Author: Emily@TMBtent

The Best Hikes in Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park Weather Badlands is a land of extremes, and that certainly holds true when it comes to the weather. Temperatures can peak in the triple digits in the…

If you’ve never been to Badlands National Park before, you are in for an experience like no other. The 240,000 acres of protected land are home to some of the country’s most stunning rock formations, sweeping grassland prairies, and the kind of wide-open spaces that can really put everything in perspective. Additionally, Badlands National Park is home to more than 300 archeological sites dating back thousands of years, and more recent sites from the regions’ current inhabitants, the Arikara and the Oglala Lakota tribes. From fascinating fossils to dramatic rock spires to wildlife viewing, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Badlands National Park.

One of the best ways to enjoy all that Badlands National Park has to offer by exploring it on your own two feet. There are many incredible hikes in Badlands, ranging from beginner and family-friendly to longer, more strenuous outings. We’re confident that there’s a trail for everyone in Badlands National Park, and that hiking it will be a highlight of your visit.

In this post, we’ll share the best trails and everything you need to know to have your best possible adventure hiking in Badlands National Park.

In This Post:

A hiker sits and enjoys the views in Badlands National Park
Hiking in Badlands National Park provides endless ways to enjoy the magnificent scenery. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Badlands National Park Basics

Before any trip to Badlands, it is a good idea to get familiar with some important information about the national park so you know what to expect when you visit. The next two sections will provide some essential background that you’ll need for planning your Badlands National Park hiking adventure.

Permits, Entrance Fees, and Opening Times

Permits are not required for any hikes in Badlands National Park, including overnight backpacking and off-trail hiking.

Entrance fees must be paid to access any part of the national park, including all of the hikes described in this post. There are a variety of passes available, depending on the length of your visit and your mode of entry. Details can be found on the NPS website.

Badlands National Park is open 24/7, although fee stations and visitor centers have limited hours. Opening times for the park’s visitor centers can be found here.

Additionally, some roads may be closed in wintery or other hazardous conditions. If traveling in the park during inclement weather, be sure to check current road conditions.

Entrance sign for Badlands National Park
One of the quieter entrances to Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Park Weather

Badlands is a land of extremes, and that certainly holds true when it comes to the weather. Temperatures can peak in the triple digits in the summer months and they can get down to -40 in the winter!

Be prepared for sudden and dramatic changes in the weather, as conditions can be variable and unpredictable. Dress in layers, pack sunscreen, and carry plenty of water. It’s always a good idea to check current conditions and talk to the ranger before setting out.

June is typically the rainiest month in Badlands National Park, while December and January are the driest. For monthly averages, including temperatures and precipitation, check out this webpage.

A stormy sky over rocks in Badlands National Park.
The weather can change quickly in Badlands National Park. Photo Courtesy of NPS/Shaina Niehans.

Hiking Trails in Badlands National Park

Trails in the Cedar Pass Area of Badlands National Park (North Unit)

The vast majority of hikers will spend their time in the NPS-operated North Unit of Badlands National Park, specifically in the Cedar Pass Area. This area has easy access from I-90 and includes the park headquarters, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Most of the park’s best hikes are in the Cedar Pass Area, and the well-marked trail network has something for every ability level. Since many of these hikes are quite short and close together, you can easily knock out a few in one day. Keep reading to find the perfect hike in the Cedar Pass Area.

Map of Cedar Pass area
Detailed Map of the Cedar Pass section of Badlands National Park. NPS Map.

Door Trail

Distance: 0.75 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Door and Window Parking Area

This easy walk follows a boardwalk for the first 0.25 miles, making it a great option for wheelchairs, strollers, and anyone who enjoys less rugged surfaces. Despite its short distance, you’ll gain access to spectacular views through the Badlands Wall and to the unique badlands landscape beyond. This is a great place to watch the sunrise!

The Door Trail following a boardwalk that leads between two parts of the Badlands Wall.
The Door Trail. An easy boardwalk leads visitors through a natural “door” in the Badlands Wall. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Window Trail

Distance: 0.25 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Door and Window Parking Area

This family-friendly trail takes hikers to a spectacular natural window that has eroded into the Badlands Wall. The window provides a unique vantage point to view some of the Badlands’ most dramatic scenery, and it’s a photographer’s dream!

Views of rock formations from the Window Trail in Badlands National Park.
Views from the Window Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Notch Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
Trailhead: Door and Window Parking Area

This hike begins as a mellow canyon walk, but ends with a dramatic flourish. After traversing within the canyon, hikers will climb a ladder out of its depths. The trail then follows an exposed ledge to reach “the Notch,” an incredible viewpoint overlooking the White River Valley. Keep in mind that this hike involves some very exposed and steep sections, and it is dangerous during periods of heavy rain.

The Notch Trail traverses an exposed ledge on the side of the canyon in Badlands National Park.
The Notch Trail traverses an exposed ledge on the side of the canyon. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Castle Trail

Distance: 10 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Trailhead: Door and Window Parking Area

Hikers looking for a longer outing will enjoy the Castle Trail. Not only does this 5-mile out-and-back trail boast great views of Badlands rock formations, but it ends at the Fossil Exhibit Trail, allowing hikers to explore the informative exhibits and replicas in that area. There are many options for customizing your hike on the Castle Trail. Those only wanting to hike one way can shuttle a vehicle to the Fossil Exhibit Trailhead. Additionally, there are options for making a loop by connecting with the Medicine Root Trail or the Saddle Pass Trail.

The eastern trailhead of the Castle Trail in Badlands National Park with green grassland in the foreground and rock formations in the background.
The Castle Trail begins by winding through prairie grasslands on its eastern end. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Cliff Shelf Trail

Distance: 0.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Cliff Shelf Parking Area

Don’t be fooled by the short distance of this hike- it is quite a workout! The trail follows a series of boardwalks and stairs up along the Badlands Wall. The Cliff Shelf hike allows walkers to experience a rare oasis in the heart of the Badlands. The trail weaves through a Juniper forest and past a seasonal pond. This area is a great place to see wildlife, such as bighorn sheep.

The Cliff Shelf Trail passes through juniper trees in Badlands National Park.
The Cliff Shelf Trail is unique because it passes through juniper forests. Trees are a rare sight in the Badlands. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Saddle Pass Trail

Distance: 0.25 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Trailhead: Saddle Pass Trailhead

This is another hike that packs a lot of climbing into a short distance. The Saddle Pass Trail steeply winds its way up the Badlands Wall before reaching a viewpoint overlooking the White River Valley. It ends at a junction with the Castle and Medicine Root Trails, providing lots of options for extending your hike. Use caution coming down the Saddle Pass Trail, as some sections are very steep and loose.

A steep section of trail along the Saddle Pass Trail in Badlands National Park.
The Saddle Pass Trail is very steep the entire way! Photo courtesy of NPS.

Medicine Root Trail

Distance: 4 miles (does not inlcude the distance required to access the trail)
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Saddle Pass Trailhead

This lovely trail can only be accessed via one of the other trails in the Cedar Pass network. The most direct (and also most strenuous) way to reach the Medicine Root Trail is by climbing up the Saddle Pass Trail, although it can also be accessed by starting on either end of the Castle Trail. Once you’re on the Medicine Root Trail, the terrain is mostly flat, winding its way through prairie grasslands. A nice loop can be made by connecting with the Castle Trail. There are some gorgeous wide-open views of the surrounding rock formations.

The Medicine Root Trail extends through dry grasslands towards the horizon under a blue sky in Badlands National Park.
Wide open views on the Medicine Root Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS/Ed Welsh.

Fossil Exhibit Trail

Distance: 0.25 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Fossil Exhibit Parking Area

It is a bit of a stretch to call this a “hike,” as the trail follows a level boardwalk for its entirety. That being said, it is worth a visit to see the fascinating exhibits and replicas of the prehistoric creatures that once roamed the area. Additionally, the trail can be a nice starting point for accessing the Castle Trail and the rest of the Cedar Pass trail network.

A parking lot and a trailhead sign at the Fossil Exhibit Trail in Badlands National Park.
The trailhead for the informative and interactive Fossil Exhibit Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Popular Back Roads Hikes (dog-friendly)

Sheep Mountain Table Hike

Distance: 5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Sheep Mountain Table Overlook

This hike offers a great way to explore this scenic area without having to navigate the very rugged road in your vehicle. Park at the Sheep Mountain Table Overlook and walk along the dirt road for about 2.5 miles. This is an easy, scenic walk that makes for a great pet-friendly option. It also provides a unique opportunity to explore the remote middle section of the Badlands, straddling the North and South Units of the park.

The dirt road stretches ahead towards Sheep Mountain Table in Badlands National Park.
Sheep Mountain Table makes for a great back roads hike. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Old Northeast Road

Distance: Varies
Difficulty:Easy
Trailhead: Parking area located 0.25 miles along the road after turning off Badlands Loop Road. 

This quiet gravel road is a great option for hiking with your four-legged friend or for anyone seeking a mellow excursion. Old Northeast road is easily accessed from the Badlands Loop Road and you can customize the length of your trip to fit your preferences. The road passes through active ranchland, so keep in mind that you may encounter cattle grazing nearby. Hikers will enjoy sweeping Badlands scenery and some fascinating rock formations.

Rock formations seen while hiking along Old Northeast Road in Badlands National Park.
There are plenty of interesting rock formations to see while hiking on Old Northeast Road. Photo courtesy of NPS/Cathy Bell.

Open Hiking (Unofficial Trails)

Badlands is an “open hike” National Park, meaning that hikers are permitted to venture practically anywhere into the backcountry, regardless of if they’re on one of the designated trails. Beyond the well-marked paths, there are quite a few unofficial “social trials” in Badlands National Park. These vary from being frequently-trafficked and relatively easy to follow to being vague tracks that require advanced navigation skills. Given that these trails can lead to remote areas with little or no waymarking, it is essential that you come prepared with a navigational device and some backcountry experience. It’s a good idea to download gpx data for the trails into your phone or other device and bring a paper map as a backup.

More information about Badlands National Parks Maps is provided in this post.

Here are our two favorite unofficial trails in Badlands National Park:

Deer Haven Trail

Distance: 6-7 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Trailhead: Conata Picnic Area

This out-and-back hike is popular with backpackers, but it also makes a great day trip. The trail begins at the Conata Picnic Area, which is easily accessed from the Badlands Loop Road and the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Hikers will follow a well worn social trail through quintessential Badlands scenery. Upon rounding a corner a couple of miles in, the grassy oasis of Deer Haven will come into view. This is a dramatic swath of green set amid endless miles of rocky, barren Badlands. The trail is generally easy to follow but becomes vague or nonexistent at points so it’s important to bring a map and GPS.

A trail sign next to the start of the Deer Haven Trail in Badlands National Park.
The beginning of the Deer Haven Trail is very well defined as it leads away from the Conata Picnic Area. Photo courtesy of NPS/Ed Welsh.

Sage Creek Loop

Distance: 23 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Trailhead: Conata Picnic Area

This adventurous hike should only be attempted by hardy, experienced walkers who are confident in their navigational abilities. Most hikers complete the Sage Creek Loop in three days, allowing for a challenging but manageable pace. In addition to the somewhat strenuous physical exertion required to complete the Sage Creek Loop, hikers must also contend with route-finding (which is very unclear in places) and volatile weather conditions. It is essential that you bring enough water, as there is none available along the trail. In the summer heat, that means carrying a gallon per person, per day. The payoff for all of your hard work? Solitude, dynamic and beautiful landscapes, and abundant wildlife viewings, such as bison and pronghorn.

A rocky butte beneath blue sky with green prairie in the foreground in the Sage Creek Wilderness area in Badlands National Park.
The colorful Sage Creek Wilderness Area. Photo courtesy of NPS/Larry McAfee.

Hiking in Badlands National Park: Need to Know

What to Bring

There are a ton of variables that need to be taken into account when packing for a hike in Badlands National Park. You’ll need to consider the weather conditions (and forecast), length of your hike, and availability of nearby services.

That being said, there are a few universal items that are essential for all Badlands hikers:

  • Water: 1 quart per person per hour is recommended. We like carrying water in a hydration bladder for better weight distribution and easy access.
  • Sturdy Boots: The Badlands are very rugged, and it’s important to have supportive footwear that is up to the task and protects your feet and ankles. The terrain can also get extremely muddy, so waterproof footwear is a good idea.
  • Layers & Sunscreen: The weather changes quickly in the Badlands. It’s important to dress in layers so you can quickly adapt to the elements. Additionally, the sun is strong in the Badlands, even in the winter, making it a good idea to pack sunscreen.
  • Backpack: Most hikers will need a comfortable backpack for their outing in Badlands National Park. This is especially important for hikes like the Notch Trail and Saddle Pass Trail, where hikers will need their hands free to climb ladders and navigate steep terrain.

If you plan on backpacking in Badlands National Park, this gear list is a great starting point.

Hikers walk in the snow on the Door Trail in Badlands National Park.
You can hike year-round in Badlands National Park, provided you pack the appropriate gear. Photo courtesy of NPS/Dudley Edmondson.

Safety

  • As with any hike, notify someone of where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Be prepared with extra food, water, and layers.
  • Talk to the ranger and check the weather forecast before you set out.
  • Carry and map and GPS device with you.
  • Don’t approach wildlife.
  • Wear proper footwear to protect against rocks and cacti.
  • Watch for rattlesnakes.
A bison stands in green grasslands in Badlands National Park.
There are many incredible animals that call Badlands National Park home, but it’s important to view them from a safe distance. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Time

For safety and convenience, it’s important to be able to accurately estimate how long a given hike will take you. Everyone hikes at a different pace, and your pace can be greatly affected by the terrain, weather, your hiking companions, and navigational challenges. It’s a good idea to be generous in your time estimates so you can be properly prepared. Additionally, if you want to hike at sunrise or sunset, keep in mind that you’ll travel significantly slower in the dark.

Sunset over rock formations in Badlands National Park.
Hiking at sunrise or sunset can be very rewarding, but keep in mind that you’ll cover ground more slowly in low light conditions. Photo courtesy of NPS/Mackenzie Reed.

Navigation

Even some of the official hikes in Badlands National Park can be a little tricky to follow at times. The landscape lends itself to navigational challenges because trails can easily blend into the rocky, scrubby terrain, and the canyons and washes can feel like labyrinths. It’s a good idea to use your phone or another navigational device and carry a compass and a map.

This article provides more information about Badlands National Park maps.

An aerial view of rock formations in Badlands National Park.
Navigating in Badlands National Park can be very difficult so it’s important that hikers bring a map and/or GPS.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a quick family-friendly walk or a multi-day backcountry adventure, Badlands National Park has plenty of great options. The dramatic scenery, varied landscapes, and unique wildlife can be enjoyed from any of the trails in the park and there’s no better way to experience the magic of the Badlands than to get out for a hike.

Got questions or experiences you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Trails!

Rainbow over the Badlands Wall.
Have a great trip! Photo courtesy of NPS/Larry McAfee.

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The Complete Guide to Camping in Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument is a place where diverging paths come together. The monument itself straddles the border of Colorado and Utah, and it contains the confluence of the Green and…

Dinosaur National Monument is a place where diverging paths come together. The monument itself straddles the border of Colorado and Utah, and it contains the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers. It is also a place where nature, history, and culture all meet in captivating ways.

Named after the famous Dinosaur Quarry, it is the home of over 800 paleontological sites and numerous fossils of a variety of prehistoric species. Dinosaur National Monument also contains beautiful and well-preserved petroglyphs created by the Fremont People. And of course, the monument has endless recreational opportunities, such as hiking, rafting, and fishing. It is an official International Dark Sky Park, meaning that the stargazing there is top-notch.

Given all that, we think the best way to experience all that Dinosaur National Monument has to offer is by spending the night in your tent or RV where you’ll experience this incredible landscape firsthand.

Dinosaur National Monument and the surrounding areas have plenty of options for camping. From the six developed campgrounds located within the national monument to the primitive riverside sites, to the infinite backcountry options, you’re sure to find the perfect campsite in Dinosaur National Monument.

In addition to the campgrounds within the national monument, you’ll also find great options for RV and car camping just outside the park boundary.  Needless to say, you’ll be spoiled for options.

Keeping reading and get all the details to plan your perfect camping trip in Dinosaur National Monument.

In This Post

Dinosaur National Monument Campgrounds

There are six developed campgrounds located with Dinosaur National Monument. Three of these are located on the Utah side of the park (Green River, Split Mountain, and Rainbow Park), and three are located on the Colorado side (Echo Park, Deerlodge Park, and Gates of Lodore).

In addition to these six campgrounds, Dinosaur National Monument also features nearly two dozen primitive riverside sites and an endless array of at large backcountry options for those really wanting to get off the beaten track. All of the campgrounds are well located throughout the park, giving visitors plenty of campsites to choose from regardless of which section of Dinosaur National Monument they want to explore.

The map below gives you a general sense of where each of the developed campgrounds are located in Dinosaur National Monument as well as their relation to the surrounding area. 

Map of campgrounds in Dinosaur National Monument

Pay close attention to when each campground is open, as many are closed or difficult to access in the winter months. Additionally, the price for camping varies with the season; it is more expensive to camp during the summer months when water is available.

Generally speaking, April through October are the best months to visit Dinosaur National Monument. The weather is most agreeable and all of the campgrounds are typically open and accessible during this period.

Reservations and Permits

The following sites can be reserved on recreation.gov:

There are two backcountry sites located at the confluence of Jones Hole Creek and Ely Creek, along the Jones Hole Trail that require reservations. Call (435) 781-7700 to reserve these sites.

Reservations can be made up to six months in advance of your trip, but are not accepted less than 48 hours prior to arrival.

All other campground sites and backcountry sites in Dinosaur National Monument are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To secure a first-come, first-served campground during peak season, you will want to be sure to arrive early!

If you want to camp anywhere outside of the developed campgrounds (whether in a designated backcountry site or at large), you’ll need to obtain a free backcountry permit before heading out. You can get your permit by contacting either the Quarry Visitor’s Center: (435) 781-7700 or the Canyon Visitor’s Center: (970) 374-3000.

Deerlodge Park Camping Dinosaur National Monument
Deerlodge Park is a peaceful and scenic riverside campground. Photo courtesy of NPS.

What to bring on your Dinosaur National Monument Camping trip

Preparing for your Dinosaur National Monument camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping in Dinosaur National Monument:

Developed Campgrounds in Dinosaur National Monument

There are six developed campgrounds located in Dinosaur National Monument. These campgrounds vary in size and services and give plenty of options for those looking to explore all that Dinosaur has to offer. Details for all six campgrounds are below.

Green River Campground

Number of Sites: 80 sites
Fee: $18/night ($9.00 for seniors and access pass holders)
RVs: Yes, max size of 30′ RV or 20′ trailer.
Reservations: Available for B Loop sites (27 sites). Click here to reserve.
Season: Mid April through Mid October
More Information

Green River Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
Many sites have beautiful views of Green River and the surrounding peaks. Photo courtesy of NPS.

The Green River Campground is set in a tranquil cottonwood grove on the banks of the Green River. Located just five miles from Dinosaur Quarry, it’s the closest lodging option to this popular destination. The Green River Campground also provides good proximity to the Split Mountain boat ramp, a common endpoint for rafting trips in the area.

The Green River Campground contains 80 campsites. Site #41 and the adjacent bathroom are accessible for wheelchair users. The campground is organized into several loops with potable water and restrooms available throughout. There are flush toilets, but no showers. 27 out of the 80 total campsites are reservable in advance on Recreation.gov, while the remaining sites are always available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground typically only fills up on weekends near holidays.

RV’s are welcome at the Green River Campground, although there are no hookups or dump station available. RV’s longer than 30′ and trailers longer than 20′ are not recommended at the campground due to the narrow roads.

Green River Campground Map, Dinosaur National Monument
Map of the Green River Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Split Mountain Campground

Number of Sites: 4 group sites
Fee: $40/night during peak season, $6/night during the off season
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Available for group sites in peak season. Click here to reserve.
Season: Peak Season is early April through Mid/late October
More Information

Split Mountain Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
The Split Mountain Campground consists of four large group sites on the banks of the Green River. Photo courtesy of NPS/Dan Johnson

The Split Mountain Campground is conveniently located adjacent to the Split Mountain Boat Ramp and just a few miles from the popular Dinosaur Quarry. Its riverside location allows campers to enjoy great views of Green River and the iconic Split Mountain towering above.

During the peak season (typically early April through mid to late October), the Split Mountain Campground functions as a group campsite only, with four large sites accommodating 8-25 people and up to six vehicles. In peak season, reservations can be made for group sites on recreation.gov. Throughout the remainder of the year, the group sites are split up into several individual sites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Potable water and flush toilets are available from early April through early October. Vault toilets are available for the off season, but there is no running water during this time.

