Eighteen days is the average, but of course some thru-hikers have completed the trail much faster (see below). According to Naismith’s rule, the average person hikes three miles an hour, with an additional hour factored in for every 2,000 feet of ascent. Assuming an eight hour day, the average person will hike the 358-mile Long Path in eighteen days, with an average of twenty miles a day.
Curious about other thru-hikes? Check out our other posts in this series:
Ken Posner holds the current record. In 2013, he ran the trail in nine days, three hours, and six minutes.
Since 2013, an average of seven hikers have completed the trail per year.
The Long Path begins in New York City and travels northward to John Boyd Thacher State Park in Voorheesville, a suburb of Albany, New York. Along the way, it provides access to some of the most stunning geographical features of New York. Moving south to north, below are a list of places you will encounter along the trail:
Most people hike the trail from south to north. Although the trail is generally hikeable year-round, fall is an especially beautiful time. If hiking in the wintertime, or even into the springtime, be prepared for snow, ice, and further into spring, mud. Also, for your safety, please do not hike during the hunting season.
In 1931, Vincent J. Schaefer conceived of the idea of an unmarked trail which would serve as a parallel to the recently constructed “Long Trail” in Vermont and connect various points of interest throughout the state of New York.
He named it “The Long Path” after a line in the Walt Whitman poem Song of the Open Road: "There lies before me a long brown path, leading wherever I choose.”
During World War II, the project was set aside. In the 1960’s, Robert Jessen and Michael Warren revived the project, albeit with the intention of making it a traditional marked trail. Major construction occured in the 80s and 90s, and the trail continues to evolve today.
If you want to hike a segment of The Long Path and are wondering where to begin, the three hikes outlined below can give you a sense of the beauty and variety that the trail has to offer.
This hike ascends High Tor in High Tor State Park, a part of the Hudson Palisades. From its summit, you are able to see out in all directions, with views of the Hudson River and the town of Haverstraw.
This hike takes you to the Verkeerderkill Falls at Sam’s Point Preserve, a highlight of the northern Shawangunks. Along the way it passes blueberry bushes, forested area, and the stream Verkeerder Kill.
This hike ascends Vroman’s Nose in the Schoharie Creek Valley. From its summit you can see excellent views of the surrounding valley.
Backpacker’s resident thru-hiker Liz “Snorkel” Thomas estimates that the minimum cost of a thru-hike is $2 per mile, not including gear and transportation. This would make the cost to hike The Long Path a minimum of $770.
Campsites are available along some, but not all, segments of The Long Path. The two listed below are easily accessible from the trail.
219 sites, showers, toilets
Cost: $22, reservations recommended
Critters to watch out for: bugs, mice, porcupines
30 sites, showers
Critters to watch out for: bugs, mice
Although not official campsites, many areas along the trail do allow camping, including DEC land in the Shawangunks and state land in the Catskills and State Reforestation Areas.
How long does it take to hike the Long Path? OK, so let’s recap: it takes about 18 days to hike New York's famous thru-hike, the Long Path. The best time to hike the Long Path is by starting in the south and hiking north. The fall is probably the best time to go in terms of favourable weather and beautiful scenery. The winter is best avoided, lest you're an experienced hiker. Budget around $1,000, but you’ll probably need a bit more just to be safe. =ZIP=