Backpacking From an Amtrak Station

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Skim, Nov 2, 2014.

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  1. Nov 2, 2014 #1

    Skim

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    Does Amtrak have any stations one can reasonably hike and camp from? Not drive to a campsite, not find a site with electricity or any other modern services, but actually backpack from the station itself to a natural site within 5-10 miles at most? If so, it's an adventure waiting to happen.
     
  2. Nov 2, 2014 #2

    neroden

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    I think there are a couple of Metro-North stations on the Hudson Line in that category.
     
  3. Nov 2, 2014 #3

    Tumbleweed

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  4. Nov 2, 2014 #4

    FrensicPic

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    On the Coast Starlight, Dunsmuir, CA in Siskiyou County (although not the 5-10 miles you mention but, Mt. Shasta is in the vicinity).

    Another would be Chemult, OR in Klamath County, also served by the Coast Starlight.

    Some New Mexico/Colorado stops on the Southwest Chief might serve your interests as well.
     
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  5. Nov 2, 2014 #5

    PaulM

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    A few years ago I son and two grand children took the CZ from Denver to Winter Park/Fraser, hitch hiked to the start of a trail just outside of town, and then backpacked over the continental divide to, I believe, Estes Park.

    There may also be trails heading south that are closer to the WIP station.
     
  6. Nov 2, 2014 #6

    Guest

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    Leavenworth, WA, and three stops next to Glacier National Park on the Empire Builder route are possibilities.
     
  7. Nov 3, 2014 #7

    Dovecote

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    The C & O Canal Towpath http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service offers primitive camping along the Potomac River. Huckleberry Hill campsite is about a 3 mile hike from the Harpers Ferry train station. You reach the Towpath by crossing the Potomac River on the Appalachian Trail (AT) footbridge. Once you descend the spiral staircase head west along the river to the campsite. Heading east you will be jointly on the Towpath and the AT for around 3 miles. From that point, if continuing on the AT away from the river, it is another 3 miles or so to the Ed Garvey Shelter and camping area. Camping is allowed only at designated sites in Maryland.

    To the OP, I lived in Harpers Ferry for around ten years and I am an avid backpacker. PM me if you have any specific questions if you decide to choose this station for your trip.
     
  8. Nov 3, 2014 #8

    Guest

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    Nice thread idea. I think Bellingham, Washington might fit the bill. There's a trail that runs south of there that goes to a state park called Larrabee Park, it's right on the water, then campgrounds and trails are above it in the forested hills. Not sure how far it is but as far as I know there's a trail. Would be worth looking into. Very beautiful area.
     
  9. Nov 3, 2014 #9
    Another recommendation would be the Truckee, CA stop on the Zephyr. The Lake Tahoe trail system should be hikeable from there.
     
  10. Nov 3, 2014 #10
    Yes definitely the east and west Glacier stops (more so the east I think). Truckee as well.
     
  11. Nov 3, 2014 #11

    oregon pioneer

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    As mentioned above, Dunsmuir CA is a beautiful area. Here's a nice, detailed article recently published by the Sacramento newspaper:

    -- but it does not mention camping near town.
     
  12. Nov 3, 2014 #12
  13. Nov 3, 2014 #13

    Karl1459

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    Essex Montana would have to be close to the top of the list. Sandwiched between Glacier National Park to the north and National Forest to the south. The Glacier Park Walton ranger station is within one mile of Essex with an extensive trail system into the park.

    Leavenworth Washington is surounded on three sides of National Forest and should have good possibilities. Truckee California is also surrounded by a National Forest
     
  14. Nov 3, 2014 #14
    Without looking closely, some of the Wisconsin stations might be close to picking up the Ice Age Trail and in (far) southern Illinois there might be some trails near stations into the hillier portion of the state. Vermont might also have some as might other trains through the Appalachian Mountains.

    Looks like the ice age trail crosses the EB route a couple times and Carbondale is right next to a large state park which is quite scenic and hilly for Illinois.
     
  15. Nov 3, 2014 #15

    FormerOBS

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    These additional towns have Amtrak service and are fairly close to the Appalachian Trail:

    Roanoke, VA (currently a bus connection; future plans for direct rail service)

    Charlottesville, VA

    Rutland, VT

    White River Junction, VT

    You'd need to do further investigation to find nearby campsites, but I'm sure there are some.