The Split Mountain Campground can accommodate RVs, but there are no hookups or dump stations. Generator use is allowed from 7 am-9 pm.

Split Mountain Campground Map, Dinosaur National Monument
Map of Split Mountain Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Rainbow Park Campground

Number of Sites: 4 sites
Fee: $6/night ($3.00 for seniors and access pass holders)
RVs: No
Reservations: N/A
Season: Open all year, but the road to the campground is impassible when wet and not serviced in the winter.
More Information

Rainbow Park Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
Views from the head of Split Canyon, near the Rainbow Park Campground. Photo courtesy of NPS/Dan Johnson.

This small, primitive campground is located on the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument and is 28 miles from the Quarry Visitor Center. It is located next to the boat ramp at the head of Split Mountain Canyon, a popular launch point for single-day rafting trips. The Rainbow Park area is packed with historical and natural attractions, including petroglyph panels from the Fremont People at McKee Springs, the Ruple Ranch, and several hiking trails and picnicking spots.

The Rainbow Park campground is located on the banks of the Green River. It consists of just four walk-in sites that can accommodate up to eight people each. Sites have picnic tables and campfire rings, and vault toilets and trash/recycling are available at the campground. It is important to note, however, that there is no potable water available at the Rainbow Park Campground. Water will need to be brought in or filtered from the river.

RV’s are not permitted at the Rainbow Park Campground, due to the rugged nature of the access road and sites.

The Rainbow Park Campground is open all year, although the road may be impassible in wet or winter conditions. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rainbow Park Campground Map, Dinosaur National Monument
Map of Rainbow Park Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Echo Park Campground

Number of Sites: 22 sites
Fee: $10/night for individual sites and $15 for the group site during peak season when water is available. $6.00/night when water is not available.
RVs: No
Reservations: The group site can be reserved at recreation.gov. All other sites are first-come, first-served.
Season: Open all year, but the road to the campground is impassible when wet and not serviced in the winter.
More Information

Tent in front of Steamboat Rock at the Echo Park Campground in Dinosaur National Monument
Great views from the Echo Park Campground. Photo courtesy of NPS.

For those campers willing to have a more rugged experience, Echo Park provides an incredible chance to sleep in one of Dinosaur National Monument’s most spectacular places. Situated in the shadow of the impressive Steamboat Rock and surrounding cliffs, nearly every site in this campground has uninterrupted views. The campground provides access to several trails that lead to the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers, the acclaimed Mitten Park trail, and more. Camping at Echo Park also gives you good proximity to unique sites like Whispering Cave and the Pool Creek Petroglyphs.

The Echo Park Campground consists of 22 sites, 17 of which are arranged around a loop road and accessible for cars and camper-top trucks. One of the sites on this loop is handicapped-accessible. There are also four walk-in tent sites, which are reached by following a short trail at the far end of the loop road. One group site is available at Echo Park Campground, which can accommodate 9-25 people. Vault toilets, picnic tables, and campfire rings with grills are provided. Water is available seasonally.

Due to the rugged road used to reach the Echo Park Campground, RV’s and trailers are strongly discouraged from attempting to access this area. Additionally, high-clearance vehicles are advised, due to the steep grades, sharp turns, and generally rough road conditions.

The Echo Park Campground is open all year, although the road is impassable in wet and winter conditions. Water is available at the campground only from late May through Mid-September.

Reservations for the group site can be made up to 12 months in advance at recreation.gov. All other sites at the Echo Park Campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground typically only fills up during holiday weekends in the summer.

Echo Park Campground Map, Dinosaur National Monument
Map of Echo Park Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Deerlodge Park Campground

Number of Sites: 7 sites
Fee: $10/night during peak rafting season when water is available. $6.00/night when water is not available. (50% discount for seniors and access pass holders)
RVs: No
Reservations: N/A
Season: Open all year, but the road to the campground is impassible when wet and not serviced in the winter. The campground typically floods in late Spring.
More Information

Deerlodge Park Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
Deerlodge Park Campground has seven shady walk-in sites on the banks of the Yampa River. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Deerlodge Park is a small, tent-only campground located on the eastern edge of Dinosaur National Monument. Set on the banks of the Yampa River, the campground enjoys plenty of shade and lovely views. It is located next to the boat ramp at the head of the Yampa Canyon. The campground is commonly used for boaters prior to beginning their raft trips.

The Deerlodge Park Campground has seven walk-in sites, each with a fire pit and picnic table. Each site can accommodate up to 25 people. There are vault toilets, and running water is typically available from mid-May through Mid-July. All trash must be packed out, as there is no garbage service at this campground.

Due to the rugged road used to reach the Deerlodge Campground, RV’s and trailers are strongly discouraged from attempting to access this area. Additionally, high-clearance vehicles are advised, due to the steep grades, sharp turns, and generally rough road conditions.

While the campground is open all year, the road is not accessible in wet or wintery conditions. Water is only available during the peak boating season for the Yampa River, which is typically mid-May through Mid-July. All sites at the campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gates of Lodore Campground

Number of Sites: 19 sites
Fee: $10/night during peak season when water is available. $6.00/night when water is not available. (50% discount for seniors and access pass holders)
RVs: Yes
Reservations: N/A
Season: Open all year, but the campground may be difficult to access in winter due to snow.
More Information

Gates of Lodore Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
A shady site at the Gates of Lodore Campground. Photo courtesy of NPS.

The Gates of Lodore Campground is located on the northern edge of Dinosaur National Monument. It is adjacent to a boat ramp that serves as a popular launch point for rafters heading down the Green River. The campground provides easy access to the Gates of Lodore Trail, as well as many other hiking options in the backcountry within this remote part of the Monument. The campground is also near other regional attractions, including the Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge and the John Jarvie Ranch.

The 19 sites in the Gates of Lodore Campground sit side-by-side along an unpaved dirt road. Vault toilets and bear-safe lockers are located throughout the campground, and picnic tables and fire pits are provided at each site. Drinking water is available during the peak summer season, typically late April through late October. There is no trash service at Gates of Lodore Campground, so all waste must be packed out.

RV’s and trailers are welcome at the Gates of Lodore Campground, but there are no hookups or dump stations available. All of the sites are quite flat and can easily fit a 25′ RV, while some sites can accommodate even larger vehicles.

The Gates of Lodore Campground is open all year, although it may be hard to access during winter months. Water is only available during the summer season. Reservations are not accepted for this campground; all sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gates of Lodore Campground Map, Dinosaur National Monument
Map of Gates of Lodore Campground, courtesy of NPS.

Designated Backcountry Sites

If you would prefer to get away from the bustle of the campgrounds and enjoy more solitude in the wilderness, Dinosaur National Monument offers plenty of great options for backcountry camping. The sites described in this section are only reachable by foot or boat, but they have basic facilities, including picnic tables and vault toilets. The majority of the designated backcountry sites are located along the river and are primarily used by boaters. There are two additional sites that are located along the Jones Hole trail.

River Campsites

Designated backcountry sites are located along each of the three major river-running routes in Dinosaur National Monument: Lodore Canyon, Yampa Canyon, and Whirlpool and Split Mountain Canyons. Campsites are generally spaced every couple of miles along the route. This map provides an overview of river camping options:

Backcountry River Sites Map, Dinosaur National Monument
Map of river sites in Dinosaur National Monument, courtesy of NPS.

A complete list of river sites, distances between sites, and camping regulations can be found on this page.

There are vault toilets provided at each site, but campers must filter their own water. The use of soap on the banks of the river is forbidden, and campers must pack out their own trash.

The high-use river-running season is from the second Monday in May through the second Friday in September. During this time, river sites may only be used by boaters. Outside of the high-use season, backpackers may also use the river sites. Sites are open all year and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Permits are required for backcountry camping at any of the river sites. Permits are free, although you’ll still need to pay the Dinosaur National Monument entrance fee. Boaters will also be required to pay River Recreation fees, detailed on page 11 of this booklet.

Jones Hole Trail Backcountry Sites

In addition to the backcountry sites for boaters located along the Green River, there are two campsites near the confluence of Jones Hole Creek and Ely Creek. To reach these sites, campers will start at the trailhead parking area at the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery, and hike about two miles along the Jones Hole Trail.

There are picnic tables and a vault toilet available at the sites. Each site can accommodate up to eight people. Fires are not permitted, and all trash must be packed out. There is no potable water provided at these sites, so campers should plan on filtering water from the creek. Sites are open all year, but must be reserved by calling (435) 781-7700.

Jones Hole Backcountry Campsites, Dinosaur National Monument
One of the two backcountry sites located along Ely Creek and the Jones Hole Trail. Photo courtesy of NPS.

At Large Backcountry Camping in Dinosaur National Monument

Beyond the campgrounds and designated backcountry sites, there’s yet another option for camping in Dinosaur National Monument. Experienced and adventurous campers can sleep out under the stars in the spot of their choosing, provided they follow a few important rules and regulations. This option, referred to as “At Large” backcountry camping, allows campers to hike on or off trail and pitch their tent anywhere in the Monument.

If you’re considering At Large Backcountry Camping in Dinosaur National Monument, it’s imperative you know some key information.

You CANNOT Camp in the following areas:

  • Within 1 mile of developed areas
  • Within half a mile from roads
  • Within 100 feet of any water source (river, stream, pond, etc)
  • Within 100 yards of any cultural, paleontological, or historic site
  • With 1/8 of a mile from any river
  • Along any of the following trails: Desert Voices, Sound of Silence, Box Canyon or Hog Canyon.

Also, keep in mind:

  • Water sources are scarce. Have a plan (and a backup plan) for where and how you’ll obtain all of the water you need for drinking and cooking.
  • You are camping in bear country. Use proper techniques for securing food and other scented items that might attract bears.
  • Campfires are only permitted in certain areas of the Monument. See this page for details.

Permits are required for At Large Camping. See this section for more information on permits.

Contact a ranger at (435) 781-7700 if you have questions about At Large camping in the backcountry.

Quarry Visitors Center, Dinosaur National Monument
The Quarry Visitor Center is one of the two places where you can obtain a backcountry camping permit. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Dinosaur National Monument Camping Must Know

The following sections contain all the basic information you need to ensure you have a great time camping in Dinosaur National Monument. Before we dive in, there are a few important regulations to note:

  • Water is not widely available, especially during the winter offseason. Check if your campsite will have access to potable water when you plan to camp and prepare accordingly.
  • Only camp in designated sites or areas that abide by the At Large Backcountry regulations.
  • No more than eight people per individual campsite and 25 people per group campsite.
  • Always store your food using the provided food storage locker, in your car or in an animal-proof container.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles.

Detailed information on fires, pets, wildlife, and more can be found in the sections below.

Fires

Fires are permitted at all designated campsites and picnic areas, but only in the fire rings and grills provided. Always check with the ranger or visitor center upon arrival, as seasonal fire bans may be in effect. Additionally, it is important to note that wood gathering is prohibited in all developed and riverside areas of the monument. Visitors must bring in their own locally-sourced firewood.

Fires are typically permitted in the backcountry, EXCEPT:

  • Jones Hole Creek Canyon (including the designated backcountry sites along the Jones Hole Trail)
  • Upper Pool Creek Canyon
  • Lower Sand Canyon
  • Pats Draw
  • Green and Yampa Rivers Canyons (with the exception of designated river campsites)
  • Within 1 mile of developed areas and campgrounds.

If you plan to make a fire in the backcountry, you must exercise extreme caution to ensure that the fire and sparks are properly contained and monitored, and fully extinguished before departure.

Campfires in Dinosaur National Monument

Fires are ONLY permitted in backcountry at large and river campsites IF:

  • A fire pan is used and all fire debris is removed from the backcountry.
  • The fire pan must be at least 3 inches above the ground and be placed on a fireproof tarp or blanket to catch all debris from the area around the pan.

Wildlife

Dinosaur National Monument’s diverse landscapes host a multitude of unique ecosystems. The deserts, canyons, rivers, and mountains are home to a wonderful range of species. Some notable fauna include the peregrine falcon, the greater sage grouse, and several species of endangered fish. While the chance to see wildlife in their native habitat is certainly an unforgettable experience for those lucky enough to witness it, there are some precautions to keep in mind when spending time in Dinosaur National Monument.

Black Bears: Even though it may not seem like it, Dinosaur National Monument is bear country. Black bears are not typically aggressive, but they are curious and they can be dangerous when they feel threatened. The most common encounters with bears happen when they are seeking food. Be sure to read these safety guidelines before camping in Dinosaur.

Mountain Lions: Dinosaur National Monument is home to mountain lions, although it is incredibly rare to encounter this elusive big cat. That being said, they can be dangerous to humans and it’s important to know what to do if you cross paths with a mountain lion. Learn more about mountain lion safety here.

A Great Blue Heron catches a fish on the banks of the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument.
A Great Blue Heron catches a fish on the banks of the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo courtesy of NPS/Dan Johnson.

Pets

Pets are allowed in Dinosaur National Monument, but only in specific areas and under specific rules. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry, on certain trails, or on river trips.

They are permitted in the developed campgrounds, adjacent to park infrastructure, and on the main park roads. They are also allowed on the following trails:  Plug Hat Butte and other trails at the Plug Hat Picnic Area, Canyon Overlook, Echo Park Overlook, Iron Springs Bench Overlook, Swelter Shelter Petroglyphs Trail, and the River Trail.

If you bring your pet to Dinosaur National Monument, you must follow these regulations:

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times.
  • Pets are allowed within campgrounds, on park roads, and in picnic areas.
  • Pets are not allowed in park buildings, on trails (except the ones noted above), or in the backcountry.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended in your vehicle. Temperatures can get extremely hot in Dinosaur.
  • Always properly dispose of pet waste.
  • Properly documented and trained service animals are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities anywhere members of the public may normally go within the park.

For a complete list of regulations related to pets check out the Dinosaur National Monument website here.

Dogs happily exploring one of the pet-friendly trails in Dinosaur National Monument.
Dogs happily exploring one of the pet-friendly trails in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Where to Get Supplies

Dinosaur National Monument is a vast area with no supplies or services available within the park (with the exception of a few snack items at the Visitor centers). This means it is extremely important that you enter the monument well-stocked on food, water (if there’s none available at your destination), gas, and any other necessities you may need while camping.

Map of Services near Dinosaur National Monument
This map provides a sense of the available services near Dinosaur National Monument. Courtesy of NPS.

The available services and their proximity to the Monument vary depending on which direction you’ll be coming from. Your options are outlined below:

Vernal, UT: Located just twenty minutes from the Quarry Visitor Center, this is the major portal to Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah side of the park. In Vernal and the surrounding area, you’ll find grocery stores, outdoor retailers, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and a medical center.

Dinosaur, CO: Less than 10 minutes from the southern entrance to the Monument and the Canyon Visitor Center, the town of Dinosaur has a gas station, convenience store, restaurant, and a liquor store. However, if you’re looking for lodging, several restaurant options, and a full grocery store, you’ll need to head about 18 miles southeast to the town of Rangely, CO.

Maybell, CO: If you plan on camping at Deerlodge Park and exploring the eastern side of the Monument, the tiny town of Maybell is located just 30 minutes driving from the Deerlodge Park Campground and is the closest place for supplies and services. Maybell has a gas station, post office, small general store, and one hotel. If you’re needing more services, the town of Craig, CO is 37 miles east of Maybell and has several dining and lodging options, supermarkets, gas stations, and a hospital.

Camping Near Dinosaur National Monument

While camping within the confines of Dinosaur National Monument is a remarkable and unrivaled experience, there are many reasons why you might seek out one of the developed campgrounds in the nearby area. Considering there are no hookups nor dump stations at any of the campgrounds inside the Monument, RV’s may prefer to set up camp in one of the more accommodating sites nearby. Additionally, the campgrounds listed in this section provide a great place to stay before or after your trip to Dinosaur National Monument, as they give you more convenient access to services, supplies, and major roadways.

Vernal, Utah Camping
Camping in Vernal, Utah gives you easy access to the famous Dinosaur Quarry.

Camping Near Vernal, UT

Ashley National Forest

Number of sites: Varies
Fee: $12-25/night for tents, $25-50/night for RVs (plus entry fee and optional additional dump station fees)
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended for RV sites and cabins. Call 1-877-444-6777 or visit recreation.gov
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Located about 40 minutes north of Vernal, Ashley National Forest has a wide range of options to suit all types of campers. RV’s are welcome at many of the numerous campgrounds in Ashley National Forest, although the Lodgepole Campground is the best option given it’s the only one with a dump station that gives easy proximity to Dinosaur. Beyond traditional developed campgrounds, there are also options for cabin rentals and dispersed camping.

Vernal/Dinosaurland KOA

Number of sites: 86
Fee: $39-44/night for tents, $47-85/night for RVs, $75-250/night for cabins
Capacity: None stated.
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended for RV sites and cabins.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

With a convenient location in the center of Vernal and plenty of great amenities, this is a fantastic option for RVs and families. Extra-large sites and well-equipped hookups make this a welcoming place for even the biggest rigs.

Amenities include a swimming pool, small shop, laundry, wifi, and pet park.

Fossil Valley RV Park

Number of sites: 70
Fee: $41-49/night for RV’s and tents
Capacity: 6 people per standard site
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended
Pets: Allowed (max 2)
More Information

This Good Sam park is within walking distance to shops and restaurants in central Vernal, making it a convenient choice. It is well suited for RVs of all sizes, with full hookups, large flat pitches, and a dump station. Both tents and RVs will appreciate the plentiful shade trees and grassy areas.

Amenities include laundry, wifi, picnic tables, and bathrooms with showers.

Outlaw Trail RV Park

Number of sites: 29
Fee: $35-38/night for RV’s, $15-20/night for tents, $30-95/night for cabins
Capacity: None stated
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Situated in the town of Jensen and just seven miles from the entrance of Dinosaur National Monument, this RV park is the closest option on this side of the Monument. While you won’t be quite as close to restaurants and services as you would be in Vernal, you’ll be well-positioned for endless adventures. Outlaw Trail offers pull-through and back-in gravel sites with full hookups, grassy tent pitches, and two rustic cabins.

Amenities include laundry, coin-operated showers, and a playground.

Red Fleet State Park Campground

Number of sites: 29
Fee: $25-28/night for RV’s, $15/night for tents, $35/night for teepees
Capacity: 8 people per site
RVs: Yes (sites #18-22 have hookups)
Reservations: Recommended for peak season (May 15th-October 1st)
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This beautiful campground is situated on the edge of the Red Fleet Reservoir and surrounded by the dramatic scenery of Red Fleet State Park. The 29 sites all welcome tents and RVs, although only sites #18-22 have hookups. The campground is about 10 miles north of Vernal and 40 minutes’ drive from the entrance of Dinosaur National Monument.

Amenities include picnic tables, firepits, flush toilets, trash collection, and boat rentals.

Car camping near Dinosaur National Monument
Car camping is a fun way to explore Dinosaur National Monument.

Camping Near Moffat County, CO

Craig KOA

Number of sites: 103
Fee: $39-64/night for RV’s, $30/night for tents, $63-72/night for cabins
Capacity: None stated
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This popular KOA is one of the best options for those entering Dinosaur National Monument from its eastern side. It is set on the edge of the town of Craig, providing easy access to shops and dining. The campground offers a variety of full hookup RV sites, plus tent camping and cabin rentals.

Amenities include a small shop, laundry, playground, and dog park.

Elkhead Reservoir State Park

Number of sites: 46 (30 electric at the Pronghorn Campground & 16 nonelectric at the Bears Ears Campground)
Fee: $22/night for a basic site (Bears Ears), $30/night for an electric site (Pronghorn)
Capacity: 6 people per site
RVs: Yes, electricity available at the Pronghorn Campground only
Reservations: Required. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-244-5613.
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Elkhead Reservoir State Park offers two great campgrounds located just under an hour from the east entrance of Dinosaur National Monument. RVs and tents are welcome at both campgrounds, but electric hookups are only provided at the Pronghorn Campground. All sites have picnic tables, firepits, parking pads and access to nearby restrooms. Many sites enjoy shoreline locations on the edge of the reservoir. Keep in mind that reservations are required to camp in Elkhead Reservoir State Park.

Many of the campgrounds near Dinosaur National Monument can accommodate RVs of all shapes and sizes.

Camping Near Dinosaur, CO

Rangely Camper Park

Number of sites: 26
Fee: $15/night
Capacity: None stated
RVs: Yes,
Reservations: Recommended in peak season
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This friendly, city-run campground is conveniently located in the center of Rangely, and within walking distance to shops and restaurants. It’s about a 25-minute drive from the southern entrance of Dinosaur National Monument. The paved sites, 30 amp hookups, dump station, and shady, grassy pitches make this a welcoming place for both tents and RVs. Amenities include bathrooms, hot showers, and a kids’ fishing pond.

