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Red dots represent planned portions of the route; green dots are completed trail sections.

Long distance hikers and backpackers looking for a new challenge beyond the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails should take a look at the (still incomplete) Mountains to Sea Trail in North Carolina. One hiker, Scot Ward, recently made the 930-mile trek from the top of Clingman’s Dome in western North Carolina to Jockey’s Ridge State Park at the outer banks. It was Ward’s sense of adventure and love of hiking that inspired him to hike the still unfinished trail. “I knew this was a new trail,” Ward said. “I wanted to be among the first to hike it, and I wanted to write a guidebook for those who may want to hike it from start to finish.”

Clingman’s Dome in Smoky Mountains National Park

Of course there is already a guidebook to the Mountains to Sea trail appropriately titled “Hiking North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail” by Allen de Hart. Ward actually used de Hart’s book but plans to follow up with his own more up to date guide. Of course as new trail sections are completed Ward’s book will need to be updated again so for now I recommend checking out the official Mountains-to-Sea Trail website for the most up to date info on the route.

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# Comments

  • Scot "TABA" Ward

    Thank you for the recognition. It was a challenging adventure. It took 5 months this time and I had the time of my life. I wanted to give you an idea of why I wrote a guidebook for the trail. I didn’t carry Mr. DeHart’s book. I made footnotes that I carried with me. I used the important information like the turns and the possible water sources. I took a road map to see the towns that I was going to pass by. I am not trying to compete with Allen deHarts book. He has written a very descriptive guidebook for day hikers. If you are a day hiker or weekender, that is a good book. This book will tell you every plant that you will pass by and sometimes it will let you know where a waterfall is because of how beautiful it is. The foliage and the sounds of the trail do not need to be in a Thru-Hikers manual. A long-distance hiker looks at different things and the things that are the same we look at differently. I have created the most up to date guidebook that connects the dots of this particular journey. This book has the mileage point for every turn, every water source, every available camping location and everything in town that a thru-hiker needs to keep the adventure going. I have also found some excellent places along the way with very cool people who want to help hikers. I have done a lot of work on this and my hope is to make the trail less confusing. I would like to tell you more about it but I am still working on it. It should be finished by the beginning of 2009.
    On this journey I have now walked 4,000 miles on established trails in 5 years. I have also ridden my bicycle on over 40,000 miles around the United States for the past 20 years. This is what I live to do and I like it. Hopefully others will too. I will also be hiking it next year to refine my version.

    Scot “Taba” Ward
    “There And Back Again”

    Appalachian Trail 2003
    Long Trail 2004
    Colorado Trail 2007
    Mountains to Sea Trail 2008

  • Arthur Kelley

    I found this post a little late. Congrats to Scott for completing his hike.

    As an additional resource, maps of the MST are nearly complete and can be found at online

    http://www.ncmst.org/mstsections.htm

    Click the link for each section for details. There are detailed topo maps of the trail that can be downloaded and printed. To help with driving, all the trailheads and parking areas have been marked on Google Maps. This is still a work in progress that should also be completed sometime early in 2009.

    As far as I am concerned, “the more the merrier”. With enough resources out there, every hiker will be able to find the one that suits him or her best.

    May I also gently point out that the graphic at the top of this post is “borrowed” from the MST web site and should be attributed?

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