The Road Less Traveled

Even the road sections are pretty

A pleasant GPT road section in Nebraska

We posted this topic recently on Facebook, but I also wanted to open up a wider discussion to any and all potential GPT hikers out there.  Like the North Country Trail, The American Discovery Trail, and the Ice Age Trail, The GPT will incorporate a fair amount of road in order to connect with existing trails.  The goal will always be more trail and less road, and there is plenty of time for that evolution to occur.  However, the simple fact is that roads will need to be used.

Great care has been taken to select the most scenic and least used roads possible.  They are generally dirt roads, and having traveled many of them personally, I find them about as enjoyable as a road can possibly be.  Many of them in the plains region are extremely lightly traveled by vehicles, and at times, many hours passed between cars or trucks.

That said, what are some thoughts out there on road hiking?  Have you taken a long road hike before?  What are the disadvantages, and are there any advantages?

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About greatplainstrail

Building the Great Plains Trail.
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4 Responses to The Road Less Traveled

  1. JunkChuck says:

    I haven’t, but I’ve been on a dirt road in the plains before–albeit in my car–and it was pretty much a day spent alone. I think of your trail, and it occurs to me that once it really starts coming together my only hope, as slow as I am on the trail, of seeing significant portions of it will be by bicycle: riding on the roads, maybe pushing in places and using it almost like a cart, whatever it takes. What might foul this up in the inclusion of trails that don’t allow bicycles. That said, I wouldn’t worry too much about what’s been done before–smash the paradigm. The bike/walk hybrid sticks in my head, too, because–man–after a few hours on a bike my butt is killing me! Getting off and walking is a treat.

  2. Shepherd says:

    Having recently done a portion of the Great Eastern Trail and some of its trail and road walking, I rather enjoy road walking. This is especially the case when a trail is not receiving much attention and has few or no maintainers. I would rather walk down a scenic road than walk down some of the footpath I used on the Finger Lakes Trail network, where the trail appeared to have been completely abandoned and could barely be called a trail. Better I think to concentrate efforts on small pieces of well-built and well-maintained footpath at first, and to maintain or improve existing trails that will be used for the Great Plains Trail. The roads are already there and are already maintained, and if cars are very scarce then some roads can practically be seen as footpaths if there is no automobile traffic in sight.

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