Buck ‘N’ Bull RV Park

Number of sites: 29
Fee: $15/night for tents, $35/night for RVs
Capacity: None stated, but additional fee for more than 2 people
RVs: Yes
Reservations: Recommended in peak season
Pets: Allowed
More Information

This is a no-frills campground that provides well-equipped sites for both tents and RVs. It is located just a few miles outside of the town of Rangely, meaning its just a short drive from shops and restaurants and about 30 minutes from Dinosaur National Monument.

Amenities include laundry, wifi, and restrooms.

Kenney Reservoir

Number of sites: Varies
Fee: $8/night
Capacity: None stated
RVs: Yes
Reservations: N/A
Pets: Allowed
More Information

Seasonal camping (April-October) is allowed in designated sites along the edge of the reservoir. RVs are welcome, but there are no hookups and some spots can be tight. There are bathrooms, picnic tables, and swimming areas available for campers to use. Kenney Reservoir is just six miles from the town of Rangely and 30 minutes from Dinosaur National Monument.

River campsites Green River Dinosaur National Monument
A peaceful backcountry site along the Green River. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope you’ve found all of the information in this post helpful and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure in Dinosaur National Monument! Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or had a great time out camping!

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Cleveland Way Packing List

If we could choose just one word to describe the Cleveland Way it would be this: variety. Over the course of its 110 glorious miles, the Cleveland Way crosses forests,…

If we could choose just one word to describe the Cleveland Way it would be this: variety.

Over the course of its 110 glorious miles, the Cleveland Way crosses forests, hills, moorland, coastal cliffs, historical landmarks, and charming villages. While the diversity of sights and landscapes certainly adds to the richness of the experience, it can make packing pretty challenging!

You’ll need to be prepared for all sorts of weather, and well as some challenging hills and tough underfoot conditions on the Cleveland Way. At the same time, carrying too big a rucksack will undoubtedly take away from the enjoyment of your trek.

So how does one strike that elusive balance between having all of the necessities without feeling like they have a baby elephant on their back? Read on for our best advice and detailed kit lists to learn everything you need (and what you don’t need) to have your best possible Cleveland Way Walk!

In this post:

Hiker on Urra Moor, Cleveland Way
Approaching Round Hill on Urra Moor, the high point on the Cleveland Way.

Packing Basics for the Cleveland Way

There are so many variables when it comes to packing for the Cleveland Way, such as your accommodation type, hiking style, trip length, baggage transfers, time of year, and many more. Every hiker will have a unique kit to best serve their individual needs. Despite all of those factors, there are some universal rules that all hikers should follow when putting together their kit for the Cleveland Way.

How Much Should My Pack Weigh?

This isn’t easy to answer, since there are a ton of factors that influence how much is too much for any individual hiker. Some things to think about…

  • How fast are you hoping to hike? Generally speaking, lighter=faster
  • Have you completed a multi-day through hike with this specific backpack and this amount of weight before? 
  • Are you injury-prone or do you have any chronic knee, hip, or back issues? 

As a very general rule, campers should keep their pack weight below 13kg, including food and water. Those staying indoors should carry no more than 9kg. If having your luggage transferred along the trail, most transfer services will limit you to 20kg, and your daypack shouldn’t exceed 4kg. If you are backpacking for the first time or have a chronic injury, the weight of your pack should be significantly less than these guidelines.

Generally speaking, less is more. Here’s a few tips for lightening your load:

  1. You only need a couple of shirts. Same goes for underwear and socks. Bring quick-dry items that you can rinse out in the sink or shower.
  2. Plan out when/where you’ll restock food provisions and don’t carry more food than you need.
  3. Consider leaving your bulky camera equipment at home. Unless photography is your passion, most smartphones take great photos and save a ton of space and weight.
Backpacking backpack
The type of pack you’ll need for the Cleveland Way will depend on your individual itinerary.

Choosing a backpack for the Cleveland Way

Just like with footwear, a properly fitting backpack is crucial on the Cleveland Way. Also similar to your boots, your pack needs to be broken in for optimal comfort. We recommend carrying a weighted pack on your training walks to get used to the extra weight and ensure it fits well.

If you plan on staying in B&B’s along the route, you won’t need a very large rucksack. A 25-liter pack should be enough to hold a few clothing items, food, water, and toiletries.

Those staying in dorms and bunkhouses will most likely need to carry a sleeping bag and towel. A 30-40L pack will be more than enough space for everything you need.

If you plan on camping, you’ll need a larger pack to fit your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and cooking equipment in addition to your basic supplies. A 45-60L pack will be suitable for most campers.

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a pack cover to protect against rain! Many newer packs come with one built-in.

Read More: Cleveland Way Maps and Routes

Coast to Coast Walk hiking boots
Footwear on the Cleveland Way comes down to personal preference and fit, but always break in new boots ahead of time!

Footwear on the Cleveland Way

One of the most challenging aspects of the Cleveland Way is the strain it puts on your feet. The many miles on rocky tracks and over undulating terrain will leave your feet feeling sore and tired. Add in some moisture, and you’ve got a real recipe for trouble. While some soreness is inevitable with longs days of walking, blisters, bruising, and extreme discomfort don’t have to be. Therefore, it is imperative that you test out your footwear ahead of time and make sure you break it in!

Hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will all work for the Cleveland Way, provided that they will work for your unique needs. The most important thing is that they’re adequately broken in and that you’ve tested them on multiple walks to ensure they are comfortable. You’ll likely need to go up half a size to account for thicker socks and/or swollen feet. Some people may prefer the ankle support of traditional hiking boots, while others may seek out the cushion and breathability of trail shoes. Again, it’s all about trying a variety of options and finding the best one for you.

In terms of waterproofing, there are two opposing schools of thought about this. It is inevitable that your feet will get wet at multiple points along your walk, from driving rains, flooded paths, and so on. Many hikers prefer to use sturdy boots with a thick layer of waterproofing to keep the moisture out as much as possible. This is a good strategy, but keep in mind that when these heavier shoes get wet they can take a long time to dry.

Others prefer to use breathable trail shoes. These will get wet right away, but they’ll also be dry again within a couple of hours and allow your feet to get some air in the meantime. It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but it’s a good idea to try a few options out prior to setting off on your Cleveland Way journey.

Good socks are also a game-changer on the Cleveland Way. We love merino wool socks like these for their comfort, breathability, and anti-stink qualities.

If you’re blister-prone, consider trying toe sockssock liners, and/or body glide.

If you need more underfoot padding, try using socks with extra cushioning or even some custom insoles.

A view of Whitby from the water
The trail passes through many lovely seaside villages, including Whitby.

Good Waterproofs

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad rain gear! No matter what time of year you choose to walk, it is nearly gaurunteed that you’ll experience some wet weather at some point along your journey. Having the appropriate gear will make all the difference when it comes to enjoying your trip to the fullest. Bonus: waterproof outer layers will also serve as great protection against the infamous winds that can blow on sections of the Cleveland Way.

At the very minimum, make sure you have a lightweight rain jacketrain pants, and a pack cover. Some hikers pack their clothing and other items inside trash bags or waterproof packing cubes as an extra precaution. A hat can be nice to keep the rain out of your face. And a waterproof carrying case for your map and/or phone isn’t a bad idea either.

Man standing in red rain jacket on the South Downs Way
Good waterproofs will keep you smiling throughout your walk!

Personal Gear

Whether you’re camping or staying indoors, these items are must-haves for your Cleveland Way packing list. While we’ve included some toiletries that are absolutely essential for this trek, we’ve left it up to you to determine your own list of additional self-care items (comb, toothbrush, prescription medication, etc). 

Most Valuable Personal Item: Black Diamond Alpine Flz Trekking Poles

The Cleveland Way has quite a few hills and all that up and down can really wreak havoc on knees and hips after awhile. Trekking poles make a huge difference in relieving the impact on your joints, not to mention they also make climbing hills feel much easier. They’re also great for saving ankles and helping with stability on loose, rocky trails (which there are plenty of on the Cleveland Way). We love this Black Diamond pair because they are sturdy, lightweight, easily packable, and the cork handles fend off sweat and blisters much better than the other styles.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Multi-ToolBibury 21-in-1 Multi-ToolPerfect for cutting cheese or opening cans when you need some trail-side snacks!
First Aid KitSurviveware Small First Aid KitA good backpacking first aid kit is essential. You hope to never have to use it, but will be glad you have it when you need it. We like the labeled compartments and waterproof case on this one.
Hydration BladderPlatypus Big ZipWay easier than a water bottle! We suggest carrying a 3-liter version.
Small DaypackDeuter Speed Light 20An optional item that is great for walking around town. Deuter makes one that is versatile and good quality.
Pack CoverSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Rain CoverThis is a truly essential piece of gear given how hard it can rain on the Cleveland Way! This one has an extra strap that keeps it in place on windy days.
Men’s BackpackOsprey Atmos AG 50While backpacks are a very personal item, we find Osprey to make by far the most comfortable packs on the market. This 50L model will work for minimalist campers or those staying indoors.
Women’s BackpackOsprey Aura AG 50One of our favorite features of Osprey packs is the ‘anti-gravity’ mesh. So comfortable!
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond Alpine FlzThese can help take the load off your knees and they’re great on steep sections.
Travel TowelEono Microfiber TowelGreat to have in hostels and campsite showers.
Headlamp/ Head torchBlack Diamond StormGreat headtorch with long battery life and adjustable brightness.
Dry BagsEarth Pak 10L or 20LKeeps your clothes and other items dry in a downpour! These are also great for keeping your kit organized and packed efficiently.
Hiking GaitersPeter Storm Ankle GaitersOptional. These will help keep your boots dry when walking on muddy or boggy trails and they’ll keep out stones, dirt, and gravel.
SunscreenWe recommend a waterproof sport version with SPF 30 or higher.
Bug SprayBen’s Insect RepellentYou’ll be glad you brought this when the mozzies or midges come out.
Toilet Paper and TrowelThe TentLab Ultralight TrowelAs any hiker will tell you, it’s always better to be prepared and Leave No Trace!
Purple heather alongside a dirt trail on the Cleveland Way
Hike in late August or September to experience breathtaking seas of purple heather in full bloom!

Miscellaneous Gear

These odds and ends are the unsung heroes of any Cleveland Way packing list. From getting your stinky shirt clean to keeping your phone charged, these items help your trek run smoothly. Make sure to use this list in addition to the other categories to complete your Cleveland Way kit. 

Most valuable miscellaneous gear: Anker Powercore 10000.

Chances are, you’re getting out on the trail to get a break from the constant demands of screens and technology and that’s wonderful. However, don’t underestimate the importance of having a charged cell phone on the Cleveland Way Walk. Your phone can be your navigational device, your camera, your guidebook, and your notepad all in one. The route can be a bit unclear at times, and charging opportunities are inconsistent, so a battery backup can be an absolute lifesaver. This one is dependable, relatively small, and can fully charge your phone 1.5-2 times between charges. Check it out here:

ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Guide BookTrailblazer: The Cleveland WayThis comprehensive and up-to-date guide has tons of useful information about lodging, food, logistics, and sites of interest along the route. Plus, the detailed area maps are very handy.
Ear PlugsMack’s Ear PlugsEssential for a good night’s sleep! We find the silicone ones to stay in place and block out noise best.
Sleeping MaskAlaska BearPerfect to block out light while sleeping in hostels or campgrounds on the Cleveland Way.
Travel AdapterLYSEDa All in One USB Travel AdapterIf you’re coming from abroad, this is going to be necessary. This one is super compact and the two USB ports are very handy!
Digital WatchCasio Classic Sport WatchWe recommend a simple digital watch to keep track of hiking times. This one is a great value and nearly indestructible.
CameraSony Alpha 6000Optional, but this compact camera takes beautiful photos and is easy to use.
Battery BackupAnker Powercore 10,000Great for charging electronics when you don’t have access to an outlet.
Biodegradable SoapCoghlan’s Camp SoapPerfect for doing the dishes or washing a few clothing items.
Plastic Bags- quart, gallon, and garbage bags.We used these constantly for everything from storing trail mix to keeping our sleeping bags dry. A must-have for backpacking. They can be repurposed many times to minimize plastic waste.
Coast to Coast Walk women's packing list

Women’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for over a week in various weather conditions and while doing some serious walking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your Cleveland Way Walk. Plus, if you’re anything like us, you have no idea how many pairs of socks to bring.

Emily’s most valuable clothing item: Berghaus Deluge Rain Trousers 

English weather is temperamental. While walking the Cleveland Way, you’ll get to experience a wide range of elements (rain, sun, wind, etc), often all in the same day! For the times when the weather turns, you’ll want to be able to quickly and effortlessly adapt your clothing to stay dry and comfortable. These Berghaus rain pants are simple, effective, comfortable, and easy to get on and off over boots. Check them out here:

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go SportThese are worth every penny when it comes to staying comfortable on the trail. They are quick-drying and antimicrobial meaning you can just bring a few pairs and wash them in the sink as you go.
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Micro Crew SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Sports Bra (1)Under Armour Mid Crossback This is a good example of something breathable and comfortable that you can wear all day.
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Smartwool NTS 250 Base LayerA great merino wool base layer for chilly mornings.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Leggings or hiking pants (1)Berghaus Amlia Walking TrousersStylish, lightweight, and great to hike in.
Shorts (1)The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 These shorts are super versatile and durable! The soft, wide waistband works great underneath a rucksack’s hip belt.
Down JacketRab Microlight AlpineLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain JacketMarmot PreCip Eco JacketA high-quality all-weather jacket that packs up small.
Rain PantsBerghaus Deluge For those heavy English downpours!
Hiking BootsKeen Targhee Mid Height Hiking BootEmily has had these boots for five years and hundreds of muddy, snowy hikes, and they are still going strong!
SunglassesSinner Polarised SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re outside all day. And these are stylish too!
Underwire/Standard BraAfter a long day of hiking in a sweaty sports bra this can be a welcome relief to change into.
GlovesSmartwool liner glovesOptional in the summertime, but can be nice to have in tempermental weather.
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.

Sandals/Camp Shoes Crocs Classic ClogGreat to change into after a long day of walking!
BandanaRobelli BandanaI used this for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Coast to Coast Walk Men's Clothing
Another perk of hiking socks-really cool tan lines!

Men’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for eight days in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your Cleveland Way adventure.

Ian’s most valuable clothing item: Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

The conditions on the Cleveland Way are such that hikers are at a particularly high risk of getting blisters at some point on their walk. The wet environments, long mileage, and stony paths conspire to create the perfect environment for blisters to sabotage your walk. Fortunately, a good pair of socks can greatly reduce your chance of foot issues. This is one of those times where you really do get what you pay for. We love Darn Tough socks because they keep our feet dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. They have just the right amount of cushion without being too bulky in boots. Plus, the Merino wool keeps them smelling fresh for days. Check them out here:


ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer BriefHighly recommended! You can bring just 2-3 pairs and wash them easily in sinks or showers. A must!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Boot Socks In our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Icebreaker 200 OasisThis is a very versatile baselayer that works great under an outer layer or on its own.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Hiking Pants (1 pair)The North Face Exploration Convertible TrousersThese are great for hiking and also look great walking around town!
Hiking Shorts (1 pair)Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo ShortsYou can skip these if you’re using our recommended convertible trousers, but it can be nice to have an extra set of bottoms. These are so packable that you really can’t go wrong!
Down JacketRab Cirrus Flex HoodyLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain Jacket Marmot Precip Eco JacketUnlike many lightweight rain jackets. this one will actually keep you dry during long days on the trail.
Rain PantsThe North Face Venture 2 Waterproof Overtrousers Essential for those heavy English downpours!
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.
Sandals/Camp ShoesCrocs Classic ClogSuper nice to change into after walking in boots all day!
Hiking BootsSalomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTXVery comfortable and super waterproof!
SunglassesSinner Thunder Crystal Revo SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re in outdoors all day. And these are stylish too!
BandanaRobelli BandanaThis can be used for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Camping on the Cleveland Way

Camping Gear

Camping on the Cleveland Way is definitely worth carrying the bigger backpack. For the most part, campgrounds along the trail are convenient, and generally quite comfortable. Camping allows you to keep a more flexible schedule, save money, and fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors. With the right gear and a manageable pack size, you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience conquering the Cleveland Way with your own tent.

Most valuable camping gear: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit

Many people choose to camp along the Cleveland Way because of the tremendous money they can save on their accommodation. The budgetary benefits go beyond your sleeping arrangements, though. Camping allows you to self-cater your meals, saving you from spending tons on overpriced pub food every day. This MSR Kit is super lightweight, easy to pack, and convenient for all of those al fresco dinners and trailside coffee breaks.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
TentMSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking TentThis is the best designed tent on the market. The genius freestanding rain cover allows you to pack up all of your gear and tent while still being sheltered- perfect for rainy mornings!
Sleeping BagVango Treklite Lightweight Sleeping BagSuper compact, light, and cozy, this bag is a great value. If you’re walking in the summer months, you should only need the Ultra 600 version.
Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest Ultralight Camping PadIf you are a side sleeper this is a must! Even if you’re not, this is one of the most lightweight and comfortable sleeping pads out there. The pump sack makes inflating it a breeze, too!
PillowTherm-a-Rest Compressible PillowIf you’re camping more than a few nights you will be glad you packed this!
Stove+FuelMSR Pocket Rocket 2Ian has used this stove for nearly a decade and highly recommends it!
Backpacking PotGSI Outdoors Halulite BoilerThis versatile and high-quality pot is the perfect size for anything from boiling water to making porridge.
Plate/Bowl/MugMSR 2-Person Mess KitWe find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.
UtensilHumangear SporkThe only utensil you’ll need!
Person outside a stone cottage

Hostel/Bunkhouse Gear

If you are sticking strictly to hotels, B&B’s, and guesthouses, you shouldn’t need to worry about the items on this list. However, for those staying in communal/dorm-style accommodations, there are some essential items you need to pack. Keep in mind that most hostels provide bedding, but you should check with individual places in advance to be sure. On the other hand, you will be responsible for providing your own towel (although some places will rent you one for an additional fee).

Most valuable item for bunkhouses & hostels: Mac’s Earplugs

Hiking is infinitely less fun when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. There are many wonderful hostels along the Cleveland Way, but Olympic-level snorers and other noisy neighbors seem to hang out in all of them. These earplugs do an excellent job of blocking out sleep-sabotaging sounds. We find that they work better, stay in longer, and are more comfortable than those cheap foam earplugs.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
EarplusMack’s Silicone EarplugsThe best defense for that snorer next door!
Eye MaskAlaska Bear Silk Sleep MaskPerfect to block out light while sleeping in dormitories.
Sleep SheetScottish Silkworm Sleeping Bag LinerA nice item to have for nights in bunkhouses and hostels.
Travel TowelSea to Summit Drylite TowelNot all of the bunkhouses along the Cleveland Way provide towels, so it’s nice to have a backup.
Sandals/SlippersCrocs Classic ClogLightweight and super comfortable!
A quiet street in Robin Hood's Bay, along the Cleveland Way

Conclusion

The Cleveland Way, with its colorful moors, magnificent coastal vistas, and quaint seaside villages is one of the UK’s most memorable walks. While it’s definitely managable for walkers of all ability levels, it’s not without its challenges. By putting together a smart kit, you’ll get to focus your energy on the good kinds of challenges (like climbing a steep hill or covering vast distances), and avoid the less fun types of challenges (getting soaked in a downpour or dealing with blisters). The gear choose to pack (and leave behind) will be essential in ensuring that you have everything you need to stay comfortable, prepared, and injury-free without carrying a bigger rucksack than needed. Happy trails!

Also be sure to check out our Cleveland Way Maps & Routes post!

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Cotswold Way Packing List

Whether you’re looking for quaint villages, ancient ruins, or spectacular natural scenery, the Cotswold Way will not disappoint. This 102-mile (164 km) route connects the charming town of Chipping Camden…

Whether you’re looking for quaint villages, ancient ruins, or spectacular natural scenery, the Cotswold Way will not disappoint. This 102-mile (164 km) route connects the charming town of Chipping Camden to the historic Roman city of bath. Along the way, walkers will enjoy some of the UK’s most picturesque countryside, woodlands, and villages.

Given the plentiful accommodation and services located along the Cotswold Way, you won’t need to carry a very large rucksack. That being said, you’ll want to be prepared for a wide range of landscapes and weather conditions. So how does pack smarter not heavier for this incredible adventure?

Read on for our best advice and detailed kit lists to see everything you need (and everything you don’t) to have your best possible Cotswold Way Walk!

In this post:

A street scene in Bath, UK, at the end of the Cotswold Way
The historic city of Bath, the traditional endpoint of the Cotswold Way.

