Trails typically are near empty anytime before 8 AM. Plan to hit summits before 11 AM. Expect to say a lot of "excuse mes" on the way down. Great time for bushwhacks
Also a great time to hit obscure, lightly traveled redlining trails. Have been enjoying the solitude lately.
And yes, there is a lot of solitude on some of these less-loved (un-loved?) trails!
Many of those less-loved trails are less-loved for a reason: they are boring as hell. I too have gotten sick of the enormous crowds of late and have taken to some less traveled trails for some solitude and have begun a new list: trails I'll never do again.
I think hiking has just become too popular right now with the massive fitness craze in the US. Summits with 40, 50 or even more people on it is getting pretty commonplace now. Even difficult trails like Huntington Ravine Trail, the North slide, etc have tons of people on them. The first time I did Huntington Ravine Trail years ago I only saw two people on it. When I did it last year there were at least 50 people on it.
I find it concerning actually. The volume of people hiking contains a growing portion that aren't up to speed with (or don't care about) things like Leave No Trace, etc. Finding garbage, unburied bathroom refuse, etc is becoming a pretty common thing in many places. I hope hiking doesn't get so popular that regulation follows...
I think hiking has just become too popular right now with the massive fitness craze in the US. Summits with 40, 50 or even more people on it is getting pretty commonplace now.
Robert Redford is currently working on his adaptation of Bill Bryson's A Walk In the Woods, starring (who else?) Robert Redford and Nick Nolte as Katz. Wonder what effect this will have on the (already too high IMO) Appalachian Trail numbers...
The current popularity of hiking is nothing compared to when I started hiking in the whites in the eighties. I believe one thing has changed is the number of folks doing backpacking trips is far lower but those dayhiking sure make up for it.
I absolutely agree! But you don't know that until you've done it, and once you've done it, it need never be repeated.
Isn't that boom in the late 70's/early 80's responsible for a lot of today's regulations? I recall reading about the massive amounts of trash, etc causing the no camping above tree line rules, etc. Before my time hiking wise so I really don't know but it sounded like the mountains really got junked up then.