Hiking can be a lot of fun but before you can start to conquer the trail you've first got to actually get to the trail. Depending on where you are hiking, how long your hike is and what kind of hike it is, you can have very different experiences when it comes to organising the transportation to and from your hike.
Some of these different types of hiking which can affect your transport needs are whether it is a one-way or return/circuit hike, whether you are driving, carpooling or taking public transport and whether it is a day hike or an overnight hike.
The challenges posed by one-way hikes are obvious, you don't finish where you start and that means if you leave your car at the start of the trail, getting back can be hard. Depending on what mode of transport you plan to take on your hike you may need to plan differently so here I've broken it all down into different transport types.
Driving: The most obvious way to get to your hike is by car and if you are hiking with a friend, doing a one-way hike is still very possible. Taking two cars and parking one at each end can allow you and your mates to complete a one-way hike without getting stuck at one end of the walk.
Carpooling: Now if you don't have a car, getting to and from your hike can be a little more difficult but with the help of some mates or some fellow hikers you can get around this challenge. Large Facebook groups which are area specific can be a great way to find fellow hikers who are traveling to the same place as you and possibly a way to catch a ride.
Public Transport: Now public transport is probably the most unreliable of the transport methods listed here but is still a very viable option for those hiking closer to urban environments. Depending on where you live, access to public transport can vary widely but if it is a major trail, have a look at what options for busses are on offer as you might just be in luck.
Getting to and from a return or a circuit hike is a lot simpler than a one-way hike because you finish where you start but that doesn't mean you won’t face some of the same challenges. If you don't own a car or prefer to take other modes of transport, getting to your hike may be difficult but as you will find below, it's still possible.
Driving: If you have a car or a mate willing to take you then getting to your hike is as simple as setting the GPS and driving to the trailhead.
Carpooling: If you don't have a car or access to one then carpooling is always a great option. As we spoke about earlier, finding fellow hikers heading to the same trail online via Facebook groups or forums is a great way to get to a hike when public transport isn’t an option and you don't have a car.
Public Transport: Not every hike has public transport but for those that do it can be a great, inexpensive way of making your way to your hike when you don't have a car or can’t find someone to carpool with.
What changes for overnight hikes?
All the transport methods above are still valid for overnight hikes just as they are for day hikes but there are some things for consideration which you may need to plan for if your hike is an overnighter. If you are parked in a carpark for example, are you able to park overnight for free or do you need a permit?
If you are taking public transport such as trains while traveling to your hike you may need to book your return trip in advance and if you are carpooling but not hiking with that person, make sure to decide on a meeting location and time before you set off so you know when and where you need to be.
Other options available.
If you are looking for another option other than driving, carpooling or public transport then you may want to see if there is a trail transport company which operates along the trail you plan to walk.
Some companies offer transport to major hiking trails such as the Grampians Peaks Trail in Victoria or The Overland Track in Tasmania which for a small fee will take you from the nearest public transport stop to the trailhead of the hike.
So those are just some of the options available to you when planning the transport to your hike. Transport is undeniably an important part of the planning of any hike without a plan to get there, it's hard set off on your hike.
Written by Josh Welch