Packing Basics for the Cotswold Way

There are so many variables when it comes to packing for the Cotswold Way, such as your accommodation type, hiking style, trip length, baggage transfers, time of year, and many more. Every hiker will have a unique kit to best serve their individual needs. Despite all of those factors, there are some universal rules that all hikers should follow when putting together their kit for the Cotswold Way.

How Much Should My Pack Weigh?

This isn’t easy to answer, since there are a ton of factors that influence how much is too much for any individual hiker. Some things to think about…

  • How fast are you hoping to hike? Generally speaking, lighter=faster
  • Have you completed a multi-day through hike with this specific backpack and this amount of weight before? 
  • Are you injury-prone or do you have any chronic knee, hip, or back issues? 

As a very general rule, campers should keep their pack weight below 13kg, including food and water. Those staying indoors should carry no more than 9kg. If having your luggage transferred along the trail, most transfer services will limit you to 20kg, and your daypack shouldn’t exceed 4kg. If you are backpacking for the first time or have a chronic injury, the weight of your pack should be significantly less than these guidelines.

Generally speaking, less is more. Here’s a few tips for lightening your load:

  1. You only need a couple of shirts. Same goes for underwear and socks. Bring quick-dry items that you can rinse out in the sink or shower.
  2. Plan out when/where you’ll restock food provisions and don’t carry more food than you need.
  3. Consider leaving your bulky camera equipment at home. Unless photography is your passion, most smartphones take great photos and save a ton of space and weight.
Backpacking backpack
The type of pack you’ll need for the Cotswold Way will depend on your individual itinerary.

Choosing a backpack for the Cotswold Way

Just like with footwear, a properly fitting backpack is crucial on the Cotswold Way. Also similar to your boots, your pack needs to be broken in for optimal comfort. We recommend carrying a weighted pack on your training walks to get used to the extra weight and ensure it fits well.

If you plan on staying in B&B’s along the route, you won’t need a very large rucksack. A 25-liter pack should be enough to hold a few clothing items, food, water, and toiletries.

Those staying in dorms and bunkhouses will most likely need to carry a sleeping bag and towel. A 30-40L pack will be more than enough space for everything you need. Keep in mind, these types of accommodations are quite limited along the route.

If you plan on camping, you’ll need a larger pack to fit your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and cooking equipment in addition to your basic supplies. A 45-60L pack will be suitable for most campers. Most of the camping along the way will likely consist of informally pitching your tent with the permission of local landowners, so you’ll need to be prepared to be quite self-sufficient.

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a pack cover to protect against rain! Many newer packs come with one built-in.

Read more: Cotswold Way Maps and Routes

Coast to Coast Walk hiking boots
Footwear on the Cotswold Way comes down to personal preference and fit, but always break in new boots ahead of time!

Footwear on the Cotswold Way

One of the most challenging aspects of the CotswoldWay is the strain it puts on your feet. While it’s not an especially difficult trail, there are plenty of ups and downs across a variety of surfaces, lumpy, wet grass being one of the most common (and most tiresome!) terrains. While some soreness is inevitable with longs days of walking, blisters, bruising, and extreme discomfort don’t have to be. Therefore, it is imperative that you test out your footwear ahead of time and make sure you break it in!

Hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will all work for the Cotswold Way, provided that they will work for your unique needs. The most important thing is that they’re adequately broken in and that you’ve tested them on multiple walks to ensure they are comfortable. You’ll likely need to go up half a size to account for thicker socks and/or swollen feet. Some people may prefer the ankle support of traditional hiking boots, while others may seek out the cushion and breathability of trail shoes. Again, it’s all about trying a variety of options and finding the best one for you.

In terms of waterproofing, there are two opposing schools of thought about this. It is inevitable that your feet will get wet at multiple points along your walk, from driving rains, flooded paths, and so on. Many hikers prefer to use sturdy boots with a thick layer of waterproofing to keep the moisture out as much as possible. This is a good strategy, but keep in mind that when these heavier shoes get wet they can take a long time to dry.

Others prefer to use breathable trail shoes. These will get wet right away, but they’ll also be dry again within a couple of hours and allow your feet to get some air in the meantime. It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but it’s a good idea to try a few options out prior to setting off on your Cotswold Way journey.

Good socks are also a game-changer on the Cotswold Way. We love merino wool socks like these for their comfort, breathability, and anti-stink qualities.

If you’re blister-prone, consider trying toe sockssock liners, and/or body glide.

If you need more underfoot padding, try using socks with extra cushioning or even some custom insoles.

Farm on the Cotswold Way
Even though pastureland provides a nice soft surface for walking, its uneven nature can create problems if you’re not careful.

Good Waterproofs

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad rain gear! Even though the Cotswold Way passes through one of the drier, sunnier parts of England, let’s face it you’re still in England, and you should expect rain at some point on your trek.

At the very minimum, make sure you have a lightweight rain jacketrain pants, and a pack cover. Some hikers pack their clothing and other items inside trash bags or waterproof packing cubes as an extra precaution. A hat can be nice to keep the rain out of your face. A waterproof carrying case for your map and/or phone isn’t a bad idea either.

Man standing in red rain jacket on the South Downs Way
Good waterproofs will keep you smiling throughout your walk!

Personal Gear

Whether you’re camping or staying indoors, these items are must-haves for your Cotswold Way packing list. While we’ve included some toiletries that are absolutely essential for this trek, we’ve left it up to you to determine your own list of additional self-care items (comb, toothbrush, prescription medication, etc). 

Most Valuable Personal Item: Black Diamond Alpine Flz Trekking Poles

The Cotswold Way has the reputation for being one of the “easier” of the U.K.’s National Trails, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it will be a walk in the park. There are a LOT of hills on this route (particularly the northern section), and the constant up and down can really wreak havoc on knees and hips after awhile. Trekking poles make a huge difference in relieving the impact on your joints, not to mention they also make climbing hills feel much easier. We love this Black Diamond pair because they are sturdy, lightweight, easily packable, and the cork handles fend off sweat and blisters much better than the other styles.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Multi-ToolBibury 21-in-1 Multi-ToolPerfect for cutting cheese or opening cans when you need some trail-side snacks!
First Aid KitSurviveware Small First Aid KitA good backpacking first aid kit is essential. You hope to never have to use it, but will be glad you have it when you need it. We like the labeled compartments and waterproof case on this one.
Hydration BladderPlatypus Big ZipWay easier than a water bottle! We suggest carrying a 3-liter version.
Small DaypackDeuter Speed Light 20An optional item that is great for walking around town. Deuter makes one that is versatile and good quality.
Pack CoverSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Rain CoverThis is a truly essential piece of gear given how hard it can rain on the Cotswold Way!
Men’s BackpackOsprey Atmos AG 50While backpacks are a very personal item, we find Osprey to make by far the most comfortable packs on the market. This 50L model will work for minimalist campers or those staying indoors.
Women’s BackpackOsprey Aura AG 50One of our favorite features of Osprey packs is the ‘anti-gravity’ mesh. So comfortable!
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond Alpine FlzThese can help take the load off your knees and they’re great on steep sections.
Travel TowelEono Microfiber TowelGreat to have in hostels and campsite showers.
Headlamp/ Head torchBlack Diamond StormGreat headtorch with long battery life and adjustable brightness.
Dry BagsEarth Pak 10L or 20LKeeps your clothes and other items dry in a downpour! These are also great for keeping your kit organized and packed efficiently.
Hiking GaitersPeter Storm Ankle GaitersOptional. These will help keep your boots dry when walking on muddy or boggy trails and they’ll keep out stones, dirt, and gravel.
SunscreenWe recommend a waterproof sport version with SPF 30 or higher.
Bug SprayBen’s Insect RepellentYou’ll be glad you brought this when the mozzies or midges come out.
Toilet Paper and TrowelThe TentLab Ultralight TrowelAs any hiker will tell you, it’s always better to be prepared and Leave No Trace!
Gloucester Cathedral under a blue sky on the Cotswold Way.
Gloucester Cathedral is just off the Cotswold Way path and is a highlight for many walkers.

Miscellaneous Gear

These odds and ends are the unsung heroes of any Cotswold Way packing list. From getting your stinky shirt clean to keeping your phone charged, these items help your trek run smoothly. Make sure to use this list in addition to the other categories to complete your Cotswold Way kit. 

Most valuable miscellaneous gear: Anker Powercore 10000.

Chances are, you’re getting out on the trail to get a break from the constant demands of screens and technology and that’s wonderful. However, don’t underestimate the importance of having a charged cell phone on the Cotswold Way Walk. Your phone can be your navigational device, your camera, your guidebook, and your notepad all in one. Charging opportunities can be unreliable along the route, so a battery backup can be an absolute lifesaver. This one is dependable, relatively small, and can fully charge your phone 1.5-2 times between charges. Check it out here:

ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Guide BookCiccerone: Walking the Cotswold Way
OR
Trailblazer: Cotswold Way
We love Cicerone guides for their informative, yet straightforward advice and Kev Reynold’s is one of the best guidebook authors around. We find the Trailblazer guides to be a bit less user-friendly, but they have great features and this is the more up-to-date option.
Ear PlugsMack’s Ear PlugsEssential for a good night’s sleep! We find the silicone ones to stay in place and block out noise best.
Sleeping MaskAlaska BearPerfect to block out light while sleeping in hostels or campgrounds on the CotswoldWay.
Travel AdapterLYSEDa All in One USB Travel AdapterIf you’re coming from abroad, this is going to be necessary. This one is super compact and the two USB ports are very handy!
Digital WatchCasio Classic Sport WatchWe recommend a simple digital watch to keep track of hiking times. This one is a great value and nearly indestructible.
CameraSony Alpha 6000Optional, but this compact camera takes beautiful photos and is easy to use.
Battery BackupAnker Powercore 10,000Great for charging electronics when you don’t have access to an outlet.
Biodegradable SoapCoghlan’s Camp SoapPerfect for doing the dishes or washing a few clothing items.
Plastic Bags- quart, gallon, and garbage bags.We used these constantly for everything from storing trail mix to keeping our sleeping bags dry. A must-have for backpacking. They can be repurposed many times to minimize plastic waste.
Coast to Coast Walk women's packing list

Women’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for over a week in various weather conditions and while doing some serious walking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your Cotswold Way Walk. Plus, if you’re anything like us, you have no idea how many pairs of socks to bring.

Emily’s most valuable clothing item: Berghaus Deluge Rain Trousers 

English weather is temperamental. You’ll get to experience a wide range of elements (rain, sun, wind, etc), often all in one day! For the times when the weather turns, you’ll want to be able to quickly and effortlessly adapt your clothing to stay dry and comfortable. These Berghaus rain pants are simple, effective, comfortable, and easy to get on and off over boots. Check them out here:

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go SportThese are worth every penny when it comes to staying comfortable on the trail. They are quick-drying and antimicrobial meaning you can just bring a few pairs and wash them in the sink as you go.
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Micro Crew SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Sports Bra (1)Under Armour Mid Crossback This is a good example of something breathable and comfortable that you can wear all day.
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Smartwool NTS 250 Base LayerA great merino wool base layer for chilly mornings.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Leggings or hiking pants (1)Berghaus Amlia Walking TrousersStylish, lightweight, and great to hike in.
Shorts (1)The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 These shorts are super versatile and durable! The soft, wide waistband works great underneath a rucksack’s hip belt.
Down JacketRab Microlight AlpineLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain JacketMarmot PreCip Eco JacketA high-quality all-weather jacket that packs up small.
Rain PantsBerghaus Deluge For those heavy English downpours!
Hiking BootsKeen Targhee Mid Height Hiking BootEmily has had these boots for five years and hundreds of muddy, snowy hikes, and they are still going strong!
SunglassesSinner Polarised SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re outside all day. And these are stylish too!
Underwire/Standard BraAfter a long day of hiking in a sweaty sports bra this can be a welcome relief to change into.
GlovesSmartwool liner glovesOptional in the summertime, but can be nice to have in tempermental weather.
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.

Sandals/Camp Shoes Crocs Classic ClogGreat to change into after a long day of walking!
BandanaRobelli BandanaI used this for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Coast to Coast Walk Men's Clothing
Another perk of hiking socks-really cool tan lines!

Men’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for eight days in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials.

Ian’s most valuable clothing item: Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

The conditions on the Cotswold Way are such that hikers are at a particularly high risk of getting blisters at some point on their walk. The wet environments, long mileage, and uneven paths conspire to create the perfect environment for blisters to sabotage your walk. Fortunately, a good pair of socks can greatly reduce your chance of foot issues. This is one of those times where you really do get what you pay for. We love Darn Tough socks because they keep our feet dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. They have just the right amount of cushion without being too bulky in boots. Plus, the Merino wool keeps them smelling fresh for days. Check them out here:


ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer BriefHighly recommended! You can bring just 2-3 pairs and wash them easily in sinks or showers. A must!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Boot Socks In our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Icebreaker 200 OasisThis is a very versatile baselayer that works great under an outer layer or on its own.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Hiking Pants (1 pair)The North Face Exploration Convertible TrousersThese are great for hiking and also look great walking around town!
Hiking Shorts (1 pair)Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo ShortsYou can skip these if you’re using our recommended convertible trousers, but it can be nice to have an extra set of bottoms and these are so packable that you really can’t go wrong!
Down JacketRab Cirrus Flex HoodyLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain Jacket Marmot Precip Eco JacketUnlike many lightweight rain jackets. this one will actually keep you dry during long days on the trail.
Rain PantsThe North Face Venture 2 Waterproof Overtrousers Essential for those heavy English downpours!
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.
Sandals/Camp ShoesCrocs Classic ClogSuper comfortable to change into after walking in boots all day!
Hiking BootsSalomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTXVery comfortable and super waterproof!
SunglassesSinner Thunder Crystal Revo SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re in outdoors all day. And these are stylish too!
BandanaRobelli BandanaThis can be used for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Tent in the dark while camping on the South Downs Way

Camping Gear

Realistically speaking, it is not easy to camp on the Cotswold Way. There are very few official campsites along the route, meaning you’ll have to detour quite a bit or wild camp on private property if you want to sleep in your tent most nights. That said, it is certainly possible, given you do some advance planning. For the hearty souls who want to sleep out under the stars, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive kit list.

Most valuable camping gear: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit

Many people choose to camp along the Cotswold Way because of the tremendous money they can save on their accommodation. The budgetary benefits go beyond your sleeping arrangements, though. Camping allows you to self-cater your meals, saving you from spending tons on overpriced pub food every day. Even if you choose not to camp every night, this is a great piece of gear that gives you more freedom when it comes to your sleeping and eating options. This MSR Kit is super lightweight, easy to pack, and convenient for all of those al fresco dinners and trailside coffee breaks.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
TentMSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking TentThis is the best-designed tent on the market. The genius freestanding rain cover allows you to pack up all of your gear and tent while still being sheltered- perfect for rainy mornings!
Sleeping BagVango Treklite Lightweight Sleeping BagSuper compact, light, and cozy, this bag is a great value. If you’re walking in the summer months, you should only need the Ultra 600 version.
Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest Ultralight Camping PadIf you are a side sleeper this is a must! Even if you’re not, this is one of the most lightweight and comfortable sleeping pads out there. The pump sack makes inflating it a breeze, too!
PillowTherm-a-Rest Compressible PillowIf you’re camping more than a few nights you will be glad you packed this!
Stove+FuelMSR Pocket Rocket 2Ian has used this stove for nearly a decade and highly recommends it!
Backpacking PotGSI Outdoors Halulite BoilerThis versatile and high-quality pot is the perfect size for anything from boiling water to making porridge.
Plate/Bowl/MugMSR 2-Person Mess KitWe find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.
UtensilHumangear SporkThe only utensil you’ll need!
Broadway Tower, on the Cotswold Way
Looking out towards the magical Broadway Tower and the Cotswold hills beyond.

Hostel/Bunkhouse Gear

Just like with camping, hostels and bunkhouses are quite limited along the Cotswold Way. If you are sticking strictly to hotels, B&B’s, and guesthouses, you shouldn’t need to worry about the items on this list. However, for those staying in communal/dorm-style accommodations, there are some essential items you need to pack. Keep in mind that most hostels provide bedding, but you should check with individual places in advance to be sure. On the other hand, you will be responsible for providing your own towel (although some places will rent you one for an additional fee).

Most valuable item for bunkhouses & hostels: Mac’s Earplugs

Hiking is infinitely less fun when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. These earplugs do an excellent job of blocking out sleep-sabotaging sounds. We find that they work better, stay in longer, and are more comfortable than those cheap foam earplugs.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
EarplusMack’s Silicone EarplugsThe best defense for that snorer next door!
Eye MaskAlaska Bear Silk Sleep MaskPerfect to block out light while sleeping in dormitories.
Sleep SheetScottish Silkworm Sleeping Bag LinerA nice item to have for nights in bunkhouses and hostels.
Travel TowelSea to Summit Drylite TowelNot all of the bunkhouses along the Cotswold Way provide towels, so it’s nice to have a backup.
Sandals/SlippersCrocs Classic ClogLightweight and super comfortable!
Green fields on the Cotswold Way

Conclusion

The Cotswold Way is a challenging, yet approachable walk for hikers of all ability levels. The dramatic natural beauty and many places of historical interest will *almost* completely take your mind off your tired feet. The gear you choose to pack (and leave behind) will be essential in ensuring that you have everything you need to stay comfortable, prepared, and injury-free without carrying a bigger rucksack than needed. Happy trails!

Also be sure to check out our Cotswold Way Maps and Routes post!

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South Downs Way Packing List

The South Downs Way is 100 miles (160 km) of pure delight. One of England’s acclaimed National Trails, the South Downs Way meanders past dramatic landforms like the Seven Sisters…

The South Downs Way is 100 miles (160 km) of pure delight. One of England’s acclaimed National Trails, the South Downs Way meanders past dramatic landforms like the Seven Sisters cliffs, Bronze Age ruins, picturesque countryside, seaside vistas, and storybook villages. Although it’s known for being relatively easy and enjoying some of England’s sunniest weather, this is no walk in the park. You’ll need to be prepared for all sorts of weather, and well as some challenging hills and tough underfoot conditions.

However, before you go packing a rucksack bigger than you are, remember the golden rule of backpacking: keep it as light as possible! Carrying minimal weight is one of the best things you can do to ensure you enjoy your South Downs Way trip to the fullest.

So how does one strike that elusive balance between having all of the necessities without feeling like they have a baby elephant on their back? Read on for our best advice and detailed kit lists to learn everything you need (and everything you don’t) to have your best possible South Downs Way Walk!

In this post:

Looking down at the incredible Dyke Valley, South Downs Way
Looking down at the incredible Dyke Valley.

Packing Basics for the South Downs Way

There are so many variables when it comes to packing for the South Downs Way, such as your accommodation type, hiking style, trip length, baggage transfers, time of year, and many more. Every hiker will have a unique kit to best serve their individual needs. Despite all of those factors, there are some universal rules that all hikers should follow when putting together their kit for the South Downs Way.

How Much Should My Pack Weigh?

This isn’t easy to answer, since there are a ton of factors that influence how much is too much for any individual hiker. Some things to think about…

  • How fast are you hoping to hike? Generally speaking, lighter=faster
  • Have you completed a multi-day through hike with this specific backpack and this amount of weight before? 
  • Are you injury-prone or do you have any chronic knee, hip, or back issues? 

As a very general rule, campers should keep their pack weight below 13kg, including food and water. Those staying indoors should carry no more than 9kg. If having your luggage transferred along the trail, most transfer services will limit you to 20kg, and your daypack shouldn’t exceed 4kg. If you are backpacking for the first time or have a chronic injury, the weight of your pack should be significantly less than these guidelines.

Generally speaking, less is more. Here’s a few tips for lightening your load:

  1. You only need a couple of shirts. Same goes for underwear and socks. Bring quick-dry items that you can rinse out in the sink or shower.
  2. Plan out when/where you’ll restock food provisions and don’t carry more food than you need.
  3. Consider leaving your bulky camera equipment at home. Unless photography is your passion, most smartphones take great photos and save a ton of space and weight.
Backpacking backpack
The type of pack you’ll need for the South Downs Way will depend on your individual itinerary.

Choosing a backpack for the South Downs Way

Just like with footwear, a properly fitting backpack is crucial on the South Downs Way. Also similar to your boots, your pack needs to be broken in for optimal comfort. We recommend carrying a weighted pack on your training walks to get used to the extra weight and ensure it fits well.

If you plan on staying in B&B’s along the route, you won’t need a very large rucksack. A 25-liter pack should be enough to hold a few clothing items, food, water, and toiletries.

