View Full Version : novice advice

2003-02-03, 22:51
I am interested in hiking/walking from central Illinois to Washington, D.C. I realize that such a hike is perhaps uncommon, but nonetheless I would appreciate any responses that include advice on how to plan such a trip, calculating such factors as distance, time and scheduling, necessary supplies, etc. Unsurprisingly, as one might gather from my line of inquiry, I have never made such a trek, or any long-distance trek, so any insights one might provide are very welcome!
Thanks and all best,
Nino Selvaggio

P.S. Also, if anyone would be able to project for me a distance and time-frame calculation for a direct, non-stop (sleep, eating, resting, etc. included) hike from central Illinois to Washington, D.C. in order to give me a general idea of the seriousness of such a trek...that would be great!

SGT Rock
2003-02-04, 00:20
Wow, I guess a lot depends on what route you intend to use. Are you planning to hitch or walk?

I don't know of a trail that goes that way, so I assum you are walking. road walking I would bet you could start at about 15 miles per day and get into the 20's easy because most roads have an easy grade. Of course you would stay off the interstates and use more rural routes, in that cast you would need a road map and a plan.

A lot of the places you would go thru wouldn't want you camping near there, so that would present a problem.

As to distance. I would guess about 600-700 miles depending on your route.

2003-02-04, 00:46
Thanks for the quick reply and advice...as for our route...not sure yet. We are in the very early planning stages of our trip, so any further advice that you might have regarding safety tips, where we might camp out, books that are a good for starters, name of specific road maps that are helpful for planning such trips, etc.

Your comments were very useful!

Cheers, Nino

2003-02-04, 03:06
Don't forget that hitchhikers tend to get arrested in Illinois. But there have been a few folks that came through to promote some charity or other. Including riding lawnmowers, canoeing and hikeing. I don't know how to go about searching for some of those stories but maybe your local newspaper could help, or the library. I'd think one of the hard parts would be getting by vagrancy laws. Also water in the midwest is generally poisonous, and neither filter nor treatment can cure that. You might wind up relying on deep wells(I.E. farmers) or municipal scources.

SGT Rock
2003-02-04, 10:35
I assume you aren't from around here :D

Rand Mc Nally is a good road map, you can get them for seperate states or a book with the entire US in it. The also have a web site: http://www.randmcnally.com/

The maps list state and national parks where you are likely to find places you can camp without getting hassled. My best guess is to figure where these parks are enroute to DC then figure a good way to get to each without using interstates.

2003-02-04, 11:11
You might also look at routes of people who have bicycled cross-country along your general route. I imagine they found the least-traveled, most scenic roads, as well as places to camp, though their campsites would be spaced further apart than a hiker would need. Your trek has probably been done by bicycle far more often then by foot, assuming you plan to mostly stay on roads.

2003-02-04, 17:23
Check out the American Discovery Trail at

THere are two ADT trails through Illinois: a norhtern route south of Chicago and a Southern Route. The two converge near Ohio and follow a single trail through West VA, Maryland and into D.C. Part of the way it uses the C&O Canal trail. The ADT crosses the Appalachian Trail in Harpers Ferry. Using the ADT allows you to avoid extensive road walking...

good luck with your journey...

2003-02-04, 18:03
I would just like to thank everyone who has taken the time to post their comments. You all have been truly informative and helpful. Given the high quality of the responses, I definitely will recommend this web site to anybody with similar interests. Keep up the superb exchange!!
All best,

2008-11-03, 21:57
How far west does the ADT extend as of 11/3/08? I am interested in hiking east from TX and then getting on the AT. -SunnyWalker

2008-11-06, 02:45
YOu could try Google Earth for back roads as well.... I do think walking on pavement is tougher on your feet than walking on dirt/grass.
There is also the C&O Trail from outskirts of Pittsburgh to DC. It might really be worth checking into.

2008-11-06, 22:43
I agree with Deb. W. -check bike trails. Many states, I know mine is one, have bike trails that go across the entire state on old railroad track beds. The grade is never steep. Full of bikers and hikers. I bet there are some in Ohio and along the Erie Canal old route.