    Tom
     
  16. Nov 3, 2014 #16

    Shortpants

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    Copied from my post in this thread a while ago:

    I might be able to help out with camping options on the Amtrak routes in VT, I think. I have lived in VT for 43 years, an avid camper, and the State Parks in our state are outstanding, if I do say so myself. :) Pretty much every developed campground in the VT State Park system has hot showers (pay), flush toilets, potable water spigots, and firewood available at site. There are parks that have some primitive sites with no services, and of course the hiking trails are abundant here in VT, and some have shelters or dispersed camping areas (free) available for overnight camping on the trails or in the National Forests. I'll just cover the State Parks in this post though, otherwise we'd be here all day listing out all the amazing camping options in our beautiful Green Mountains. On to the routes/camping options:

    Ethan Allen:

    Castleton, VT - About 5 miles from the Amtrak station is Bomoseen State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations), there are convenience stores and restaurants in a 5 mile radius from the park. Bomoseen park is right on the lake and is very nice, some wooded sites and some open sites, and even a few waterfront ones. They also have a snack bar and boat rentals at the beach. I believe there is a public transit bus that runs through here (The Bus) for Castleton State College, but not sure of where the stops are.

    Rutland, VT - The Amtrak station in Rutland is in the main downtown area, it's actually right next door to a Walmart plaza. The same public transit bus (The Bus) runs out of downtown to pretty much anywhere you would want to go in the Rutland County area. One of the routes goes up over Mendon Mtn to Killington and intersects the Long Trail, so hiking is pretty big in this area. There is Gifford Woods State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) in Killington, a short walk down Rte 100 from the intersection of Rte 4 and 100 where the bus runs. Gifford is a very nice park also, they even have cabins available there, as well as the usual tent sites and lean to sites. There is a small-ish pond across the street from the park for boating, fishing and swimming. There is a convenience store at the intersection of Rte 4 and 100, and some restaurants about a mile away in the Killington resort area.

    Vermonter:

    Brattleboro, Vt - About a mile from the Brattleboro Amtrak station is Fort Dummer State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations). I haven't actually been to this park, so I can't give you first hand details. There's no lake/pond at this park, but there is a short trail that goes direct to a local swimming hole. About 2-3 miles from the park is the downtown area with shopping, restaurants and the like.

    Bellows Falls, VT - There are no State Parks close to this station. Townshend State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) is about 40 minutes away (driving) and Jamaica State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) is about an hour away (driving). I haven't been to Townshend, but have been to Jamaica and thought it was one of the best campgrounds I have ever been to. It sits right on the West River and they have lean to sites that are right next to the river, so nice to listen to while laying in your tent at night. But I think the only way to get there would be to rent a car.

    Claremont, NH - The Amtrak station here is in a relatively residential area, the shopping centers and downtown area are a few miles away. The closest VT State Park is Wilgus Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) about 10 miles away. This park sits right on the Connecticut River, so very popular for boating and fishing. Canoe and kayaks are available at the park. They have cabins at this park as well. Also close by is Mt. Ascutney State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) that has a campground as well and features many hiking options.

    Windsor, VT - See Claremont, NH above. Windsor is about 10-12 miles (10-15 minutes) Northwest of Claremont, so same camping options for this stop.

    White River Jct, VT - Quechee Gorge State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) is the closest park to the WRJ station about 6-8 miles away. This park is right on Vermont's deepest gorge, and is pretty cool to see, and has great boating, fishing and swimming as well as hiking/walking trails through and around the gorge. The gorge is one of the more "touristy" areas of VT, but still fun to see and there are plenty of amenities nearby.

    Randolph, VT - This station is right "downtown" in Randolph, but there aren't any camping options right close by. Good place to stop en route for supplies as stores are right next to the station. Oh, there is a Chinese food restaurant across the street from the station that will bring you a takeout order right to the platform if you call ahead though, that's pretty cool! LOL! Otherwise, the closest State Park is Silver Lake Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations), and although that park is absolutely beautiful, it's about 20 miles away and Rte 12 to the park is closed for bridge construction from that side this summer, so the detour would be a bit longer.

    Montpelier, VT - Our State Capital! And the smallest state capital in the United States. The train station here is a bit off the beaten path though, it's about 2-4 miles to the downtown area and the Capital Building from the station. The closest state campgrounds here are the Groton State Forest group of parks (Stillwater, Kettle Pond, Ricker Pond, New Discovery and Big Deer), but those are about 30 miles/40 minutes away. Absolutely gorgeous parks and lake I must say. The bonus with Groton Forest is that if you are camping at one park, admission is free to all other Groton parks, so there is quite a bit to explore here.

    Waterbury, VT - The station here is right on Main St in Waterbury, and Little River State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations) is a little over 5 miles from the station. Another beautiful park, right on Waterbury Reservoir for swimming, fishing and boating. They also have the camping cabins at this park. Close by is Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory and Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and about 20 miles away is Stowe, a big "touristy" area with all kinds of activities and food options.

    Essex Jct, VT - No State Park camping options *real* close by here. There is Underhill State Park about 30-40 minutes to the Northeast andMt Philo State Park about 30-40 minutes to the Southwest. There are probably many more private camping options here due to the proximity to Burlington, VT (our biggest city) and Lake Champlain.

