I am often asked how I find trails for my guidebooks. A legitimate question. After all, folks buying my books are trying to find trails too. I try to do all the hard work for you so all you need to do is enjoy the hike.
So, okay, this is how I find/research trails–incorporating any one or more of the following methods.
- General Knowledge/Life Experience- I already know the trail exists
- Maps of all degrees and from various agencies
- Old guidebooks and tourism brochures
- Websites of land agencies, trail advocacy groups, hiking forums, and non-profit land trusts
- Word of mouth from other hikers and explorers
- Word of mouth from locals of the area that I am researching
- Scouting roads and parks and forests firsthand while researching a different trail
- By accident-driving by and noticing what appears to be a trail!
- Keeping up with land agency and conservation group developments through newsletters and alerts
Now, those of you who use my books (and I thank you for your support) know that one of the things I pride myself with my books is that I hike every mile of every trail that I write about. The best part of writing hiking guidebooks is the research. And the best part of my research is when I stumble upon “new” trails–both new to me and new in their existence. And I love sharing these discoveries with you-for I love hearing you respond, “I never knew that trail existed and now I can’t wait to hike it!”
I load all of my books with lots of “new trails,” and “undiscovered trails,” giving you lots of options to avoid the crowded more popular trails–and to enjoy a little discovery of your own! So stick with me and learn where the new Divide Trail in the Olympic National Forest is located. Learn about Dosewallips State Park’s Izett Grade Trail and the Sultan Basin’s Sultan River Canyon Trail. And learn about new “old” trails-one that have been resurrected, like Mount Baker’s Ridley Creek Trail. And learn about many of the new urban trails that are sprouting up all over Puget Sound, like the Sumner Link Trail and Bird Meadow Trail.
Of course if you have a “new” trail you’ld like to share with me, I’d love to hear about it!