Those staying in dorms and bunkhouses will most likely need to carry a sleeping bag and towel. A 30-40L pack will be more than enough space for everything you need.

If you plan on camping, you’ll need a larger pack to fit your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and cooking equipment in addition to your basic supplies. A 45-60L pack will be suitable for most campers.

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring a pack cover to protect against rain! Many newer packs come with one built-in.

Read More: South Downs Way Maps and Routes

Coast to Coast Walk hiking boots
Footwear on the South Downs Way comes down to personal preference and fit, but always break in new boots ahead of time!

Footwear on the South Downs Way

One of the most challenging aspects of the South Downs Way is the strain it puts on your feet. The combination of following many miles on old drover roads, plus the rocky chalk landscape conspire to create conditions that will leave your feet feeling sore and tired. Add in some moisture, and you’ve got a real recipe for trouble. While some soreness is inevitable with longs days of walking, blisters, bruising, and extreme discomfort don’t have to be. Therefore, it is imperative that you test out your footwear ahead of time and make sure you break it in!

Hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will all work for the South Downs Way, provided that they will work for your unique needs. The most important thing is that they’re adequately broken in and that you’ve tested them on multiple walks to ensure they are comfortable. You’ll likely need to go up half a size to account for thicker socks and/or swollen feet. Some people may prefer the ankle support of traditional hiking boots, while others may seek out the cushion and breathability of trail shoes. Again, it’s all about trying a variety of options and finding the best one for you.

In terms of waterproofing, there are two opposing schools of thought about this. It is inevitable that your feet will get wet at multiple points along your walk, from driving rains, flooded paths, and so on. Many hikers prefer to use sturdy boots with a thick layer of waterproofing to keep the moisture out as much as possible. This is a good strategy, but keep in mind that when these heavier shoes get wet they can take a long time to dry.

Others prefer to use breathable trail shoes. These will get wet right away, but they’ll also be dry again within a couple of hours and allow your feet to get some air in the meantime. It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but it’s a good idea to try a few options out prior to setting off on your South Downs Way journey.

Good socks are also a game-changer on the South Downs Way. We love merino wool socks like these for their comfort, breathability, and anti-stink qualities.

If you’re blister-prone, consider trying toe sockssock liners, and/or body glide.

If you need more underfoot padding, try using socks with extra cushioning or even some custom insoles.

Red and white Beachy Head Lighthouse, South Downs Way
The iconic Beachy Head Lighthouse is a welcome sight for walkers.

Good Waterproofs

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad rain gear! Even though the South Downs Way passes through one of the driest, sunniest parts of England, let’s face it you’re still in England, and you should expect rain at some point on your trek.

At the very minimum, make sure you have a lightweight rain jacketrain pants, and a pack cover. Some hikers pack their clothing and other items inside trash bags or waterproof packing cubes as an extra precaution. A hat can be nice to keep the rain out of your face. A waterproof carrying case for your map and/or phone isn’t a bad idea either.

Man standing in red rain jacket on the South Downs Way
Good waterproofs will keep you smiling throughout your walk!

Personal Gear

Whether you’re camping or staying indoors, these items are must-haves for your South Downs Way packing list. While we’ve included some toiletries that are absolutely essential for this trek, we’ve left it up to you to determine your own list of additional self-care items (comb, toothbrush, prescription medication, etc). 

Most Valuable Personal Item: Black Diamond Alpine Flz Trekking Poles

The South Downs Way has the reputation for being one of the “easier” of the U.K.’s National Trails, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it will be a walk in the park. There are a LOT of hills on this route, and the constant up and down can really wreak havoc on knees and hips after awhile. Trekking poles make a huge difference in relieving the impact on your joints, not to mention they also make climbing hills feel much easier. They’re also great for saving ankles and helping with stability on loose, rocky trails (which there are plenty of on the SDW). We love this Black Diamond pair because they are sturdy, lightweight, easily packable, and the cork handles fend off sweat and blisters much better than the other styles.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Multi-ToolBibury 21-in-1 Multi-ToolPerfect for cutting cheese or opening cans when you need some trail-side snacks!
First Aid KitSurviveware Small First Aid KitA good backpacking first aid kit is essential. You hope to never have to use it, but will be glad you have it when you need it. We like the labeled compartments and waterproof case on this one.
Hydration BladderPlatypus Big ZipWay easier than a water bottle! We suggest carrying a 3-liter version.
Small DaypackDeuter Speed Light 20An optional item that is great for walking around town. Deuter makes one that is versatile and good quality.
Pack CoverSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Rain CoverThis is a truly essential piece of gear given how hard it can rain on the South Downs Way!
Men’s BackpackOsprey Atmos AG 50While backpacks are a very personal item, we find Osprey to make by far the most comfortable packs on the market. This 50L model will work for minimalist campers or those staying indoors. W
Women’s BackpackOsprey Aura AG 50One of our favorite features of Osprey packs is the ‘anti-gravity’ mesh. So comfortable!
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond Alpine FlzThese can help take the load off your knees and they’re great on steep sections.
Travel TowelEono Microfiber TowelGreat to have in hostels and campsite showers.
Headlamp/ Head torchBlack Diamond StormGreat headtorch with long battery life and adjustable brightness.
Dry BagsEarth Pak 10L or 20LKeeps your clothes and other items dry in a downpour! These are also great for keeping your kit organized and packed efficiently.
Hiking GaitersPeter Storm Ankle GaitersOptional. These will help keep your boots dry when walking on muddy or boggy trails and they’ll keep out stones, dirt, and gravel.
SunscreenWe recommend a waterproof sport version with SPF 30 or higher.
Bug SprayBen’s Insect RepellentYou’ll be glad you brought this when the mozzies or midges come out.
Toilet Paper and TrowelThe TentLab Ultralight TrowelAs any hiker will tell you, it’s always better to be prepared and Leave No Trace!
A sunny section of path near Winchester.
A sunny section of path near Winchester.

Miscellaneous Gear

These odds and ends are the unsung heroes of any South Downs Way packing list. From getting your stinky shirt clean to keeping your phone charged, these items help your trek run smoothly. Make sure to use this list in addition to the other categories to complete your South Downs Way kit. 

Most valuable miscellaneous gear: Anker Powercore 10000.

Chances are, you’re getting out on the trail to get a break from the constant demands of screens and technology and that’s wonderful. However, don’t underestimate the importance of having a charged cell phone on the South Downs Way Walk. Your phone can be your navigational device, your camera, your guidebook, and your notepad all in one. Charging opportunities can be unreliable along the route, so a battery backup can be an absolute lifesaver. This one is dependable, relatively small, and can fully charge your phone 1.5-2 times between charges. Check it out here:

ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Guide BookCicerone: Walking the South Downs WayWe love Cicerone guides for their informative, yet straightforward advice and Kev Reynold’s is one of the best guidebook authors around.
Ear PlugsMack’s Ear PlugsEssential for a good night’s sleep! We find the silicone ones to stay in place and block out noise best.
Sleeping MaskAlaska BearPerfect to block out light while sleeping in hostels or campgrounds on the South Downs Way.
Travel AdapterLYSEDa All in One USB Travel AdapterIf you’re coming from abroad, this is going to be necessary. This one is super compact and the two USB ports are very handy!
Digital WatchCasio Classic Sport WatchWe recommend a simple digital watch to keep track of hiking times. This one is a great value and nearly indestructible.
CameraSony Alpha 6000Optional, but this compact camera takes beautiful photos and is easy to use.
Battery BackupAnker Powercore 10,000Great for charging electronics when you don’t have access to an outlet.
Biodegradable SoapCoghlan’s Camp SoapPerfect for doing the dishes or washing a few clothing items.
Plastic Bags- quart, gallon, and garbage bags.We used these constantly for everything from storing trail mix to keeping our sleeping bags dry. A must-have for backpacking. They can be repurposed many times to minimize plastic waste.
Coast to Coast Walk women's packing list

Women’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for over a week in various weather conditions and while doing some serious walking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials for your South Downs Way Walk. Plus, if you’re anything like us, you have no idea how many pairs of socks to bring.

Emily’s most valuable clothing item: Berghaus Deluge Rain Trousers 

English weather is temperamental. You’ll get to experience a wide range of elements (rain, sun, wind, etc), often all in one day! For the times when the weather turns, you’ll want to be able to quickly and effortlessly adapt your clothing to stay dry and comfortable. These Berghaus rain pants are simple, effective, comfortable, and easy to get on and off over boots. Check them out here:

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go SportThese are worth every penny when it comes to staying comfortable on the trail. They are quick-drying and antimicrobial meaning you can just bring a few pairs and wash them in the sink as you go.
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Micro Crew SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Sports Bra (1)Under Armour Mid Crossback This is a good example of something breathable and comfortable that you can wear all day.
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Smartwool NTS 250 Base LayerA great merino wool base layer for chilly mornings.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Leggings or hiking pants (1)Berghaus Amlia Walking TrousersStylish, lightweight, and great to hike in.
Shorts (1)The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 These shorts are super versatile and durable! The soft, wide waistband works great underneath a rucksack’s hip belt.
Down JacketRab Microlight AlpineLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain JacketMarmot PreCip Eco JacketA high-quality all-weather jacket that packs up small.
Rain PantsBerghaus Deluge For those heavy English downpours!
Hiking BootsKeen Targhee Mid Height Hiking BootEmily has had these boots for five years and hundreds of muddy, snowy hikes, and they are still going strong!
SunglassesSinner Polarised SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re outside all day. And these are stylish too!
Underwire/Standard BraAfter a long day of hiking in a sweaty sports bra this can be a welcome relief to change into.
GlovesSmartwool liner glovesOptional in the summertime, but can be nice to have in tempermental weather.
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.

Sandals/Camp Shoes Crocs Classic ClogGreat to change into after a long day of walking!
BandanaRobelli BandanaI used this for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Coast to Coast Walk Men's Clothing
Another perk of hiking socks-really cool tan lines!

Men’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for eight days in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials.

Ian’s most valuable clothing item: Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

The conditions on the South Downs Way are such that hikers are at a particularly high risk of getting blisters at some point on their walk. The wet environments, long mileage, and stony paths conspire to create the perfect environment for blisters to sabotage your walk. Fortunately, a good pair of socks can greatly reduce your chance of foot issues. This is one of those times where you really do get what you pay for. We love Darn Tough socks because they keep our feet dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. They have just the right amount of cushion without being too bulky in boots. Plus, the Merino wool keeps them smelling fresh for days. Check them out here:


ItemOur ReccommendationWhy We Love It
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Boxer BriefHighly recommended! You can bring just 2-3 pairs and wash them easily in sinks or showers. A must!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Boot Socks In our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Long Sleeve Base Layer (1)Icebreaker 200 OasisThis is a very versatile baselayer that works great under an outer layer or on its own.

Short Sleeve Hiking Shirts (1-2)Icebreaker Tech Lite T-ShirtMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick-drying, and odor resistant.
Hiking Pants (1 pair)The North Face Exploration Convertible TrousersThese are great for hiking and also look great walking around town!
Hiking Shorts (1 pair)Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo ShortsYou can skip these if you’re using our recommended convertible trousers, but it can be nice to have an extra set of bottoms and these are so packable that you really can’t go wrong!
Down JacketRab Cirrus Flex HoodyLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain Jacket Marmot Precip Eco JacketUnlike many lightweight rain jackets. this one will actually keep you dry during long days on the trail.
Rain PantsThe North Face Venture 2 Waterproof Overtrousers Essential for those heavy English downpours!
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney HatHelps keep both the sun and rain off your face.
Sandals/Camp ShoesCrocs Classic ClogSuper comfortable to change into after walking in boots all day!
Hiking BootsSalomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTXVery comfortable and super waterproof!
SunglassesSinner Thunder Crystal Revo SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re in outdoors all day. And these are stylish too!
BandanaRobelli BandanaThis can be used for everything from a towel to extra sun protection.
Tent in the dark while camping on the South Downs Way

Camping Gear

Camping on the South Downs Way is definitely worth carrying the bigger backpack. Campgrounds along the trail are plentiful, convenient, and generally quite comfortable. In fact, camping is the only way to avoid walking several extra miles in detours over the course of your trek! With the right gear and manageable pack size, you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience conquering the South Downs Way with your own tent.

Most valuable camping gear: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit

Many people choose to camp along the South Downs Way because of the tremendous money they can save on their accommodation. The budgetary benefits go beyond your sleeping arrangements, though. Camping allows you to self-cater your meals, saving you from spending tons on overpriced pub food every day. This MSR Kit is super lightweight, easy to pack, and convenient for all of those al fresco dinners and trailside coffee breaks.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
TentMSR Hubba Hubba NX Backpacking TentThis is the best designed tent on the market. The genius freestanding rain cover allows you to pack up all of your gear and tent while still being sheltered- perfect for rainy mornings!
Sleeping BagVango Treklite Lightweight Sleeping BagSuper compact, light, and cozy, this bag is a great value. If you’re walking in the summer months, you should only need the Ultra 600 version.
Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest Ultralight Camping Padf you are a side sleeper this is a must! Even if you’re not, this is one of the most lightweight and comfortable sleeping pads out there. The pump sack makes inflating it a breeze, too!
PillowTherm-a-Rest Compressible PillowIf you’re camping more than a few nights you will be glad you packed this!
Stove+FuelMSR Pocket Rocket 2Ian has used this stove for nearly a decade and highly recommends it!
Backpacking PotGSI Outdoors Halulite BoilerThis versatile and high-quality pot is the perfect size for anything from boiling water to making porridge.
Plate/Bowl/MugMSR 2-Person Mess KitWe find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.
UtensilHumangear SporkThe only utensil you’ll need!
Person outside a stone cottage

Hostel/Bunkhouse Gear

If you are sticking strictly to hotels, B&B’s, and guesthouses, you shouldn’t need to worry about the items on this list. However, for those staying in communal/dorm-style accommodations, there are some essential items you need to pack. Keep in mind that most hostels provide bedding, but you should check with individual places in advance to be sure. On the other hand, you will be responsible for providing your own towel (although some places will rent you one for an additional fee).

Most valuable item for bunkhouses & hostels: Mac’s Earplugs

Hiking is infinitely less fun when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. There are many wonderful hostels along the South Downs Way, but Olympic-level snorers and other noisy neighbors seem to hang out in all of them. These earplugs do an excellent job of blocking out sleep-sabotaging sounds. We find that they work better, stay in longer, and are more comfortable than those cheap foam earplugs.

ItemOur RecommendationWhy We Love It
EarplusMack’s Silicone EarplugsThe best defense for that snorer next door!
Eye MaskAlaska Bear Silk Sleep MaskPerfect to block out light while sleeping in dormitories.
Sleep SheetScottish Silkworm Sleeping Bag LinerA nice item to have for nights in bunkhouses and hostels.
Travel TowelSea to Summit Drylite TowelNot all of the bunkhouses along the South Downs Way provide towels, so it’s nice to have a backup.
Sandals/SlippersCrocs Classic ClogLightweight and super comfortable!
Trail sign on the South Downs Way

Conclusion

The South Downs Way is a challenging, yet approachable walk for hikers of all ability levels. The dramatic natural beauty and many places of historical interest will *almost* completely take your mind off your tired feet. The gear choose to pack (and leave behind) will be essential in ensuring that you have everything you need to stay comfortable, prepared, and injury-free without carrying a bigger rucksack than needed. Happy trails!

Also be sure to check out our South Downs Way Maps & Routes post!

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Tour du Mont Blanc Accommodation and Refuge Guide

The Tour du Mont Blanc is arguably the greatest trek in the world. Despite the fact that you’ll experience pristine wilderness and remote surroundings by day, you can still enjoy…

The Tour du Mont Blanc is arguably the greatest trek in the world. Despite the fact that you’ll experience pristine wilderness and remote surroundings by day, you can still enjoy plenty of creature comforts each night. Trekking over jawdropping mountain passes and eating fine charcuterie in the same day? It might just be the best hike ever!

If you want to make the most of your self-guided Tour du Mont experience, it is essential to do a little advance planning when it comes to accommodation. Many places book up early in the season, and some options are much better than others.

In this guide, we’ll cover the need-to-know information on TMB refuges and other accommodations. We’ve also included an excellent directory of the best accommodation and refuges for every style, budget, and itinerary.

In This Post

A road leads towards Refuge des Mottets on the TMB
Refuge des Mottets.

Types of TMB Accommodation

There are accommodation options along the TMB to suit every budget and travel style. While not all of these options are available at every stage of the route, you can certainly customize your itinerary to fit your needs.

We’ve provided a brief explanation of each of the options below:

Hotels

Typically small and independently owned, the hotels along the TMB provide a welcome dose of luxury to weary hikers. Unless otherwise noted by the hotel, expect all of the usual amenities (hot shower, private bathroom, breakfast offered, linens and towels provided, etc). Hotels typically cost upwards of €60 per person (extra supplement for singles). For an additional fee, many hotels offer half-pension (AKA half-board or demi-pension) which includes dinner and breakfast. A few hotels along the route have dortoirs in addition to private rooms. Dortoirs are dormitories that offer a good budget option.

Gites d’Etape and Auberges

These are simple guest houses offering basic, dorm-style accommodation. Half-pension (dinner and breakfast) is typically included in the price. There are shared bathroom facilities with hot showers. Bed linens are usually provided. These are a good option for those who want to stick to a smaller budget, but don’t want to carry camping gear. Expect to pay around €50 per person for half-pension. 

Mountain Refuges

We consider a stay in a mountain refuge (aka mountain huts or rifugios) to be a highlight of any TMB trek. Set in stunning and remote locations, the ambiance at the refuges can’t be beat. Half-pension gets you a bed in a dorm (linens not provided), a delicious communal dinner, and a basic breakfast. Some refuges also offer private rooms (with shared bathrooms). Expect to pay around €45 per person for half-board in a dorm. 

Campgrounds

Although they are the cheapest accommodation option along the route, TMB campgrounds can still be quite luxurious. All provide sinks and toilets, and many offer hot showers and even WiFi! Expect to pay around €12 per person to camp. Note: you cannot camp on every stage of the TMB.

Want to know more about camping on the TMB? Check out this in-depth post!

A cozy morning at Refuge la Flegere.
A cozy morning at Refuge la Flegere.

Should I reserve my accommodation for the TMB in advance?

This is a question that creates stress and anxiety for many hikers as they are planning for their TMB adventure. The short answer is that, yes, you should try to book your accommodation as early as possible, but the longer answer is a bit more nuanced. We’ve broken it down for you here, so you can plan with more confidence and less worry.

When is your trek?

If you plan to complete your trek in peak season (July-August), it’s likely that most of the refuges and guesthouses will fill up in advance. Book 3-6 months in advance.

If you’re hiking in June or September, things will probably be sold out on the weekends, but you might be able to get away without advance reservations during the week. However, keep in mind that some refuges are closed in June and/or September.

Where do you plan on staying?

Mountain refuges are the most important to book ahead of time. Many of these huts are quite small, so they fill up quickly. Several refuges accept reservations year-round, typically allowing you to book up to 12 months in advance. Some, however, do not respond to reservation requests during the winter months (September-March, typically). You should still try to email or call the refuge to reserve your spot as soon as you know your itinerary, even if it’s prior to March. When they finally get around to responding in the springtime, they often fill requests in the order in which they received them.

Gites, auberges, and guesthouses should be your next priority when it comes to advance bookings. This is especially true in the smaller villages where accommodation options are limited, and/or if you have specific preferences for your lodging (ex; private room, linens provided, etc). In terms of when you should make your bookings, the rules are similar to refuges. As soon as you’ve made your travel plans, reach out to the gite/guesthouse (or book online). For peak summer months, it’s optimal to have these bookings made by the end of March.

For larger hotels, you have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to making reservations. You should definitely still try to do it as early as possible, but they have more rooms and are often located in places with greater availability of lodging options.

You do not need to make advance reservations for any of the campgrounds on the TMB. In fact, we recommend that you don’t. This will allow you to maximize the freedom and flexibility that camping provides, and it will make it much less complicated to check-in at the campgrounds.

I waited until the last minute…Am I doomed?

Certainly not! You can still have an amazing TMB trek, but you may need to be a bit more flexible and creative when it comes to finding places to stay. The first thing you should do is contact all of the places you would like to stay to check if they still have availability. If some key stops are sold out, it’s always possible to make some tweaks to your itinerary.

I’m more of the spontaneous type…Can I do the TMB without booking ahead?

Yes you can, and we admire your free spirit! The easiest way to hike the TMB without a set itinerary is to camp. For those who prefer to stay indoors, if you plan your trek for mid-week in June or September and you arrive at your accommodation early in the day, you will likely be just fine. If you’re hiking during peak times, get familiar with the transportation options and nearby villages so you have back-ups if your first choice of accommodation is full.

