. Hike out on day two.