Our Favorite Section Hikes

Matt “Details”
Hands down, my favorite section of trail is the section of the Tour du Mont Blanc between Courmayeur, Italy and La Fouly, Switzerland. The majority of the section follows easy trail through the Aosta Valley and features stunning views of the “backside” of Mount Blanc. The rocky and jagged Alpine landscape is absolutely jaw-dropping. After a nice climb up to the Italian and Swiss border, the views into Switzerland open up and gradually descend into the Ferret Valley. The valley is full of quaint villages and feels unspoiled. More than a few opportunities to eat never hurts either.


It depends on the purpose of the section hike. If you’re training for a thru-hike, the 32-mile section between Springer to Blood mountain gives you a great taste of what you can expect thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Of the trails I have hiked in the US, it’s hard to beat Rae Lakes loop. This is a 41.4-mile short section hike of what I considered to be the most beautiful part of the John Muir Trail. If you’re looking for something a little further, I thought Massachusetts and Vermont would be an incredible section hike of the Appalachian Trail. When I hiked this area, Vermont was very dry which is unusual because its nickname is Vermud. The experience from the views, history and trail towns you encounter through these 2 states ranked it high on my list.


Benny "Plug-It In Hikes"
My favorite section of trail would have to be the Rae Lakes section on the John Muir Trail. Absolutely one of the most beautiful sections of trail I’ve ever been on here in the United States. Dropping down from Glen Pass is teases you with its little green oasis tucked away in a granite forest of mountains. The crystal blue water reflects the Painted Lady and other surrounding mountains as to provide a mirror to the clouds that pass overhead.  As you get closer you can see the multitudes of golden trout feeding on the surface, but it appears that rain is hitting the lake from a cloudless sky. Certainly a jewel hidden deep within the Sierras Nevada Mountains of California. 


Joe Valesko
On the PCT the high sierras (JMT) are the highlight, however, you need a permit to do the JMT. Glacier national park and the Wind River Range are two of the best parts of the CDT, and they are less populated but more remote. 


Wind River section on the Continental Divide Trail or Kings Canyon National Park on the Pacific Crest Trail. 




Zpacks Olivia

About the Author

Olivia Magee oversees Social Media at Zpacks and helps monitor trends within the industry. Her contributions to the hiking community includes her work with the American Conservation Experience where she performed trail maintenance in the Smoky's and across the Southeast.