My 5 Favourite Path Cities on the Triple Crown

If I discovered something from my travels on the Appalachian Path, Pacific Crest Path, and Continental Divide Path, it’s that mountaineering them could be nigh inconceivable if not for the communities that host and rejuvenate hikers alongside the way in which. On this article, I’ll spotlight my 5 favourite cities on the Triple Crown.

Please remember that this listing is totally subjective and primarily based on my private expertise, wants, and mountaineering type. I preserve city visits fast, gentle, and inexpensive and keep away from taking zeroes at almost all prices. Relating to resupply, it’s price noting that my mountaineering associate on the CDT and I’ve plant-based dietary wants.

I don’t know what I don’t know that I don’t know.

Though I knew to look out for a handful of locations on every of the Triple Crown trails, I deliberately stored from studying an excessive amount of prematurely so I’d expertise every city within the second, with out prejudice.

I spent essentially the most time in cities on the PCT, however coming from the west, I used to be acquainted with lots of them already. I hiked the AT shortly, and whereas I visited many a hostel, the one zeroes I took have been in NYC (by means of Pawling, NY). Cities on the CDT have been essentially the most refreshing shock: some have been as desolate as rumored, whereas others have been welcome surprises.

Whatever the particulars, a very good path city will you’ll want to depart you feeling such as you wish to keep one other day.

Pacific Crest Path

Idyllwild, CA


About: Idyllwild is a quaint trip city located within the San Jacinto Mountains, excessive above the desert ground of Southern California. It’s well-known by PCT hikers for its cooler temperatures, pine timber, and treacherous snow in early spring. The group’s solely two mayors have each been golden retrievers, each named Max (RIP Max II).

Accessibility: Not like most cities on the PCT, Idyllwild is just a few miles’ stroll from the official redline. Take into account it’s a getaway location for a lot of residents of Southern California, so weekends and holidays can really feel crowded.

Meals: Idyllwild has quite a few eating places, together with no less than one vegan eatery, a number of pubs, and a pizza joint. You’ll be able to’t go unsuitable.

Idyllwild is a good place to relaxation earlier than taking up the cruel heights of  San Jacinto.

Resupply: Resupply choices are plentiful in Idyllwild, together with a number of well being meals shops. Even hikers with dietary wants should not have any points resupplying right here.

Outfitters: A number of gear retailers on the town cater on to the thru-hiker base, comparable to Nomad Ventures.

Idyllwild has no dearth of locations to remain. Inns, cabin leases, and campsites dot the city map. Lodging can get a bit costly right here, so I like to recommend sharing a cabin along with your path household if attainable.

This city has bought all of it. Even should you don’t have a resort, there’s a native laundromat, and the city ought to have ample cell protection for these of us who don’t have entry to Wi-Fi. The kicker for me? Idyllwild has its personal movie show.

My first 150 miles felt like an enormous accomplishment.

My Expertise: I used to be completely beat once I arrived in Idyllwild in 2016. The stroll from Mike’s Place to Paradise Valley Café was the longest day I’d ever had on path at that time, and my toes have been blistered to bloody stumps. My pals and I hitched into city and secured a cabin on the Idyllwild Inn for 2 nights.

It was good: due to the proximity of companies, every part I wanted was inside a five-minute stroll. I secured sufficient ice cream, beer, and tortilla chips to final me my keep and holed as much as relaxation. Whereas there, I bought a brand new pair of Soiled Lady Gaiters (the clear signal of any new PCT hiker) and watched Captain America: Civil Warfare on the large display screen.  The general appeal, location, and facilities left a long-lasting impression on me.

Stehekin, WA

Views of the North Cascades.

About: Stehekin is a tiny group on the shores of Lake Chelan close to North Cascades Nationwide Park. It is among the northernmost communities and resupply factors on the Pacific Crest Path. Apart from being surrounded by dramatic peaks and tall timber at each angle, Lake Chelan itself is the third deepest lake in the US.