View of Chamonix on stage 1 of the TMB
The view back towards Chamonix on Stage One of the TMB.

TMB Accommodation Cost

Prices vary greatly from place to place, but generally speaking, here’s what you can expect to pay for accommodation along the Tour du Mont Blanc.

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: €65+ (per person/per night)
  • Gite d’Etape/Auberge: €50 (per person/per night w/half pension)
  • Mountain Refuge: €45 (per person/per night w/half pension)
  • Camping: €12 (per person/per night)

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the typical TMB stops. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: €85+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: €40-85(per person/per night)
  • Budget: <€40 (per person/per night)

Read more: How Much it Cost Us to Hike the TMB

Hikers sitting in chairs and enjoying the views outside Refuge de la Flegere
No wifi? No problem! The views and camaraderie provide more than enough entertainment along the TMB.

TMB Refuges: What You Need to Know

What to Expect

Mountain refuges on the TMB are rustic and communal at heart. Many are set in remote locations that can only be reached by foot or pack mule; some actually get supplies dropped in by helicopter!

Due to their off-the-grid nature, they are relatively basic. Luxuries like hot water and electronics charging will be limited and will likely come at an additional cost. Wifi and cell service are virtually non-existent at mountain refuges. Most refuges are cash-only, so make sure you bring enough!

While a few refuges have a small number of private rooms available, by and large you will be sleeping in a dormitory with anywhere from 4-16 beds (mostly bunk beds stacked two or three high). You’ll be provided with a mattress, pillow, and blanket, but you will need you bring or rent your own sleep sheet.

Bathrooms are also shared and typically (but not always) separated by gender.

Staying in a mountain refuge is a magical and memorable experience. There is nothing like swapping stories with fellow hikers over a shared meal and taking in the sunset in some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery. Mountain refuges truly are one of the very best parts of the TMB!

A bunkroom inside a TMB refuge
A typical bunkroom in a TMB refuge.

What’s Included

Most TMB refuges provide half-pension (AKA demi-pension or half board). This includes your bed for the night, as well as dinner and breakfast. Dinner is often a lavish, multi-course affair. They can typically cater to vegetarians (notify them in advance), although other special diets might not fare as well. Breakfast is very simple and typically consists of cold cereal, bread, jam, and tea/coffee.

Alcohol and snacks can be purchased a-la-carte, and a packed lunch can usually be ordered for the next day (additional fee).

Expect to pay extra for a shower and if you’d like to rent a sleep sheet. Some refuges ask a small fee for electronics charging.

What to Pack

Most TMB refuges require you to use a sleep sheet or sleeping bag liner. While you can rent one in some places, if you plan on staying in several refuges, it is a good idea to bring your own. Additionally, if you want to shower, you will need to bring your own towel.

In our opinion, good earplugs and an eye mask are essential for dormitory sleeping. There’s nothing more frustrating than being kept up by a loud snorer when you’re exhausted from a big day on the trail!

Boots are not allowed inside the refuges, so many provide slippers for you to wear while indoors. If you’d prefer to wear your own pair, make sure to pack them.

For a complete list of refuge-specific gear, be sure to check out our TMB Packing List.

Tour du Mont Blanc Refuges
TMB refuges may be basic, but they still have all of the essentials!

How to Book

This video will walk you through every step of the process for making reservations at TMB refuges.

Notable Exceptions:

There are still a number of accommodation providers that do not accept online bookings. For these, you’ll need to make a reservation by email or phone. We’ve included contact information for some of the most popular ones along the route:

Rifugio Elisabetta
info@rifugioelisabetta.com
+39 0165844080  

Rifugio Elena
info@rifugioelena.it
+39 328919794

Hotel de la Forclaz
colforclazhotel@bluewin.ch
+27 7222688

Refuge du Col de Balme
+33 (0)607061630

Refuge la Flegere
bellay.catherine@wanadoo.fr

Refuge Bellachat
refuge.bellachat@gmail.com
+33 (0)450534323

What to include in your booking email:

When you send an email to make a reservation request, make sure to include the following information:

  • Number of people
  • Room type (private, shared bathroom, dorm, etc)
  • Check-in and check-out dates
  • If you would like half board, full board, picnic lunch, or bed only
  • Special dietary requests, if reserving half board (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free)
TMB Accommodation Guide
When it comes to accommodation on the TMB, there’s plenty of charm to go around!

TMB Accommodation Directory

This directory is organized to follow a counterclockwise itinerary with all of the typical stops. For each place, we’ve provided our most highly recommended options, sorted by budget category. We’ve also included key details and contact information.

Our budget categories are as follows:

  • High-End: €85+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: €40-85(per person/per night)
  • Budget: <€40 (per person/per night)

The directory includes recommendations for these places:

The Chamonix train station - the official start of the Haute Route
The Chamonix train station

Be sure to check out our TMB Logistics article for helpful advice when planning your trek!

Chamonix

Note: While the TMB technically does not pass through Chamonix at any point, many hikers like to stay here before and/or after their trek, and so we included it in the directory.

High-End: Hotel le Morgane

Just minutes from shops, restaurants, and the bus terminal, Hotel le Morgane’s location is perfect for those starting or finishing the TMB. Furthermore, the rooms are spacious and well-equipped, the staff is friendly, and they have great amenities like free luggage storage and a heated pool and spa.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None, breakfast for an additional fee

Mid-Range: Chamonix Lodge

This hotel isn’t fancy, but it is an excellent value for your money. There are a variety of room types available, many with ensuite bathrooms. A good breakfast, luggage storage, and access to the communal kitchen and hot tub are all included with your stay. The hotel is located about a mile from the city center, but they loan out bikes for you to use during your stay.

Room type(s): Private twins and doubles(some ensuite), dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Le Chamoniard Volent

Le Chamoniard is the best place to find a cheap bed in pricey Chamonix. It’s not luxurious, but this well-run hostel is consistently clean and friendly to TMB walkers. Guests have access to a communal kitchen and lounge area, plenty of bathrooms and showers, and free wifi. The hostel is located a little over a mile from the city center, but it is also conveniently near a bus stop.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast, packed lunch, and/or evening meal available for an extra fee

Les Houches

High-End: Chalet Hotel du Bois

Guests love the friendly service and incredible views at this hotel. Located just a few minutes’ walk from the start of the TMB, this is a great place to stay on either end of your trek. Treat yourself with their luxurious beds and on site sauna before you rough it on the trail!

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None, breakfast for an additional fee

Mid-Range: RockyPop Hotel

This eclectic and funky hotel is a great option in Les Houches. The hotel features unique 80’s-style decor, an excellent restaurant, and a convenient location. Rooms are basic, but they are clean and many have good views. Luggage storage and an airport shuttle are available.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite (sizes range from 1-12 adults)
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None, breakfast for an additional fee

Budget: Gite Michel Fagot

Your stay at Michel Fagot includes a fabulous dinner, incredibly helpful and friendly service, and a dorm bed with linens provided- all for a very reasonable fee. The facilities are well-kept and feature a self-catering kitchen and a cozy living room. The gite is located just steps from the bus stop and the start of the TMB.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash or check only
Meals included: Breakfast and dinner (packed lunches available for an extra fee)
Breakfast on a balcony in in Les Houches
Breakfast in Les Houches

Les Contamines

High-End: Chalet-Hotel la Chemenaz

This traditional chalet-style hotel is a welcome respite for tired hikers! It is located just a short distance from the trail and features a heated pool, jacuzzi, and sauna for soothing aching muscles. The rooms are cozy and many have great views. There is a good restaurant on the premises.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast included, half board option

Mid-Range: Hotel le Christiania

This hotel consistently gets rave reviews for its clean rooms, excellent service, and cozy decor. It is located near the TMB, as well as near shops, restaurants, and other services. The on site restaurant serves up delicious local fare, and many rooms have spectacular views.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: None

Budget: Chalet des Contamines

Given that it is operated by CAF, the French Alpine Club, this chalet has the feel of a true mountain refuge while still being conveniently located in the heart of the village. The accommodation entails simple dorm beds and shared bathrooms, but the friendly hosts and delicious food make for an outstanding experience.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash or check only
Meals included: Half-board

Les Chapieux

Mid-Range: Chambres de Soleil

This guesthouse is one of two great options in the beautiful hamlet of Les Chapieux. There are a variety of room types available, most with private bathrooms. Dinner and breakfast are included with your stay, and the unique food offerings are a definite highlight.

Room type(s): Private, some ensuite
Payment: Cash or check only
Meals included: Half-board

Budget/Mid-Range: Auberge de la Nova

This cozy and welcoming auberge is the other good option in Les Chapieux. Budget-minded travelers will appreciate the dormitory option, while those seeking a bit more comfort can stay in one of the six private rooms (shared bathrooms). There is a lovely outdoor terrace, and dinner and breakfast are included with your stay. Keep in mind, like many accommodations on the TMB, Auberge de la Nova does not accept credit cards.

Room type(s): Private, dormitory
Payment: Cash or check only
Meals included: Half-board, picnic lunch can be purchased
Auberge de la Nova, Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation
Auberge de la Nova

Rifugio Elisabetta

Mid-Range: Rifugio Elisabetta

A large majority of TMB hikers stop at Rifugio Elisabetta, due to the fact that it is the only accommodation in the area for many miles (4.5 miles from the previous stop and 6 miles from the next one). Perhaps another reason why so many TMB hikers make a point to stay at Elisabetta is because it is so wonderful! This historic refuge boasts tons of quintessential Alpine charm, an absolutely stunning location, and plentiful opportunities to enjoy the company of fellow hikers. There are dorms and private rooms available. Advance bookings are essential, and only cash payments are accepted.

Room type(s): Private, Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board, picnic lunch can be purchased
Rifugio Elisabetta, Tour du Mont Blanc Accommodation
Rifugio Elisabetta

Courmayeur

High-End: Maison La Saxe

This cozy hotel offers top-notch service in a peaceful setting. It is located in the tiny town of La Saxe, which is a short walk to the center of Courmayeur. They also serve up a delicious complimentary breakfast made with all local, high-quality ingredients.  Book Suite #2 for a private roof terrace and breathtaking views of the entire valley.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite 
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel de la Telecabine

This affordable hotel is located in the town of Dolonne, just across the river from Courmayeur (hikers traveling counterclockwise will pass through Dolonne before reaching Courmayeur). The rooms are basic, but guests will appreciate the friendly service, clean facilities, and good breakfast.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite 
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Rifugio Bertone

Rifugio Bertone is a good option for hearty hikers on a tight budget. To reach the refuge, you’ll need to pass through Courmayeur and continue up a very steep section of the trail for about two more hours. Your efforts will be rewarded with great views and an atmospheric mountain experience at Rifugio Bertone-plus a head start for the day ahead!

Room type(s): Private, Dormitory 
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half board optional, picnic lunch can be purchased for an additional fee
Image of Courmayeur, Italy
Courmayeur is a classic Italian mountaineering town.

Rifugio Bonatti

Budget: Rifugio Bonatti

This is arguably one of the most memorable accommodations on the entire TMB. Its remote location boasts incredible views of Val Ferret and the jagged peaks surrounding it. The cozy interior and convivial atmosphere lend themselves to a true mountain experience.

Room type(s): Dormitory 
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board 
Rifugio Bonatti TMB accommodation
Rifugio Bonatti is one of the most magical refuges on the entire TMB.

La Fouly

High-End: Hotel Edelweiss

This smart hotel balances traditional mountain charm with fresh and modern updates, all while maintaining a high level of excellence. Enjoy the lavish breakfast spread and relax sore muscles in the sauna. There are also posh dormitories for those looking for a more upscale budget option.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite, Dormitory 
Payment: Credit card, cash 
Meals included: Half-board 

Mid-Range: Auberge des Glaciers

While some rooms are a bit outdated and cramped, this auberge offers a convenient location and great food at a very reasonable price. There are a variety of room types to suite groups of all sizes.

Room type(s): Private, some ensuite, Dormitory 
Payment: Credit card, cash 
Meals included: Breakfast 

Budget: Chalet le Dolent

Outside of camping, this is the cheapest accommodation you’ll find in La Fouly. This very rustic chalet is located on the edge of town and offers dorm beds, free wifi, and complimentary hot showers. There is a self-catering kitchen, but no meals are served on-site.

Room type(s): Dormitory 
Payment: Cash only 
Meals included: None

Read more: Tour du Mont Blanc Maps

Champex

High-End: Hotel Spendide

Hotel Spendide has a lot going for it, like the rich breakfast spread and gorgeous vintage furnishings, but all of that pales in comparison to its million-dollar views! Soak in the phenomenal Alpine vistas from the sweeping terrace or from the comfort of your own room (book a south-facing room for the best views).

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Mid-Range: Hotel Ptarmigan

This lovely B&B is a scenic and relaxing option for TMB walkers. There are just three rooms, two of which have balconies and lake views. All of the rooms share a bathroom. There’s a lovely terrace that makes the most of the B&B’s superb lakefront location.

Room type(s): Private, shared bathroom
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast

Budget: Pension en Plein Air

Champex, like most Swiss resort towns, is very expensive. Budget accommodation in Champex is very limited, and Pension en Plein Air is your best bet for cheap lodging. Don’t expect anything beyond the basics and you won’t be disappointed.

Room type(s): Private, Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-Board
Red boats on the edge of Lac Champex, Tour du Mont Blanc
Lac Champex.

Col de la Forclaz/Le Peuty/Trient

Hikers trekking in the counterclockwise direction will reach Col de la Forclaz first, and then will arrive in Le Peuty after another 40 minutes downhill. Trient is about 20 minutes from Le Peuty, just off the main TMB route.

High-End/Mid-Range: Hotel de la Forclaz

This historic hotel sits by itself on the Col de la Forclaz above Le Peuty and Trient. It is a convenient TMB stop, offering a range of private rooms, dorm beds, and camping to suit every budget. Breakfast is included with private room bookings, and it can be added on for the others. There’s also a small shop next to the hotel that sells souvenirs and snacks.

Room type(s): Private,some ensuite, Dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast or Half-Board avilable (extra fee may apply)

High-End/Mid-Range: Auberge du Mont Blanc

For those wishing to stay down in the valley, the Auberge du Mont Blanc is a great value. There are private rooms and dorm beds available, and many of the rooms have lovely views. The auberge also offers a spacious sauna and cozy lounge for guests to enjoy. The bus stop is just steps away, convenient for those who may need to detour or exit the trail early.

Room type(s): Private w/shared bathrooms, Dormitory, studio apartments
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast or Half-Board avilable (extra fee may apply)

Budget: Refuge du Le Peuty

The low-maintenance types will love this rustic bunkhouse with bohemian vibes. The refuge is located directly on the TMB route and offers a good, affordable option with plenty of opportunities to get to know fellow hikers. There are shared unisex bathrooms and snacks and drinks can be purchased in the yurt lounge next door.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board
Trient's iconic pink church
Trient’s iconic pink church

Tré le Champ/Les Frasserands/Argentiere

The TMB route passes directly through the village of Tré le Champ, but the only accommodation there is Auberge la Boerne. There are a few additional places a bit further down the trail in the town of Les Frasserands. Alternatively, you can take the 25-minute detour to the larger town of Argentiere, where there are more services and options available.

High-End: Les Grands Montets

While getting to this hotel will require the extra walk or bus ride to Argentiere, many walkers will find this to be a worthwhile endeavor for the luxury they’ll enjoy in return for their efforts. Pamper yourself in the pool, jacuzzi, and spa, or take in the views while relaxing on the wonderful terrace. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up to get you through your final days on the trail, this is the hotel for you.

Room type(s): Private, ensuite
Payment: Credit card, cash
Meals included: Breakfast available for an extra fee

Budget/Mid-Range: Auberge la Boerne

This inviting guesthouse is conveniently located along the TMB route in the tiny hamlet of Tre la Champ. While the accommodation is rather basic (dormitories and shared bathrooms), the traditional mountain charm makes it a memorable stay for many TMB walkers. There is a communal kitchenette available if you choose to self-cater.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board optional

Budget/Mid-Range: Gîte Le Moulin

If you continue a bit past Tre la Champ, you’ll reach the town of Les Frasserands, which is also quite convenient to the TMB route (albeit a short walk from the trail). This cozy gite offers simple dorm-style accommodation with a nice lounge area and good showers. The real highlight of Gite le Moulin, however, is the fantastic food. Don’t miss the fresh croissants at breakfast!

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Credit card, cash 
Meals included: Half-board optional

Refuge la Flégère/Refuge du Lac Blanc

While Refuge la Flégère is the traditional stop along the main TMB route, many walkers opt instead for the variant to Refuge du Lac Blanc. Both refuges are cozy and comfortable. If you’re looking for convenience and an easier hike, Flégère is your best bet. If you’re looking for spectacular scenery, it may be worth the extra climb to Refuge du Lac Blanc.

Mid-Range: Refuge la Flégère

Refuge la Flégère can be a bit off-putting at first glance, given its position next to a giant cablecar station and ski area. However, once you settle into the charming and recently-renovated building, take in the panoramic views from the terrace, and enjoy some of their delicious food, you’ll surely warm up to it. It’s important to note that potable water is not available at the refuge. You can fill up inside the cable car station during its opening hours, and you can also buy bottled water at the refuge.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board 

Mid-Range: Refuge du Lac Blanc

To reach Refuge du Lac Blanc, you’ll need to follow the signed detour from the main TMB route which leads up a very steep path to the lake. Your efforts will be richly rewarded with the stunning views across tranquil Lac Blanc to the region’s most majestic sights: Mer de Glace, the Aiguilles Vert and Charmoz, and the Grandes Jorasses. This is a basic refuge set in the remote wilderness. There’s no potable water (bottles are available for purchase or you can bring a lightweight filter like this one), no wifi, and only three outlets for the 43 beds. You’ll also need to pack out all of your trash.

Room type(s): Dormitory
Payment: Cash only
Meals included: Half-board
Hikers take in the view from Refuge la Flegere, TMB accommodation
Refuge La Flegere.

Additional Resources

  • Autour du Mont Blanc: This official TMB website has tons of excellent information, including a nearly-complete accommodation listing of all of the lodgings along the route and a booking portal that can be used for many refuges and smaller guesthouses.
  • Cicerone Guide Book: This guidebook is an indispensable resource that we recommend to all TMB hikers. It has a handy accommodation index in the back, as well as practical information for all aspects of the hike. Lightweight trekkers can download an e-book version on their phone or tablet.

What’s Next?

If you’ve read our Guide above, you’re well on your way to having an incredible experience on the Tour du Mont Blanc. However, you still have lots of preparation before you’re truly ready! Be sure to read our entire series on the TMB to learn everything you’ll need to know to prepare for your trip and don’t hesitate to comment with your questions below!

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West Highland Way Accommodation Guide

The West Highland Way is celebrated for its dramatic scenery and rich cultural experiences. You’ll enjoy much of this while you’re walking throughout each stage, but the experience certainly doesn’t…

The West Highland Way is celebrated for its dramatic scenery and rich cultural experiences. You’ll enjoy much of this while you’re walking throughout each stage, but the experience certainly doesn’t end when you stop and put your feet up for the day. From luxurious B&B’s to rustic bothies, there are accommodation options to suit every style and budget. What’s more, not only is lodging convenient and accessible along the route, enjoying the Scottish hospitality at these special places is undoubtedly one of the best parts of walking the West Highland Way.

We put together this accommodation guide to help you get the most out of your West Highland Way adventure. Here’s what’s covered in the post:

Quintessential Highlands scenery in Strathfillan.

Do I need to reserve my West Highland Way accommodation in advance?

Generally speaking, yes. During the peak season (May-August), it is very likely that many places will be sold out nearly every night. Even outside of the busy months, it is a good idea to make advance bookings for places in resort areas, small towns with few accommodation options, and on weekends and holidays.

Most campgrounds on the West Highland Way do not require reservations, but there are a few notable exceptions. You should book ahead for the Sallochy Campground and also at the MacDonald Hotel. Check out this Guide to Camping on the West Highland Way for more camping-specific information.

When booking for peak season, the earlier the better. If possible, try to reserve the most in-demand accommodations 3-6 months in advance. If you’re more of a last-minute person, don’t despair. Even calling a few days ahead can really pay off.

A snow capped mountain on the West Highland Way
If you’re willing to brave the harsh Scottish winters, you can enjoy crowd-free trails and good deals at many accommodations.

How much does accommodation cost on the West Highland Way?

A wonderful aspect of the West Highland Way is its very customizable nature. No two walkers have the same experience on this dynamic trek; in fact, if you walk it twice you’ll likely have vastly different experiences each time! Just as you can tailor your itinerary to match your timeframe and your packing list to fit your travel style, so can you choose accommodation to fit your budget.

