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Backpacker Magazine – September 2009

Undiscovered Hikes: 19 New Trails

Hike these paths before the masses find them.

by: Kelly Bastone

Ring the Peak Trail, CO (Ben Fullerton)
Ring the Peak Trail, CO (Ben Fullerton)
Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Tim Seaver)
Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Tim Seaver)
Pine Ridge Trail, NE (Tom Till)
Pine Ridge Trail, NE (Tom Till)
Klickitat Trail, WA (Eli Boschetto)
Klickitat Trail, WA (Eli Boschetto)

Footprints Needed: Colorado's Undiscovered Black Canyon
Descend into Colorado's Black Canyon and explore a park that has everything–life-list scenery, challenging terrain, a revitalized river–except hikers.

North Coast Trail, BC
Consider the North Coast Trail–with its rain-soaked ferns and spruce, rock-bound beaches, and deserted sand spits–a crowdless version of its more famous cousin, Vancouver Island's popular West Coast Trail. The 27-mile extension to the Cape Scott Trail, opened last year, traces the coast from Nissen Bight to Shushartie Bay. You'll meander through inland hemlocks, teeter along rocky shorelines, and cross beaches accessible only at low tide. At Stranby and Nahwitti Rivers, you'll cross on pulley-operated cable cars built just for this trail. Time the last day's 7.5-mile hike for low tide, then thread through old-growth forest to the dock at Shushartie Bay.
Info; (250) 949-6888 and for trail shuttles

Moosic Mountain, PA
The Nature Conservancy saved this Pennsylvania peak from development and, since 2008, completed 16 miles of new trails. Low-growing huckleberry and blueberry bushes allow huge views over the Lackawanna Valley. For an eight-mile loop, start on Bruised Ego Trail and follow the Conglomerate Loop as it weaves among lichen-covered boulders and ledges. Continue on the Stonehenge Trail to explore a corridor of tall, towerlike boulders. Then curve west on the Waterfall, High Voltage, and Gene's Trails, descending to a rock ledge overlooking a bog where rhodora blooms fuschia. Some of these trails are so new they were just named in May.

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, AR
Construction began in 2007 for this 44-mile trail, which winds along the southern shores of Lake Ouachita, west of Hot Springs. With 18 miles now complete, you can hike through dogwood groves with views across 40,000 acres of gin-clear water. A two-day, 14.5-mile trek starts at trailhead P1B and ends at Joplin trailhead. Camp at Tompkins Bend (501-767-2108), and look for blue herons, coots, kingfishers, and wintering bald eagles en route.

Ring the Peak Trail, CO
This 80-mile route, when finished, will circumnavigate Pikes Peak and give Colorado an answer to Rainier's Wonderland Trail (a 15-mile gap remains). To sample the newest section, hike five miles between Fourmile Creek and Horsethief Gulch. The path spans Putney Gulch, a broad valley filled with meadows and beaver ponds that remained anonymously off-trail until 2006. Start at Raspberry trailhead and hike south, through the valley, and climb to views of Sentinel Point's distinctive rocks.

Trans-Catalina Trail, CA
Traverse a rugged island just off the Los Angeles coast.

Opened in May, this 37.2-mile path crosses mountainous Catalina Island, where a handful of boating towns dot the shoreline–and nature rules the rest. The route extends from 1,563-foot East Mountain to Starlight Beach, with four campgrounds along the way. Hike 15.6 miles from the Renton Mine Road trailhead to Blackjack Campground; the 1,600-foot perch offers expansive ocean views and likely bison sightings among the eucalyptus and pines. Next day, cruise 12.3 miles, mostly downhill, through Cottonwood Canyon and scrublands that shelter the Catalina quail, to Isthmus Cove. Here, the island measures just a half-mile wide–and hikers can resupply at Two Harbors. Day three, savor solitude along the rocky canyons and open ridgelines of the island's deserted west end; it's an easy three miles to the quiet oceanside camp at Parsons Landing. The last day, continue 4.6 miles to Starlight Beach. Note: Water spigots are provided at all campsites except for Parsons Landing (where you can reserve a 2.5-gallon supply).
Info; (800) 618-5533 (for ferry)

Great Eastern Trail
Two years ago, visionary hikers established an organization with an ambitious goal: complete the 1,800-mile Great Eastern Trail, a collection of paths (about two-thirds built, but many connecting trails still needed) that will run from Alabama to New York. The route, which lies west of the Appalachian Trail and is generally more remote, will ultimately connect some 10,000 miles of trail–the Appalachian, Florida, Potomac Heritage, and North Country Trails. (Info Got a new path of your own? The American Hiking Society funds trail-building projects with annual grants. Check this fall for news on 2010 grants.

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star


Star Star Star
Camping Teen
Mar 04, 2013

Thanks for the new info but you have successfully ruined some of them though.

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Mar 01, 2013

Beautiful scenery minus the crowds means less chance of other hikers finding you if you need help but it can still be a safe and enjoyable hike. Why? Because you read Felix! the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart (Amazon) before you hit the trail. A MUST READ for hikers who love the secret trails! Learn essential day-hiking skills, including items to pack, how to navigate your way with and without a map or compass, and how to get rescued. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and this book makes learning how to use a compass easy. Hike smart with this fast, easy read that could save your life and will definitely make hiking off the beaten path safer and more enjoyable!

Oct 16, 2009

Everyone deserves to hike the trails. Its the experience that becomes your own.

Oct 16, 2009

Are there no backpackers in Alabama?????????????

Oct 16, 2009

Everyone deserves to hike the trails. Its the experience that becomes your own.

Oct 15, 2009

What a selfish lot.

How about taking some time to educate and mentor those interested an less experienced?

Oct 15, 2009

Thanks for leaving Oregon alone. there are'nt any trails let alone new ones here.

Robert Mullin
Oct 15, 2009

Thank you for not listing any in Montana. I know there are not many that are not known by the masses in Montana, but there are a few.

lost & confused
Oct 15, 2009

why must "the masses" be informed of every hidden retreat and sanctuary? i personally am satisfied stumbling upon these places by sheer chance and determination.This announcement may very well be the ruin of many of these listed trails. thanks... thats awesome....

John Giesemann
Oct 05, 2009

Don't forget the Cumberland Trail, the newest state park in Tennessee. When complete, it will go from CHattanooga to Kentucky along the Cumberland Mountains. It has several miles now finished. It is a lovely trail that is generally moderate in nature. There are some beautiful falls and primarily mixed hardwoods along the trails. Several views of the Tennessee River and over gorges line this trail from one end to another. When complete, this trail will certainly add another dimension to the Tennessee mountain trails that will be hard to beat!

Oct 02, 2009

Not undiscovered just not well known but not any more.

Alan K
Oct 02, 2009

They are "discovered." Thanks Backpacker for "announcing" them. Yeah, thanks a lot.

Oct 01, 2009

Shhh! I'm searching out a new secret route to a wonderfully hidden spot near....... (I'll tell you later - I think the whole world is listening) :)

Sep 26, 2009


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