    St Albans, VT - Ok, this is where it gets FUN! LOL! A mere 6-7 miles from the Amtrak station is Burton Island State Park (click here for info/interactive park map/reservations), this place should be on everyone's bucket list! This is a private island in Lake Champlain that is only accessible by boat, and the entire island is a State Park for tent camping only. It has all the amenities of the main land parks, including showers and a park store/food service area. You can take a 10 min ferry to the island from Kill Kare Park, or provide/rent your own boat and go on your own. This is obviously a very popular park, rightly so, I recommend reserving early to get a site here as they are often sold out as soon as reservations open for the season. Also available through Burton Island Park is Woods Island State Park, a remote, boat access only (must provide your own craft, no ferry) private island campground a short distance north of Burton Island. Woods Island is a more primitive camping, pit toilets and no potable water on the island.

    So there it is in a nutshell! Please let me know if I can provide any more info on anything. More than glad to help! As you can see I am VERY proud of our State Parks here in VT. I've been camping in them my whole life and NEVER had a bad experience or bad campground/campsite. The weather here in July is pretty moderate, and depending on where you are, might just fit the 80 degree limit perfectly. Being on the water somewhere or deeper in the woods/on a mountain would certainly be up to 5-15 degrees cooler than the "city" areas. Hope my novel on camping in VT helped! Have fun planning your adventures!


    Hope that helps in some way!
     
  17. Nov 3, 2014 #17

    Guest

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    Las Vegas NM and Raton NM each appear to have NM state parks with camping facilities about a 5 mile walk from the Amtrak station.

    Guest
     
  18. Nov 3, 2014 #18
    Vancouver, Canada. From the Skytrain station which is 200 yards from the train station you can get transit to the North West, North or North East that will take you within a mile of trailheads heading into various Provincial and Municipal parks. you can even stop along the way at a grocery/sporting goods store and then get on the next bus with no extra cost as the transit ticket is time based. Any Google map will show you both the parks and the transit routes needed. The major caveat is this is the wrong time of the year as far as weather goes as all the best parks are either close to the snowline or will be above the snowline in a couple of weeks. April through mid October are the prime times.
     
  19. Nov 4, 2014 #19

    BCL

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    Well - of course you can book a trip to Yosemite, but that's via bus and it's really YARTS and not an Amtrak California bus. Take your pick of campgrounds at Yosemite Valley, including Upper/Lower/North Pines, Camp 4, or the Valley backpackers' campground.

    And of course that's your starting point for a real backpacking trip. You could either try to reserve ahead of time or wait in line to try and get a permit.

    The hard part is finding a place where backpacking is actually allowed, if you're referring to primitive camping where you just set up a tent "wherever". Or at least where I've done it, it's strongly suggested not to clear an area that hasn't been used before.

    Close to where I live, it's actually less than five miles from the Berkeley Amtrak station to both group campgrounds at Tilden Regional Park. They're not really individual campsites though. I heard it's $100, and doesn't make sense to reserve unless you're talking a large group of maybe 5-10 families.
     
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  20. Nov 5, 2014 #20

    neroden

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  21. Nov 6, 2014 #21

    Skim

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    Thanks for all the responses. Raton looks especially promising, and when it warms up, Harpers Ferry and many of the other eastern options. I do wish there was more on the Sunset Limited. Nothing like a warm winter getaway.
     
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  22. Nov 6, 2014 #22

    FrensicPic

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    As for the Sunset Limited...perhaps Benson, AZ, Alpine, TX? Not familiar with the areas but, they are "small" towns and surrounded by open space (probably ranch vs recreational lands).
     
  23. Nov 6, 2014 #23

    BCL

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    If you want to be practical, then you've got plenty of options if you're willing to transfer to a bus. If it's a theoretical question of where you can get off a train and walk to a trailhead, then it's going to be a bit more difficult.

    I wouldn't say they're mutually exclusive, but terrain does make it a little more difficult to set up tracks. Even near the Sierra Nevada, the main lines are going through the Central Valley and not lengthwise. There is Donner Pass though.
     
  24. Nov 10, 2014 #24

    gmushial

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    Although Dunsmuir was mentioned w/re the CS, what wasn't mentioned was: the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) crosses I-5 and thus the UP ROW 3 mi south of town (at the Soda Creek exit off of I-5)... at that point one is approx. 1000 trail miles south of the Canadian border and 1600 trail miles north of the Mexican border, ie, if you really feel the need to stretch the legs: there is a big piece of trail just waiting. Also, Dunsmuir is one of the nominal resupply points on the PCT, ie, arrive with a foodless pack, pick and choose what one wants to eat, and then head out for an adventure.
     

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