Accessibility: A part of its appeal is its remoteness: Stehekin is barely accessible by foot, boat, or floatplane. PCT hikers hoping to go to Stehekin should take a shuttle from Excessive Bridge. Simply ensure that to plan accordingly—the shuttles solely run at particular instances.

Meals: Whereas the North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin Restaurant is an possibility, the fabled Stehekin Pastry Firm attracts the unanimous adoration of the mountaineering group.

Resupply: The Basic Retailer on the Lodge at Stehekin has apparently grown its choices lately. Nevertheless, the shop’s stock has traditionally been extraordinarily restricted, and most hikers would do properly to mail a bundle to the publish workplace as an alternative.

North Cascades NP Signal.

Lodging: There are a few tenting choices regionally. North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin and Stehekin Pastry Firm supply extra comfy stays for a value.

Facilities: Showers and laundry can be found on the town. Stehekin’s location makes it general probably the most scenic communities on the Triple Crown path system.

Mysterious sign up WA – let me know if you already know the story behind it!

My expertise: I rolled into Stehekin on 9/11/16 after an arduous, wet trek from Stevens Move. In some way I managed to make use of a payphone whereas doing my laundry to name my dad and mom, though the cellphone didn’t seem to be a dependable possibility on the time. The campsite I stayed at was stunning and missed Lake Chelan. I picked up my bundle from the PO Monday morning earlier than taking the shuttle again to path. (The final retailer didn’t supply a lot in the way in which of resupply, not to mention champagne, a lot to the frustration of soon-to-be PCT finishers.)

On the way in which out, each hiker on the shuttle hit the bakery. To be clear, the hype surrounding the bakery is completely actual. I took three cinnamon rolls (the final of which I consumed on the Canadian border just a few days later), a sticky bun, and two Crimson Bulls out of there with a smile on my face. It was the right approach to cap my first thru-hike.

Appalachian Path

Damascus, VA

VA/TN border not removed from Damascus.

About: Damascus is well-known within the long-distance mountaineering group for being residence to Path Days, an annual gathering of hikers, volunteers, and kit distributors to rejoice the group and stewardship of the Appalachian Path. It has been appropriately dubbed “Path City USA.” Damascus stands deep on the southern fringe of Virginia, making it an iconic waypoint for NOBOs and a reminder that the path is almost completed for SOBOs.

Accessibility: It’s straight on path! In actual fact, the AT takes you down the primary drag of city, previous gear retailers, hostels, and eateries alike.

Meals: A brewery on the town isn’t a should to make this listing—but it surely positive helps. These with dry throats can discover respite on the Damascus Brewery or the Appalachian Heritage Distillery. Mojo’s Trailside Café and Espresso is one other favourite within the mountaineering group. In the meantime, these with appetites for typical American delicacies can get their fill at each Depraved Hen in addition to Damascus Diner.

The infamous Damascus doorway.

Resupply: There’s a Walmart in close by Abingdon and a Meals Metropolis just a few miles exterior of Damascus correct, which some hostel proprietors is perhaps prepared to shuttle hikers to. Simpler to entry is the Greenback Basic close to the primary drag.

Outfitters: A number of outfitters on the town guarantee greater than sufficient choices for hikers to re-up on gear wants: Damascus Outfitters, Mt Rogers Outfitters, and even just a few bike retailers.

Lodging: Like several good path city on the AT, Damascus has a number of institutions the place drained hikers can lay their heads. I stayed at Woodchuck Hostel in what I consider was Chuck’s remaining 12 months of operation. Different widespread choices for hikers embrace Loopy Larry’s and The Damaged Fiddle Hostel.

Facilities: Damascus supplies every part the mountaineering group may need, and it does it in type. Locals are as hiker-friendly as any path within the Triple Crown circuit. Native companies are laced with historical past and colloquial aptitude. I significantly prefer it as a considerable relaxation alternative earlier than hikers start their first miles within the AT’s longest state.


It was a slog for me, however Grayson Highlands is a spotlight of southern VA.

