Update on the Future of Hiker Heaven
Earlier this year, Jeff and Donna Saufley announced that they would be moving up to Washington and that Hiker Heaven, located in Agua Dulce near PCT mile 454 in California, would be put up for sale. Their hope was that someone in the thru-hiking community would be willing and able to buy the hostel and continue hosting thru-hikers there, as has been done there for the past 22 years. Their intention was to look for a buyer from within the thru-hiking community; barring that they would officially list the property for sale in March 2020. However, they have just posted an update about their situation with what they are calling “Plan B.”
Since they have not been able to find a buyer for Hiker Heaven from within the hiking community, they have developed an alternative to closing their doors. Instead, they will be turning it into a for-profit hostel through a company like Airbnb starting next spring (tentatively March or April 2020). If offering the guesthouse goes well, they may expand to offer rooms in the main house as well.
They have also issued a warning to thru-hikers coming through the area that other Airbnb listings in Agua Dulce have been using the name “Hiker Heaven” despite no affiliation with the Saufleys’ Hiker Heaven. Although they are currently seeking to trademark the name “Saufley’s Hiker Heaven” and will use that on any official listings moving forward, they are not currently advertising it anywhere. Any listings seen with that name are run by other people.
While they have offered some details on their website—they will still accept packages for hikers, animals will still be allowed, they will continue to offer laundry—this plan is still in early development and will likely undergo significant changes over the next few months. Jeff and Donna intend to oversee the transition before hiring a caretaker to manage the facility.
You can see the Saufleys’ official post about this on their website.
Feature image via Maggie Wallace.
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