50 Hikes. 50 States.
A project to hike one hike in every state in the U.S.
Lucky. I live in a beautiful country filled with millions of miles of trails through thousands of beautiful places organized around 50 states. As a resident of the United States, I am more than lucky to have the freedom to move around this great country to explore its grandeur. And now, I’m off to see it again.
50 States by 35
By 35, I had visited all 50 states. I grew up in family with a father who insisted I see the US before I ventured into other countries. Our family vacations put my sister and me in the back of the car as my dad bulleted the car as fast as he could from point A to point B on our two-week long family vacations each summer.
We’d leave from San Diego and head north or east–the only two choices available to us–and journey for a week then turn around. The only things I really saw during the trip were my sister’s dirty look. We would draw a line with shoe string in the back seat of the car.
Her side. My side.
Crossing the line with even a pinky resulted in fights and nastiness. The bickering bellowed from the back seat non-stop. One time my dad even threw us out off the car and made us walk. Along the highway. In the heat. We had to promise to “be good” before we could get back in the car.
Recently, I stumbled upon my old journals and found evidence of this crazy memory. It simply stated, “Dad was mad. He threw us out of the car and made us walk.”
The Beginning of a Travel Writing Career
But they were great times.
My journal of gas prices, national parks, swimming pools and meals launched my writing career. It’s fun to look back and see how mad mom and dad were or how much a Big Mac cost. The miles flew by on some days, dragged on others. If we fell asleep, dad would pull the car over and demand we wake up. After all, we were there to SEE the country, not sleep through it. He was a bit of a tyrant, but his heart was in the right place.
Through these family trips from San Diego to Vancouver, San Diego to Wyoming, and San Diego to West Virginia, we clicked off about 35 states. I picked the rest of them up through business travel or personal visits to friends.
To the World and Beyond!
From there, I jumped into the rest of the world and covered over 50 countries by the time I was 50. I’m currently at 57 countries. But after my jaunt through Latin America for 5 months, I discovered I missed my beautiful U.S.A. and decided that It’s time to revisit this amazing land, again. Thus, I launch my 50 Hikes 50 States Project.
50 Hikes 50 States Project
Here’s the goal: to hike one hike in each state over the next two years. How will we do it?
My wonderful husband has a companion pass on Southwest Airlines, so we’ll fly Southwest as often as we can. He’ll come with me on most trips. We’ll do 2-4 states every time we land, and we should be able to do one trip a month. The only state we won’t be able to do via Southwest is Alaska. We’ll fly someone else for that trip.
We’ll stay in a combination of AirBnBs or hotels we book through Travelocity, and we’ll rent cars or use public transit to get around.
Who Are We?
I am in my early fifties, fit, active, and I walk 16000 steps a day. He is in his late fifties, fit, active, and bikes regularly. We are not super athletes. We have knee problems, toe problems, and hearing problems. We like a good hike which is 4-6 miles long, has some elevation, allows for some gain (where we might use poles), and affords great views. We’re not scramblers, extremists, or record breakers. We just want to get out on the trail and enjoy some fresh air.
How Do I Pick Our Hikes?
I started this project by reading Outside magazines 50 trail recommendations. I then combined that with several similar lists, added in Southwest airport geography, and routed logistics so we could knock out 2-4 hikes each time we fly and not end up driving more than 3 hours to a trailhead. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s certainly not perfect.
Here’s Our Rough Itinerary and Where We’ll Hike
Below is our rough itinerary. I’ve researched hikes near our airport geography, but I’m quickly learning that logistics can get in the way. We’ve had to change our plans many times already. Thank heavens for Google and a Pixel 3!
|Date||Season||State||Airport City||Name of Trail|
|Valley of Fire|
Indiana Sand Dunes
|July 2019||Summer||Connecticut||Boston||AT Lions Head to Bear Mountain (Could’t find trail!)|
|July 218||Summer||Massachusetts||Boston||Bash Bish Falls|
|August 2019||Summer||Montana||Billings||Four Dances|
|August 2019||Summer||Wyoming||south pass city||South Pass City Loop|
|August 2020||Fall||Colorado||Denver||South Valley Trail|
|February 2020||Winter||Utah||Denver||Fisher Towers|
|September 2019||Fall||New Jersey||Philadelphia||great swamp national wildlife refuge orange trail|
|September 2019||Fall||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||tyler state park|
|September 2019||Fall||New York||Philadelphia||Harriman State Park|
|November 2019||Fall||Ohio||Cincinnati||Mt Airy|
|November 2019||Fall||West Virginia||Cincinnati||Beech Fork State Park|
|April 2020||Fall||Texas||Atlanta State Park|
|February 2020||Fall||Utah||Denver||Fisher Towers|
|August 2020||Fall||Maryland||Washington DC||C&O Canal|
|August 2020||Fall||Virginia||Washington DC||Prince William Forest Park|
|December 2019||Winter||Mississippi||New Orleans||Sand Hill Crane NWR|
|December 2019||Winter||Louisiana||New Orleans||Barataria Preserve trails of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park|
|January 2020||Winter||Alabama||New Orleans||Dauphin Island|
|January 2020||Winter||Florida||Tampa||Cape Canaveral NS|
|February 2020||Winter||Texas||Little Rock||Atlanta State Park|
|February 2020||Winter||New Mexico||Santa Fe||Rio Grande Norte NM|
|March 2020||Spring||Hawaii||Honolulu||Kalala Trail|
|April 2020||Spring||South Carolina||Atlanta||Yellow Branch Falls|
|February 2020||Spring||Georgia||Tampa||Okefenokee Swamp|
|November 2019||Fall||Kentucky||Lexington||Jefferson Memorial Forest|
|April 2020||Spring||Arkansas||Little Rock||Hot Springs NP|
|June 2020||Summer||North Dakota||Bismark, ND||Teddy Roosevelt NP|
|June 2020||Summer||South Dakota||Rapid City||Notch Trail|
|July 2020||Summer||Minnesota||Duluth, MN||Superior Hiking Trail|
|July 2020||Summer||Michigan||Grand Rapids||Presque Isle River Trailhead|
|July 2020||Summer||Wisconsin||Madison, WI||Apostle Islands National Lakeshore|
|February 2020||Winter||Arizona||Phoenix||Water Wheel Trail|
|August 2020||Summer||Delaware||DC||Cape Henlopen|
|September 2020||Summer||Vermont||Manchester, NH||Mount Peg Summit Hike|
|September 2020||Summer||New Hampshire||Portland, ME||Franconia Ridge Trail|
|September 2020||Summer||Maine||Potland, ME||Cadillac Mountain|
|October 2020||Fall||Kansas||Denver||Castle Rock|
|October 2020||Fall||Nebraska||Denver||Saddle Rock Trail|
|November 2020||Fall||Idaho||Boise||Hell’s Canyon|
|December 2020||Fall||Iowa||Dubuque, IA||Effigy Mounds|
|March 2021||Winter||California||San Diego||John Muir Trail (portion)|
|January 2021||Winter||Oregon||Portland, OR||Trail of Ten Falls|
|January 2021||Winter||Washington||Vancouver BC||Yellow Aster Butte|
|July 2020||Spring||North Carolina||Hendersonville||Cove Creek|
|July 2020||Spring||Tennessee||Knoxville||West Prong Trail|
|July 2021||Summer||Alaska||Seward||Harding Icefield Trail|
|TBD||Fall||Oklahoma||Oklahoma City||Antelope and Buffalo Springs Trail|
|November 2019||Fall||Missouri||St Louis||Lewis & Clark Tail|
See you on the trail,