My Expertise: Again in March of 2018, I spent the evening not removed from the TN/VA border. It was moist and muddy, and neither of my lighters would work, so I used to be wanting ahead to staying on the town. Woodchuck’s Hostel provided me a heat mattress in addition to a resupply alternative at Walmart. The great folks at Damascus Outfitters helped me repair a zipper challenge on my sleeping bag.

I ate my fill of Woodchuck’s do-it-yourself sizzling breakfast the next morning earlier than strolling some 28 miles via snow to Thomas Knob shelter. Contemplating the slog I’d quickly face via contemporary powder within the Grayson Highlands, the respite I obtained in Damascus was invaluable.

Continental Divide Path

Steamboat Springs, CO

Dawn close to Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.

About: Steamboat Springs is a ski group and the final resupply possibility for NOBO hikers in Colorado. It’s identified for its world-class snowboarding, pure sizzling springs, and watersport alternatives on the Yampa River. Attributable to its proximity to the Wyoming border, Steamboat Springs, CO, and Encampment, WY, are generally considered the unofficial midway factors on the CDT.

Accessibility: “The Boat” is a couple of 30-minute drive west of the CDT at Rabbit Ears Move. NOBOs should endure a number of hours of street strolling alongside US Route 40 earlier than reaching the hitching intersection. SOBOs should navigate the Mt. Zirkel wilderness earlier than arriving on the freeway. Given its prevalent outside tradition and sturdy transportation nexus, hitching out of Rabbit Ears Move to Steamboat Springs is comparatively straightforward for a lot of hikers.

New Altras from the Ski Haus had me feeling Like Mike.

Meals: The culinary delights of Steamboat Springs assist elevate it over most communities on the Divide. Vaqueros Mexican hit the spot, though it was barely missing when in comparison with the Mexican delicacies of New Mexico. Winona’s Restaurant and Bakery delighted me with a delicious scramble, in addition to among the finest cinnamon rolls on your complete Divide (the five-layer bar wasn’t dangerous both). These two companies have been however a style of the choices out there down Steamboat’s principal drag.

Resupply: Among the many many resupply choices in Steamboat Springs, I most well-liked to buy at Metropolis Market. I significantly loved quaffing a half gallon of Blue Bunny ice cream, which I’ve by no means seen within the PNW (eat your coronary heart out, Tillamook).

Outfitters: Most gear aficionados like to go to BAP! headquarters (aka the Large Agnes manufacturing unit retailer). The outside model is a long-time staple in Steamboat Springs that has a wide-ranging affect on the outside business. Straightline Sports activities provides some fundamental necessities however principally caters to front-country tenting and fishing.

I’d argue the Ski Haus is the perfect clothes shop for thru-hikers on the town: I exchanged some worn Darn Robust socks, purchased new sneakers, and had my trekking poles tightened there. The staff on the Ski Haus have been pleasant and educated about thru-hiker wants, given the clothes shop’s proximity to each the CDT and the Colorado Path.

Lodging: A number of chain accommodations, in addition to some higher-end resorts, dot the city. Many hikers want the Rabbit Ears Motel resulting from its pricing and placement. There’s additionally a KOA on the surface of city. For hikers hoping to get out and in of city in at some point, there are some pleasant campsites on the CDT lower than a mile north of Rabbit Ears Move.

Facilities: Whether or not posting up for true relaxation or taking a leisurely zero, Steamboat has every part you could possibly want. Apart from eateries and kit retailers, the Yampa River runs via city and is a enjoyable characteristic to discover. I additionally suggest the Yampa River Botanic Park for many who have further time.


Via-hiker wall on the town.

My Expertise: Cleansweep and I have been on a mission to achieve Steamboat Springs as early as attainable to maximise our time. That meant mountaineering 30+ miles by the early afternoon, arriving at Rabbit Ears Move simply in time to amass a hitch from some down-to-earth locals. In Steamboat correct, we stayed with my buddy and former coworker, Anna.

On the town, I mailed residence further garments I had for Colorado, purchased new sneakers, changed my socks, and ate my coronary heart out. Leaving Steamboat was one in every of my solely true neros on your complete path—we hiked lower than three miles after hitching out within the night the next day, permitting our our bodies most relaxation earlier than venturing into Wyoming and past.