Prices vary greatly from place to place, but generally speaking, here’s what you can expect to pay for accommodation along the West Highland Way:

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £75+ (per person/per night)
  • Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40 (per person/per night)
  • Camping: £10 (per person/per night)

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the typical West Highland Way stops. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: £70+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: £40-70 (per person/per night)
  • Budget:<£40 (per person/per night)

NOTE: Camping accommodation is not included in this post. Check out our detailed Guide to Camping on the West Highland Way for camping options on every stage.

Read more: How Much It Cost Us to Hike the West Highland Way

Glasses of beer on the West Highland Way
One of our favorite parts of hiking the West Highland Way!

West Highland Way Accommodation Directory

There are wonderful places to stay along the entire West Highland Way route. In this directory, we’ll give you key details about all of your options, as well as our best recommendations for every budget.

We’ve organized our list to follow most variations of the classic south to north walking itinerary.

Want help planning the perfect itinerary? Check out this handy West Highland Way Maps article!

The path from Milngavie to Drymen on the West Highland Way
Easy walking from Milngavie to Drymen.

Milngavie

High-End: West Highland Way Rooms

These two well-appointed apartments provide a perfect starting point for your West Highland Way adventure. They feature handy amenities like laundry, kitchen/kitchenette facilities, and free wifi, and the location is convenient for starting the walk.

Mid-Range: Premier Inn

There are actually two Premier Inns in Milngavie, one is called the Premier Inn Glasgow (Milngavie) and the other is the Premier Inn Glasgow (Bearsden). They are just a few minutes apart from each other and both are about a mile from the WHW starting point. These hotels are a great value for the price.

Budget: West Highland Way Campsite

Located a few miles past the starting point of the West Highland Way, this accommodation might be conveniently located for some, while a bit out of the way for others. The campsite offers luxury safari tents and well-appointed caravans in a tranquil setting.

Drymen

High-End: Ashbank Bed and Breakfast

Walkers seeking a bit of luxury after their first day on the trail will not be disappointed by this lovely B&B. Clean, welcoming, and conveniently located, this is an excellent option in Drymen. As an added bonus, the delicious hearty breakfast will sustain you for miles!

Mid-Range: The Drymen Inn

This classic Scottish inn serves up plenty of charm and warm hospitality. The vintage feel is balanced with modern conveniences, like free wifi and private bathrooms.

Budget: The Winnock Hotel

This hotel, now operated by Best Western, is a good value considering its many amenities and central location. While not particularly fancy, the rooms are cozy and there is a bar and restaurant on site.

Read more: West Highland Way Packing List

Rowardennan

High-End: Rowardennan Hotel

This beautiful historic hotel is set in a stunning location on the banks of Loch Lomond, with many of the guest rooms enjoying great views of the surrounding area. The Rowardennan Hotel is the only high-end option in the area, but it is a good one!

Mid-Range: Rowardennan Lodge Youth Hostel

The charming old building and idyllic lochside location are just a few of the many things to love about this hostel. There is also a self-catering kitchen, laundry facilities, and a drying room. Private and en-suite rooms are available.

Budget: Ben Lomond Bunkhouse

Not only does this bunkhouse get rave reviews for its clean, cozy facilities and convenient location, but all proceeds from your stay will be used by the National Trust for conservation work on Ben Lomond. The bunkhouse has a communal kitchen and wonderful lounge in addition to its two small bedrooms. Space is quite limited, so it is definitely a good idea to book ahead.

Pebble beach along Loch Lomond.

Inversnaid

High-End: Garrison of Inversnaid

This incredible B&B offers two studio rooms inside a converted barn house. The property is a working farm that dates back to 1719 and boasts incredible mountain scenery in all directions. Weary walkers will enjoy the hot tub and lavish breakfast spread. Be advised that you’ll need to walk a little under a mile uphill from the WHW trail to reach this accommodation.

Mid-Range: Inversnaid Hotel

While this hotel is primarily used for coach tours, they do accept individual bookings when rooms are available. The hotel has a beautiful lochside location that is situated directly on the WHW route.

Budget: Inversnaid Bunkhouse

This unique bunkhouse is located inside an old church and offers a variety of room types to suit your needs. There is a pub on site, as well as a drying room and a hot tub. The bunkhouse is located a bit off the trail, but they offer free pick and and drop off on most days.

Inverarnan

High-End: The Drovers Inn

Guests will enjoy the unique character and friendly service at this historic hotel. There is an excellent restaurant on site that is known for its cozy setting and great atmosphere. There are a variety of rooms on offer, from the luxurious jacuzzi room to the reputedly haunted room in the lodge across the street!

Mid-Range: Rose Cottage B&B

This friendly B&B offers clean, comfortable rooms in a convenient location. The kind hosts provide laundry service upon request, as well as a hearty breakfast and warm hospitality. There is no website for this B&B, but bookings can be made through murielrosecottage@hotmail.com or by phoning +44 01301-704255.

Budget: Beinglas Farm

This excellent accommodation offers a variety of lodging options to suit any budget. There is a cozy B&B, as well as basic camping cabins and tent camping available. There’s a great restaurant, a small shop, and laundry facilities on site.

The restaurant at Beinglas Farm knows how to feed hungry hikers!

Crianlarich

High-End: Glenardran House

The village of Crianlarich is located about 15 minutes off the main WHW route, but many walkers find it to be a worthwhile detour. This is especially true if you choose to stay at the stylish and comfortable Glenardran House. With a welcoming staff and delicious breakfast, it’s everything a B&B should be and more.

Mid-Range: Best Western Crianlarich Hotel

This cozy hotel has clean, comfortable rooms and a good quality restaurant/bar on site. It is a dependable stop and a good value for those making the short detour to Crianlarich.

Budget: Crianlarich Youth Hostel

This excellent hostel is located inside a beautiful bungalow in a tranquil wooded location. There are private rooms and dorm beds available, as well as a drying room, communal kitchen, and lounge area.

Want to take the stress out of navigating on your West Highland Way trek? Learn more about our downloadable GPS file!

Tyndrum

High-End: Glengarry House B&B

Walkers rave about this exceptional bed and breakfast located on the outskirts of Tyndrum. The hosts are welcoming and knowledgeable, the space is cozy and peaceful, and the breakfast is delicious. They offer the option for laundry and an evening meal.

Mid-Range: Dalkell Cottage

This lovely little B&B offers rooms in their guesthouse as well as the option to stay in the cozy cottage on the property. All of the rooms provide tea/coffee and plenty of thoughtful touches. The friendly hosts enjoy catering to weary walkers.

Budget: By the Way Hostel and Campsite

In addition to dorm beds in the hostel, there are a range of unique accommodations available at By the Way (including camping pods and hobbit houses). Regardless of which type of lodging you choose, you’ll be perfectly located along the WHW trail and close to the shops of Tyndrum. The facilities are well-maintained and include a drying room and a communal kitchen.

Bridge of Orchy

High-End: Bridge of Orchy Hotel

This splendid hotel is one of only a couple options in the area, but being set in the middle of nowhere works in its favor. The Bridge of Orchy Hotel enjoys gorgeous views of the tranquil valley on the banks of the Orchy River. The building has plenty of traditional charm, but rooms have comfortable modern updates.

Budget: West Highland Way Sleeper

This cozy bunkhouse is the only other accommodation on this part of the route. Housed inside a historic train platform building, it is a unique and convenient option. Accommodation is basic but comfortable. There is a drying room, and a continental breakfast and linens are provided. Advance bookings are essential during the summer months.

Bridge of Orchy frames the green hills beyond.

Kingshouse

High-End: Kingshouse Hotel

Walkers looking for a spot of luxury will not be disappointed by their stay at the Kingshouse Hotel. This excellent accommodation boasts stunning quintessential Highlands scenery and beautifully renovated rooms in an 18th-century building. There is an upscale restaurant/bar on site, as well as a more casual pub next door.

Mid-Range: Glencoe Mountain Resort

With limited lodging in the area, this is a good value option for those who are willing to rough it just a bit. The resort offers cozy microlodges that sleep up to six people. The accommodation is very basic- just bunks with mattresses (bring your own sleeping bag) and shared bathroom facilities, but they are clean and comfortable. There is a fully licensed cafe on the site.

Budget: The Kingshouse Hotel Bunkhouse

If you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery and warm ambiance of the Kingshouse Hotel on a shoestring budget, this is an excellent option. The bunkhouse features a variety of room sizes, sleeping anywhere from two to six people. There are shared bathroom facilities and a communal kitchenette. Linens are provided and towels are available for rent.

Hanging out at Glencoe Mountain Resort.

Kinlochleven

High-End: Tigh na Cheo Guest House

It’s the small details and thoughtful touches that elevate a place like Tigh na Cheo from good to exceptional. From their super comfortable beds to the bath salts provided for soaking sore muscles, this welcoming B&B will make sure that your final night on the trail is extra special.

Mid-Range: MacDonald Hotel and Cabins

While you have to walk a few minutes past the town center to reach this hotel, it is certainly worth it to enjoy the secluded setting and stunning views on the banks of Loch Leven. Hotel rooms feature en suite bathrooms and complimentary breakfast, while the budget-friendly cabins have shared bathroom facilities and linens provided (sleeping bags can be rented on site).

Budget: Blackwater Hostel

When it comes to hostels, this is one of the best along the West Highland Way. There are a variety of dormitory sizes available, allowing many walkers to enjoy a private room. The excellent facilities include good hot showers (shampoo and soap provided), drying rooms, and a well-equipped communal kitchen. It’s conveniently located near the shop and pubs.

A rare glimpse of Ben Nevis as the clouds part.

Fort William

High-End: Gowan Brae Bed and Breakfast

What better way to celebrate your completion of the West Highland Way than by enjoying a stay somewhere luxurious? Gowan Brea B&B has it all: welcoming hosts, a central location, beautiful views, and plush rooms. Plus, the breakfast is divine.

Mid-Range: Myrtle Bank Guest House

Everything about this guest house is truly magical. Set inside an 1890’s Victorian on the banks of Loch Linnhe, there’s no shortage of great views and ambiance. The service is top-notch and the price is right.

Budget: Fort William Backpackers

This friendly hostel has good facilities and tons of quirky charm. It’s set in a cozy historic house, which means that some features are a bit dated (such as the very limited number of outlets in the rooms). The hostel has a lovely lounge and communal kitchen, a very affordable continental breakfast option, and linens are provided.

What’s Next?

Check out our other great West Highland Way resources!

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The Complete Guide to Camping In and Near Hot Springs National Park

Historical interest and natural beauty strike a perfect balance in Hot Springs National Park. This little gem is the oldest park to be managed by the National Park System, but…

Historical interest and natural beauty strike a perfect balance in Hot Springs National Park. This little gem is the oldest park to be managed by the National Park System, but its storied past extends thousands of years beyond that as a sacred place for numerous Indigenous Peoples. Visitors today can enjoy peaceful hiking trails, grandiose bathhouses, and endless recreational activities in the park and the nearby city of Hot Springs.

Those looking to make the most of their escape to nature will have their pick from a wealth of excellent camping options in the area. Whether you’re looking for a deluxe glamping experience or free dispersed camping, we’ve got you covered. This guide details all of the best places to camp in and near Hot Springs National Park and provides need-to-know information to help you have your best possible trip. Happy Camping!

Gulpha Creek in the fall.
You can camp year-round in and near Hot Springs National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Mitch Smith.

In this Guide:

Camping in Hot Springs National Park

Given the relatively small size of the park and its urban surroundings, camping options are limited inside Hot Springs National Park. Backcountry and dispersed camping are not permitted anywhere inside the park. The only place you can camp within Hot Springs National Park is at the Gulpha Gorge Campground, but fortunately, this is an excellent option.

With a shady and idyllic location on the banks of Gulpha Creek, Gulpha Gorge Campground accommodates both tents and RVs and gives campers easy proximity to trails, bathhouses, the Visitor Center, and other attractions. It is open year-round on a first-come, first-served basis.

An RV parked by the stream at Gulpha Gorge Campground.
Many of the sites at Gulpha Gorge Campground are located right along Gulpha Creek. Photo courtesy of NPS/Mitch Smith.

What to bring on your Hot Springs National Park Camping trip

Preparing for your Hot Springs National Park camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping in Hot Springs National Park:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect for whipping up campsite classics.
  • Portable water container – Save yourself from making dozens of trips to the campground water tap and bring one of these.
  • Cooler – The temperatures make a good cooler essential. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!

Gulpha Gorge Campground

# of Sites: 40

Type: Tent, RV

Fees: $30/night (credit or debit only)

Amenities:

  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Electric, water, and sewer hookups
  • Dump station
  • Trash/recycling
  • Picnic tables
  • Grills

Pets: Pets are allowed in the campground and on all of the trails in Hot Springs National Park. Dogs must be kept on a 6′ leash.

Fires: Grills are provided at all campsites. Ground fires are only permitted in designated fire rings at the campground.

Reservations: It is not possible to reserve a spot at Gulpha Gorge Campground. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. It is important to register before setting up camp and you can only pay with a credit or debit card.

Wildlife: Hot Springs National Park is home to thousands of species, including black bears, white tailed deer, coyotes, and bats. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll see a bear at the campground, be sure to secure all of your food items in a car or bear canister. The most common animal you’ll encounter in the summertime is the mosquito, so pack the bug spray!

Website: Gulpha Gorge Campground

A white tailed deer, seen while camping at Hot Springs National Park.
White tailed deer are common in Hot Springs National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Mitch Smith.

Campgrounds Near Hot Springs National Park

From rustic to resort-like, there are plenty of great camping options near Hot Springs National Park to suit every style and budget. In this section, you’ll find our recommendations for the best campgrounds within a 35-minute drive from the National Park.

Hot Springs KOA

# of sites: 70

Type: RV, Tent, Cabins

Fees: $30/night (Tent), $40-$75/night (RV), $75-$140/night (Cabin)

Distance to Hot Springs National Park: 4 miles ( 7-minute drive)

Amenities:

  • Toilets/Showers
  • Communal kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Water/Electric hookups (50 amp max)
  • WiFi
  • Pool
  • Snack bar
  • Games
  • Shuttle to Hot Springs National Park

Pets: Yes, must be kept on leash.

Fires: Permitted in designated fire pits. Firewood is available for purchase at the campground.

Reservations: Recommended. Reservations can be made HERE.

Website: Hot Springs National Park KOA

Bar Fifty RV Park and Horse Camp

# of sites: 57

Type: Tent, RV, Bunkhouse

Fees: $15 (Tent), $32 (RV)

Distance to Hot Springs National Park: 20 miles (35-minute drive)

Amenities:

  • Toilets/Showers
  • Potable Water
  • Water/Electric hookups
  • Picnic tables
  • Horse pens

Pets: Yes.

Fires: Yes

Reservations: Recommended for busy weekends/holidays.

Lake Ouachita State Park

# of sites: 93

Type: Walk-in tent, Tent, RV, Cabin

Fees: $14/night (Tent), $36/night (RV w/hookups), $200-$250 (Cabin)

Distance to Hot Springs National Park: 15 miles (25-minute drive)

Amenities:

  • Toilets/Showers
  • Potable water
  • Water/sewer/electric (50 amp) hookups (Class AAA sites)
  • Picnic tables
  • Barbeques
  • Gift shop in Visitor’s Center
  • Boat rentals

Pets: Yes, must be kept on leash.

Fires: Yes, in designated areas.

Reservations: Recommended. There is a two-night minimum for weekend reservations and a three-night minimum for holidays. Reservations can be made HERE.

Website: Lake Ouachita State Park

Charlton Recreation Area

# of sites: 52

Type: Tent, RV, Group

Fees: $15/night (tent sites), $25/night (Single RV sites w/hookups), $40/night (Double RV sites w/hookups), $40/night (Group tent site)

Distance to Hot Springs National Park: 22 miles (35-minute drive)

Amenities:

  • Flush toilets/Showers
  • Potable water
  • Picnic tables
  • Barbeques and fire pits
  • Tent/trailer pad
  • Swimming area
  • Water/Electric hookups (Loops B & C)
  • Dump Station

Pets: Yes, must be kept on leash.

Fires: Yes, in designated areas.

Reservations: N/A. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Website: Charlton Recreation Area

Lake Catherine State Park

# of sites: 76

Type: Tent, RV, Yurt, Cabins

Fees: $13/night (primitive tent sites), $23/night (Class B sites), $36/night (class AAA sites), $58/night (yurt), $100/night (cabins)

Distance to Hot Springs National Park: 13 miles (20-minute drive)

Amenities:

  • Flush toilets/Showers
  • Potable water
  • Picnic tables
  • Barbeques and fire pits
  • Tent/trailer pad
  • Marina/Boat Rentals
  • Water/Electric hookups

Pets: Yes, must be kept on leash.

Fires: Yes, in designated areas.

Reservations: Highly recommended. Reservations can be made HERE.

Website: Lake Catherine State Park

RV Camping near Hot Springs National Park
There are plenty of great options for both RV and tent camping near Hot Springs National Park.

Dispersed Camping Near Hot Springs National Park

The hands-down best place for dispersed camping near Hot Springs National Park is in Ouachita National Forest. This incredible wilderness area encompasses 1.8 million acres and includes Arkansas’ largest lake, Lake Ouachita.

The Forest Service offers this advice about camping in Ouachita National Forest:

“…[P]rimitive camping is allowed almost anywhere in the Ouachita National Forest unless there is a sign stating otherwise, or it is a wildlife food plot. Located throughout the Forests are areas that have been campsites for many years. These are located along roadsides, trails, mountain tops, or near streams.”

For easy access to Hot Springs National Park, camp in the southeastern part of Ouachita National Forest. The Jessieville-Winona-Fourche Ranger District and Caddo/Womble Ranger District are both good options. If you are feeling adventurous, head towards Ouachita via US-270W or AR-298W, and choose a series of dirt roads to follow to seek out a camp spot once inside the forest.

Those looking for a little more guidance can check out the recommendations on this website.

Always follow National Forest Guidelines and Leave No Trace Practices when dispersed camping.

Dispersed Camping near Hot Springs National Park
Dispersed camping near Hot Springs National Park is a peaceful and free option.

Ouachita National Forest

# of Sites: Varies

Type: Primitive (some spaces can accommodate RVs, but no hookups)

Fees: Free

Distance to Hot Springs National Park: Varies (likely about an hour+ drive)

Amenities:

  • None
  • Water should be filtered before drinking from lakes or streams.
  • There may be a recreation area nearby with water/bathrooms, and necessities are available in some towns within 30-minutes’ drive.

Pets: Yes

Fires: Yes

Reservations: N/A

Website: Ouachita National Forest

Tent Camping Hot Springs National Park

Conclusion

Whether you’re enjoying the modern comforts of an RV Resort or adventuring into the wilderness to find that perfect dispersed campsite, you’ll be well-situated to make the most of all that Hot Springs National Park has to offer. We hope this guide helps you spend less time planning and more time in the great outdoors. Got any questions or tips to share? Leave them in the comments below.

Happy Camping!

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The Complete Guide to Camping in Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is a true hidden gem. Tucked away in the central heart of California, Pinnacles is home to a variety of rugged landscapes and stunning rock formations. Although…

Pinnacles National Park is a true hidden gem. Tucked away in the central heart of California, Pinnacles is home to a variety of rugged landscapes and stunning rock formations. Although it is one of the country’s youngest National Parks, Pinnacles’ history goes back many millions of years to a time when numerous volcanoes formed the spires, caves, and canyons that make it such a unique and beautiful place.

Many nature lovers will agree that exploring wild places like Pinnacles National Park is best experienced on a camping trip. There’s no better way to bring closure to a day in the outdoors than a night under the stars. Since camping options are limited and Pinnacles is still an off-the-beaten-track destination, it can be challenging to find good information on camping in Pinnacles National Park. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide so you can spend less time planning and more time in the great outdoors. Enjoy!

Wild flowers bloom along the Rim Trail in Pinnacles National Park.
Wildflowers bloom along the Rim Trail in Pinnacles National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Cindy Martinez.

In This Post:

Camping Inside Pinnacles National Park

When it comes to camping inside Pinnacles National Park, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that backcountry and dispersed camping are not permitted anywhere within the park. The good news? It’s still possible to enjoy camping in the lovely and convenient Pinnacles Campground, and those looking for more remote dispersed camping have a few good options nearby.

Pinnacles National Park Camping Map
Pinnacles Campground is located on the more developed East side of the park.

Pinnacles Campground

# of sites: 134

Type: Tent, RV, Group, Glamping

Fees: $35 (Standard tent), $45 (RV w/electric), $75-$110 (group) $119 (glamping cabin)

Located near the Visitor’s Center on the East side of the park, Pinnacles Campground offers a range of camping options. There are numerous tent pitches (many with good shade, 6 people max per site), RV sites with electric hookups, glamping cabins, and group sites that can accommodate up to 20 people.

