Taxis/Shuttles/Public Transportation< Back to Backpacking Info
When I have done long distance hikes in the past I have usually driven my vehicle to the start of the hike and started from there. On some occasions I have taken buses and then cabs to a given hike. I have taken Amtrak trains to the northeast along with buses once or twice. I have never flown to a given hike only because the cost was too high when one factored in a rental car. I've wanted to try and utilize Southwest Airlines occasional $69 one way fares and a rental car but they never seemed to offer that deal at the time that I was planning a hike.
One observation that I have made over the years is that the New England states seem to have a more robust public and private bus system to get people around than the Mid Atlantic or Southeastern States do. I was able to take buses all over Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. And a lot of those buses have bathrooms on them. I am not familiar with the bus systems in the middle of the U.S nor on the west coast. But I think that New England is tops for getting around by bus.
So one can fly, take a bus, drive or even take a cab to the start of a log distance hike. Do the research and pick the best way and price.
If you drive to a long distance hike that is a linear hike, you need some way to get from your vehicle to the other side of the trail to start your hike. If you and a fellow hiker both have a car, you have a shuttle vehicle. If not, you will need a shuttle of some sort. I wouldn't advise parking your car, doing a linear hike and then trying to get a shuttle back to your vehicle. Too many things that could go wrong that way. Park your vehicle at the finish end of the trail, then take a shuttle to the start of the trail. Or you could take a shuttle from a bus station, airport or motel to the start point of your hike and hike back to a town that has other means to get you back home. Most long distance trail web sites list individuals that will shuttle you to various points along a long distance trail. Their costs vary. But at one time the going rate was one dollar a mile, which included the distance from the provider's start point to you as well as the shuttle distance traveled. If gas prices are high at a given time, then the rate may be higher. I have utilized shuttle drivers a number of times on my past long distance hikes.
Though they may not be available in rural areas, Uber and Lyft have recently become a way to get to a long distance hike. I have not used them personally but they are an additional resource that one can utilize to get to a long distance hike. Another possibility to consider if you are flying to and/or from your hiking destination is supershuttle.com . This service is available in most major metropolitan areas that have a major airport.
I have not done this personally but I once read about a couple that utilized a 'water shuttle' to get them across The Susquehanna River on the Mason-Dixon Trail in Maryland because the US 40 Bridge over the Susquehanna between Havre de Grace and Perryville, MD did not (and I believe still does not) have provisions for foot traffic across that bridge. The Appalachian Trail Conference provides a canoe 'water ferry' across the Kennebec River in Maine for AT hikers. So keep water shuttles in mind as a way to get to or from a long distance hike or get shuttled or ferried along a long distance hike.
When it comes to hitch hiking I had never hitch hiked in my life until I started section hiking the AT. It takes guts to stick out your thumb the first time on a road. But people that live near long distance trails are used to seeing hikers trying to hitch rides to and from a trail to a nearby town and will generally stop and give you a ride. Usually, they will make you get into the bed of their pickup truck so they won't have to smell you. And, in my opinion, people are more apt to pick you up in the south than in the northern states. I remember giving rides into Front Royal, VA to smelly thru hikers when I lived there back in the seventies. They were very interesting to talk to. There is a danger factor here as bad things could happen when hitch hiking. If I were a female and was hiking alone I probably would not hitch hike. But I have personally hitch hiked both alone and with one other hiker while section hiking the AT. And I have been successful and have had no issues. And I have not hitch hiked since. I have mixed feelings about this method of getting to, from and around a long distance trail. But it is available as a transportation method.
Know of any other taxis, shuttles or public transportation information that would help those planning a long distance hike? If so, please Contact Me. I will list your information here and give you credit for the contribution.
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