Silver Metropolis, NM

The Gila River is spectacular.

About: Silver Metropolis is positioned on the northern fringes of the Chihuahuan Desert and serves because the county seat for Grant County. It boomed within the 1800s as a mining group however has since transitioned right into a city identified for its southwestern tradition and recreation alternatives.

Accessibility: Right here’s the excellent news: it’s on the official CDT redline. The path runs straight via Silver Metropolis earlier than veering north towards the Gila River. Right here’s the dangerous information: the northbound redline includes a street stroll alongside US Freeway 180 for a number of hours.

Meals: The meals in Silver Metropolis is maybe the perfect of your complete New Mexico part of the CDT. LA Cocina Restaurant was one in every of my favourite Mexican meals all summer time. We loved beneficiant parts and (fairly stable) beer at Little Toad Creek Brewery for dinner. I loved a plate of sugary French toast and a chilly beer for breakfast at Adobe Springs Café and left happy. Lastly, as I set off for the Gila River, I chowed down on a deliciously thick and savory sandwich from Chaos.

Fortunate Toad Lager makes for a imply path beer.

Resupply: There’s a Walmart on the sting of downtown. Silver Metropolis Meals Basket is nearer to path for many who wish to stroll much less. Some hikers may want the Silver Metropolis Meals Co-op downtown—however remember they don’t have many plastic water bottle choices.

Outfitters: The city’s two gear shops ought to meet all of your wants: Gila Hike & Bike, which provided a stunning quantity of long-trail-themed gear that was not particular to the CDT, and Morning Star Sports activities.

Lodging: Not removed from path is an RV park for many who want to save lots of money. Alternatively, keep downtown on the Palace Resort or the Murray Resort. I cut up a room on the Palace with two different hikers and was happy with the worth there. Sadly, Triple Crown Hostel closed for good in Might of 2022.

Facilities: With its murals and native appeal, Silver Metropolis looks like a mining city reinvented as a hippy, artsy group that serves because the jumping-off level for a lot of would-be hikers or bikers wanting to leap into the desert panorama. Lordsburg is nearer to Loopy Cook dinner and provides something a hiker would want, however Silver Metropolis looks like the primary iconic group on the Divide.

My Expertise: I camped on the final water supply earlier than US Freeway 180, then awakened at 4 a.m. to do the street stroll into city. The path from Lordsburg had been powerful on me and the opposite hikers in my celebration, so we have been all wanting to crush the flat terrain and maximize our time in civilization.

Silver Metropolis provided every part I’d ever want from an in a single day on the town: resupply, a brand new water filter, culinary delights, a stable resort room, and even some Star Wars authentic trilogy on the TV. Earlier than venturing into the Gila Wilderness, I nabbed a meal with Turquoise, a hiker I met on the PCT who does path angel work on the CDT.

Honorable Mentions


  • Shasta, CA: Stunning city, superior outside tradition and kit, and plenty to do —simply not nice lodging and never very walkable.
  • Ashland, OR: Indexes excessive in each class, simply doesn’t supply the identical stage of small-town appeal as its opponents on the PCT.
  • Bend, OR: Improbable metropolis with the perfect beer on the Triple Crown, however could be costly and is much from path.


  • Scorching Springs, NC: Loads of locations to remain and nice eating places, however I felt it wasn’t definitely worth the in a single day resulting from its location.
  • Hanover, NH: Is positioned on path, has nice eating places and outside tradition—only a bit crowded and costly (Dartmouth = school city).


  • Pagosa Springs, CO: This was the toughest group to go away off the listing. It’s a wonderful city with superior water options and nice resupply/eating places. However it’s only a bit too costly, and the PO is an extended stroll from most accommodations.
  • Lander, WY: Maybe the perfect hospitality I skilled on path with plenty of meals and resupply choices, outside tradition and kit (NOLS HQ), and so forth. Simply too powerful a hitch from path to make the listing.

Featured picture: Photograph by way of Joseph Gonzalez. Graphic design by Zack Goldmann.


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