COVID-19 Contingency Plan: Four Other Hikes to Consider

Seeing thru-hikers cancel or postpone their hikes due to COVID-19 is heartbreaking. Considering my thru-hike of the JMT begins on July 16, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s canceled.

In tune with the stoic book The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday, I’ve compiled a list of potential hikes to replace my coveted JMT thru-hike should it be canceled due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Contingency Plans

1. Timberline Trail

The Timberline Trail is 41.5-mile thru-hike loop that circles Mount Hood. Being only a couple of hours from my house, this seems to be the most viable option. An added benefit is the self-issued permit system; in other words, you won’t have to worry about getting a limited permit!


COVID-19 Timberline

Author crossing the Sandy River on the Timberline Trail/PCT.

I became interested in hiking the Timberline Trail after completing a section hike of the PCT that shared several miles with it. After receiving positive feedback from people hiking it the opposite way, it shot up fast in my to-do list.

This may happen later in the summer though, as Mount Hood continues to be hammered with snow, even as I write this!

2. Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is a 165-mile loop thru-hike that travels around Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. I want to point out that the other day I was reading a post mentioning the TRT solely in acronym form. For far too long I thought the author was talking about Testosterone Replacement Therapy. I think I’ve been listening to too much Joe Rogan.

I digress.

Only a single permit is needed for camping in a 23-mile section of the Desolation Wilderness; day use permits are free and self-issued!

COVID-19 Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe.

3. Wonderland Trail

The Wonderland Trail is a 93-mile loop trek that encircles Mount Rainier (sensing a theme yet?). Akin to the Timberline Trail and TRT (not testosterone replacement therapy!), the Wonderland Trail is another loop hike in which you end up exactly where you started, making logistics exponentially easier than point-to-point hikes.

Mount Rainier.

This is the trail I’m least interested in, given the application process for permits. It does, however, have walk-in permits available.

4. Eight Lakes Basin

You’re correct. This isn’t technically a thru-hike trail.

Eight Lakes Basin is located in Oregon near Three Fingered Jack (TFJ). In fact, you can see it while traversing TFJ on the PCT! I fell in love with the area last year after trying my hand at backcountry fishing (more like casting).

Eight Lakes Basin contains several high-country lakes that are routinely stocked with fish every couple of years via helicopter. Imagine that scene!

Via OnX Maps (the epitome in mobile navigation for trails, minus thru-hikes), I mapped out a 30-mile leisurely loop with the plan of stopping at each lake to throw a few lines in. This is the type of backpacking trip where one would place premium on ideal camping spots, as opposed to crushing miles.

I hope that gave some readers a few ideas of what to do in the event that your hike is canceled. Remember, the situation unfolding is an external force we can’t influence; instead, figure out ways to make the obstacle work for you

What are you planning to do if your hike is/has been canceled? I’d love to hear your comments or questions below!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?