There is a handy campground store on the premises that offers basic food and supplies. A shuttle runs from the campground to the Bear Gulch Nature Center and nearby trailheads.

Looking towards Pinnacles Campground and Bear Gulch.
Looking towards Pinnacles Campground and Bear Gulch. Photo courtesy of NPS.

Amenities:

  • Fire ring
  • Picnic tables
  • Food storage box
  • Flushing toilets
  • Hot showers ($0.50/3 minutes)
  • Wifi
  • Swimming pool
  • General store

Reservations

Due to the limited camping options at Pinnacles, reservations are recommended during the peak wildflower season (March-May), on weekends, and during holidays. Additionally, it is advisable to book in advance if you are wanting an RV site (only 20 total), glamping cabin (6 total), or group site (14 total). Group sites can be booked up to 12 months in advance, while all other sites can be booked up to 6 months in advance.

Reservations can be made at recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777

What to bring on your Pinnacles National Park Camping trip

Preparing for your Pinnacles National Park camping trip involves more than deciding which campground best fits your needs. There is also the important job of making sure you have all the right gear you’ll need to ensure a great trip.

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items specifically for camping in Pinnacles National Park:

  • Coleman Camping Stove – This camping classic is perfect for whipping up classic campsite dinners.
  • Pop-up canopy – The sun in this part of California can get intense! You won’t find much shade at the campground, so we recommend bringing a portable shade structure to create your own!
  • Portable water container – Save yourself the hassle of constant trips to the water tap and bring one of these.
  • Cooler – The hot summer temperatures make a good cooler essential. We can’t recommend Yeti enough!
  • Pinnacles National Park Map – An essential for any trip, a good map is a must.
  • Pinnacles Guidebook – A good guidebook will provide insights and information to help you plan your perfect trip to Pinnacles. We like this hiking guide from Falcon Guides.

Pets

Pets are allowed on the paved areas of the campground and must be kept on a leash. You cannot bring your pet on any of the trails in Pinnacles National Park.

Fires

Fires are permitted inside designated fire rings, depending on the time of year. During times of high fire danger, campfires and smoking are prohibited throughout the park (including inside the campground), although propane cooking stoves are typically allowed. Information on current conditions and fire bans can be found on this website.

Wildlife

Pinnacles National Park is a renowned habitat for the critically endangered California Condor. There is a viewing area with telescopes at the Pinnacles Campground; your best chance of seeing one of these beautiful giants is during their evening feeding time. More commonly seen in the campground are racoons, squirrels, and numerous smaller birds, such as the scrub jay. It is imperative that visitors not feed the wildlife, and be sure to keep all of your food inside your car or in the box provided at your campsite.

A California Condor at Pinnacles National Park.
A California Condor spotted in Pinnacles National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Kurt Moses.

Campgrounds Near Pinnacles National Park

Despite the limited options for camping within the boundaries of Pinnacles National Park, there are plenty of good campgrounds in the surrounding area. For easy access to the East side of the park, the towns of Hollister and King City are each about 30 miles and 40 minutes’ drive away. The west side of the park is more remote, requiring about an hour’s drive (38 miles) from the nearest town of Soledad.

Below we’ve shared our top picks and tips for the best campgrounds near Pinnacles National Park:

Campgrounds Near Hollister, California

Hollister Hills SVRA

For those looking for a more rustic option near Hollister, the Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area offers basic camping options in several campgrounds on the 6,800-acre site. Keep in mind that this is a recreation area for 4WD vehicles and ATVs, so don’t expect it to be particularly quiet.

# of Sites: Varies by campground. (There are 7 campgrounds and 2 remote sites total)

Type: Tents, RVs (no hookups)

Fees: $10/night

Amenities:

  • Flushing toilets
  • Showers (not available at all campgrounds)
  • Water
  • Firepit
  • Picnic tables

Fires: Yes, but seasonal restrictions may apply.

Pets: Yes

Reservations: N/A. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Get there early, as it fills up most weekends.

Hollister Hills SVRA Website

Camping in Hollister California
Car camping+fire pits=Gourmet dinners!

San Benito RV and Camping Resort

Located 14 miles south of Hollister, this is one of the closest camping options to Pinnacles National Park (about a 25-minute drive). The San Benito RV and Camping Resort is a big, busy, well-appointed RV park that doesn’t permit tent camping.

# of Sites: 596

Type: RV, Cabins

Fees: RV sites ($68/night and up), Cabins ($130/night-$300/night)

Amenities:

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Clubhouse with Wifi
  • Pool/Hot tub
  • Playground
  • Laundry
  • Water

Fires: In barbeques only.

Pets: Allowed for RV camping, but not inside cabins.

Reservations: Recommended for busy weekends. Reservations can be made HERE.

San Benito RV and Camping Resort Website

Camping near Hollister California rock climbing
Camping in Hollister gives you close proximity to some of the most popular climbing routes in Pinnacles National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Kurt Moses.

Campgrounds Near King City, California

San Lorenzo County Park

Conveniently located near the center of King City, San Lorenzo County Park offers a wide variety of campsite types in a shady campground with good facilities.

# of Sites: 100

Type: RV, Tent, Group

Fees: Full Hook-Up ($45/night) Water/Electric or Water-Only ($40/night)

Amenities

  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Water
  • Barbeques
  • Picnic tables
  • Laundry
  • Internet kiosk
  • Putting green

Fires: Barbeques only.

Pets: Yes (must be kept on leash), additional fee required.

Reservations: Recommended for busy holidays and weekends. Reservations can be made HERE.

San Lorenzo County Park Camping Website

Camping in King City California, Pinnacles National Park
Many of the best trails in Pinnacles National Park are less than an hour’s drive from San Lorenzo County Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Kurt Moses.

Campgrounds Near Soledad, California

Arroyo Seco Campground

Nestled on a wooded hillside near two small lakes and a river, this rustic campground offers a good option for campers who want to appreciate their natural surroundings. There are some spots that can accommodate smaller RVs, but no hookups are available.

# of Sites: 33

Fees: $30/night

Amenities:

  • Toilets (some flush, some vault)
  • Drinking water
  • Showers (coin-operated)
  • Picnic table
  • Firepit with grill

Fires: Yes, but seasonal restrictions may apply.

Pets: Yes, must be kept on leash.

Reservations: Recommended. This is a small campground that gets heavy use throughout the year. Reservations can be made HERE.

Arroyo Seco Campground Website

Camping near the west entrance to Pinnacles National Park.
Camping near Soledad, CA gives you easy access to the West entrance of Pinnacles National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Kurt Moses.

Yanks RV Resort

Yanks RV Resort is well-positioned for easy access to either the western or eastern entrance to Pinnacles National Park. This is an RV-only campground and tents are not permitted.

# of Sites: 79

Fees: $51-71/night

Amenities:

  • Full hook-ups
  • Wifi & cable TV
  • Picnic tables
  • Barbeques
  • Pool/hot tub
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Dog park
  • Propane filling station
  • Laundry
  • Store
  • Fitness center

Fires: Yes

Pets: Yes, except for pitbulls, rottweilers, & dobermans.

Reservations: Recommended for busy holidays and weekends. Reservations can be made HERE.

Yanks RV Resort Website

Pinnacles National Park Camping Caves
Exploring the caves in Pinnacles National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS/Kurt Moses.

Dispersed Camping Near Pinnacles National Park

There are a couple of good options for dispersed camping near Pinnacles National Park. The Laguna Mountain BLM area is the closest option to the park, requiring a roughly 50-minute drive to reach the East entrance. The Condon Peak BLM area is just a bit further, about one hour’s drive from Pinnacles National Park’s East entrance. While these camping options may be a bit further than some of the other campgrounds in the area, they provide an affordable and private alternative to the busier RV parks.

Laguna Mountain BLM Recreation Area

There are plenty of secluded spots to be found off any of the roads in the Laguna Mountain area (be sure to read and follow the camping regulations on the website). Stargazers will enjoy the dark night skies here, and hikers should make a short detour to check out one of the waterfalls in the area. Keep in mind that there are no restrooms, water, or trash facilities for dispersed campers. There are also two primitive campgrounds with level spaces to accommodate RV’s, although there are no hook-ups.

# of Sites: Varies

Fees: Free

Amenities:

  • None in dispersed spots
  • Campgrounds have vault toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables

Fires: Seasonal Restrictions may apply

Pets: Yes

Reservations: Not available. Get there early on weekends to find a good spot.

Laguna Mountain BLM Website

Dispersed camping near Pinnacles National Park
Dispersed camping allows you to enjoy the peace and solitude of the outdoors.

Condon Peak BLM Recreation Area

Condon Peak Recreation Area is another good option for dispersed camping near Pinnacles National Park, although there are a few drawbacks to consider. There is a $5 vehicle permit required for both camping and day use, and Condon Peak is a bit further from Pinnacles than Laguna Mountain. Additionally, the area is quite busy during the summer hunting season. That being said, there are many good dispersed spots and a primitive campground suitable for tents and RVs.

# of Sites: Varies

Fees: $5 vehicle permit (good for one week and must be purchased on recreation.gov)

Amenities:

  • None in dispersed spots
  • Campgrounds have vault toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables

Fires: Seasonal Restrictions may apply

Pets: Yes

Reservations: Not available. Get there early on summer weekends to find a good spot.

Condon Peak BLM Website

Camping near Pinnacles National Park, Balconies Trail

Conclusion

There’s no shortage of activities to enjoy in Pinnacles National Park. You can watch for the endangered California Condor and other birds of prey, explore the fabulous network of hiking trails, choose from excellent climbing routes suited for a range of ability levels and styles, or venture into one of the incredible talus caves (no special experience or equipment required!) Your next adventure is waiting, and it all starts with the perfect basecamp. Happy camping!

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Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation

The incredible scenery you’ll experience on England’s celebrated Coast to Coast Walk can only be rivaled by the warm hospitality you’ll receive along the way. Whether you’re enjoying rich pub…

The incredible scenery you’ll experience on England’s celebrated Coast to Coast Walk can only be rivaled by the warm hospitality you’ll receive along the way. Whether you’re enjoying rich pub meals and luxurious B&B’s or roughing it with some trail mix and a tent, the places you spend your nights on the Coast to Coast Walk are sure to be as memorable as the ones traversed in the daytime hours.

We put together this guide to help you get the most out of your accommodation experience during your Coast to Coast adventure. Here’s what’s covered in the post:

St. Bees Head Coast to Coast Walk

Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation Basics


Do I need to reserve my accommodation in advance for the Coast to Coast Walk?

Generally speaking, yes. During the peak season (May-August), it is very likely that many places will be sold out nearly every night. Even outside of the busy months, it is a good idea to make advance bookings for places in resort areas, small towns with few accommodation options, and on weekends.

Most campgrounds on the Coast to Coast Walk do not require reservations, but there are a few notable exceptions. You should book ahead for any campgrounds in the Lakes District during peak months, and at smaller camping areas like Lord Stones.

When booking for peak season, the earlier the better. If possible, try to reserve the most in-demand accommodations 3-6 months in advance. If you’re more of a last-minute person, don’t despair. Even calling a few days ahead while you’re on the trail could really pay off.

Coast to Coast Walk Camping Gear
Bookings aren’t required for most campgrounds on the C2C, but there are some important exceptions.

How much does accommodation cost on the Coast to Coast Walk?

A wonderful aspect of the Coast to Coast Walk is its very customizable nature. No two walkers have the same experience on this dynamic trek; in fact, if you walk it twice you’ll likely have vastly different experiences each time! Just as you can tailor your itinerary to match your timeframe and your packing list to fit your travel style, so can you choose accommodation to fit your budget.

Prices vary greatly from place to place, but generally speaking, here’s what you can expect to pay for accommodation along the Coast to Coast Walk:

  • B&B/Guesthouse/Hotel: £75+ (per person/per night)
  • Bunkhouse/Hostel: £40 (per person/per night)
  • Camping: £10 (per person/per night)

In our accommodation directory, we’ve provided our recommendations for high-end, mid-range, and budget options at all of the typical Coast to Coast stops. We’ve defined those categories as follows:

  • High-End: £70+ (per person/per night)
  • Mid-Range: £40-70 (per person/per night)
  • Budget:<£40 (per person/per night)

Want to know more about budgeting and money on the Coast to Coast Walk? Check out our Ultimate Guide for a detailed cost list and other essential information!

Full English Breakfast at a B&B on the Coast to Coast walk
If you choose to stay at B&B’s. you can expect to eat like a king!

Coast to Coast Walk Accommodation Directory


There are fabulous places to stay along the entire Coast to Coast route. In this directory, we’ll give you key details about all of your options, as well as our best recommendations for every budget.

We’ve organized our list to follow most variations of the classic west-to-east walking itinerary.

If you’re looking for a helpful visual to go with this list, be sure to check out this Coast to Coast Maps & Routes article!

Patterdale Coast to Coast Walk
The charming village of Patterdale.

St. Bees

High-End: Stone House Farm

You’ll start your walk fully energized from the comfortable beds and lavish breakfast spread at Stone House Farm. The service is friendly and personalized and the location is convenient. Those on a tight budget can camp in the lovely garden.

Mid-Range: The Seacote Hotel

The oceanfront location of this hotel means that it provides great views and easy access to the official start of the Coast to Coast Walk. A full English breakfast is included in your room rate and dogs are welcome (for an additional fee).

Budget: Seacote Caravan Park

If you plan on staying in St. Bees for a few nights before starting your walk, this is a great budget option. You can rent a holiday caravan that is quite luxurious and provides beautiful views (minimum 3-night stay). Alternatively, a great budget option is to camp at their well-appointed seaside campground.

Cleator

High-End: Jasmine House B&B

With spotless rooms, helpful staff, and a hearty breakfast, this is an excellent option in Cleator. It is located just steps from the Coast to Coast route, making it a convenient place to stop.

Mid-Range: Ennerdale Country House Hotel

The friendly staff at Ennerdale Country House Hotel welcome both people and dogs to their tranquil abode. The lovely garden is a perfect place to relax after a day of walking.

Ennerdale Bridge

High-End: Thorntrees B&B

Thorntrees B&B is an excellent stop on the Coast to Coast Walk for a multitude of reasons. The location is ideal for walkers, the rooms are cozy and luxurious, and the food is top-notch.

Mid-Range: Fox and Hounds Inn

A stay at this cozy pub and inn is sure to be a quintessential Coast to Coast experience. The Fox and Hounds is at the heart of Ennerdale Bridge, and a popular gathering point for C2C walkers to enjoy a pint and swap stories. Rooms are basic but comfortable.

Budget: YHA Ennerdale

To reach this well-appointed hostel, you’ll need to walk an extra couple of hours past the town of Ennerdale Bridge and traverse the entire length of Ennerdale Water. Those willing to go the extra miles will be rewarded with an atmospheric stay at a great value (private rooms and dorms are available).

Black Sail Hut

Mid-Range: YHA Black Sail Hostel

If you are looking to complete the Coast to Coast Walk at a more relaxed pace, you may want to consider staying at the Black Sail to break up a long and strenuous stretch of the walk. If you choose to do this, it is imperative to reserve your bed at the Black Sail in advance, as it only sleeps 16 people in total.

Black Sail Hostel Coast to Coast Walk
The delightfully cozy Black Sail Hostel.

Rosthwaite

High-End: Hazel Bank Country House

If you’re looking for an all-around exceptional Cumbrian B&B experience, look no further than Hazel Bank Country House. From the stunning setting to their homemade truffles, every detail is curated to make your stay relaxing and memorable.

Mid-Range: Royal Oak Hotel

This cozy family-run hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Borrowdale, giving you easy access to the Coast to Coast route and a smattering of pubs. The knowledgeable staff are happy to provide helpful advice to C2C walkers.

Budget: YHA Borrowdale

YHA consistently provides excellent budget accommodations throughout the UK, and the Borrowdale location is no different. With convenient amenities (drying room, communal kitchen, free wifi), central location, and friendly lounge, it is the best budget option in the area. Private rooms, dorms, camping pods, and tent camping are available.

Grasmere

High-End: Heidi’s Grasmere Lodge

This exceptional B&B is located steps from the center of town, yet still provides a tranquil setting and beautiful views. The staff is friendly and the service exceptional, plus there’s a great cafe on site.

Mid-Range: Raise Cottage

Raise cottage provides both private rooms and dorm-style accommodation, but it is a big step up from your typical bunkhouse or hostel. The delightful owner serves up fresh bread and homemade jam each morning, and the cottage is rustic yet tidy. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to walk an additional two miles past Grasmere to reach Raise Cottage.

Budget: YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe

You guessed it- another YHA! It it unlikely that you’ll tire of staying at these hostels, especially when you see the gorgeous setting for the YHA Grasmere. Located in a magical old mansion just minutes from the shops and restaurants in town, this hostel is excellent. Choose from private rooms, dorms, and camping.

Patterdale

High-End: Old Water View Hotel

Options in Patterdale are rather limited, but you won’t be starved for creature comforts at the Old Water View. Rooms are cozy and peaceful, and the breakfast is excellent. Those looking for a more affordable and/or more unique accommodation can stay in the quaint “Herdy Hut” shepherd’s hut in the garden.

Mid-Range: The White Lion Inn

While it may be a bit lacking in regards to stellar service and smart furnishings, the White Lion makes up for it in convenience and camaraderie. The downstairs pub is a festive gathering place for Coast to Coast Walkers and it’s located directly along the route.

Budget: YHA Patterdale

From the cozy lounge area to the well-stocked communal kitchen to the newly-renovated showers to the serene lakefront setting, there’s a lot to love at this hostel. The YHA Patterdale offers private rooms, dorms, and camping.

Shap

High-End: The Greyhound Hotel

Though its history can be traced all the way back to 1680, there are plenty of modern touches to accompany all of the Greyhound’s old world charm. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, many with nice views, as well as an excellent bar and delicious breakfast.

Mid-Range: Brookfield House B&B

Although the price falls into the mid-range category, the hospitality at Brookfield House certainly feels high-end! The warm and friendly owners are legendary among C2C walkers for knowing exactly what weary hikers need from the moment they arrive and throughout their stay.

Budget: New Ing Lodge

This lovely B&B is located in a pastoral setting on the edge of town. It offers great amenities at a reasonable price, especially for pairs and groups. There is also a large space with great facilities on-site for campers.

Kirkby Stephen

High-End: Fletcher House

With a prime location and plenty of thoughtful touches for walkers, Fletcher House is arguably the best place to stay in Kirkby Stephen. After a night at this well-appointed B&B, you’ll be fully rested and fueled up for the next stage of your Coast to Coast adventure.

Mid-Range: The King’s Arms B&B

The central location, lovely terrace, and clean, cozy rooms make the King’s Arms an excellent moderately-priced option. There are en suite rooms available, as well as a few lower-priced rooms with a shared bathroom.

Budget: Kirkby Stephen Hostel

Located inside an old church, this convenient hostel has a beautiful and unique interior. The ambiance is balanced nicely with functional amenities, such as a communal kitchen, free wifi, bike and luggage storage, and a drying room. All of the beds are in dormitories with shared bathrooms.

A trail sign on the Coast to Coast Walk shows the distances to St. Bees and Robin Hood's Bay
A trail sign in Kirkby Stephen reminds walkers of the incredible distances they’ve covered!

Keld

High-End: Frith Lodge B&B

This atmospheric B&B is set in a stunning location with grand vistas of the Dales in every direction. Guests will enjoy warm hospitality, well-equipped rooms, and delicious homemade meals.

Mid-Range: Butt House B&B

This cozy B&B is centrally located in the small, idyllic village of Keld. The guest rooms offer thoughtful touches and great views, and the common area is a perfect place to relax after a long day on your feet.

Budget: Keld Bunk Barn

This unique accommodation puts a luxury spin on the classic bunkhouse. Not only are affordable-yet-plush dorm beds available, but there are also private en suite rooms and deluxe yurts for rent. Enjoy a soak in the private hot tub and dine on delicious homemade meals to really make the most of this little oasis in Keld.

Reeth

High-End: The Burgoyne Hotel

Set in a beautiful country house, the Burgoyne offers classic charm and fantastic service. Guests will enjoy super comfortable beds, tasteful furnishings, and delicious breakfast fare.

Mid-Range: Ivy Cottage B&B

This charming bed and breakfast is located right on the village green in the center of Reeth. Each cozy room comes with its own private bathroom and plenty of thoughtful amenities. The afternoon tea is lovely and the breakfast features local ingredients.

Budget: Orchard Caravan Park

Although there is a two-night minimum to rent their caravans, Coast to Coast walkers can camp or stay in the bunkhouse for a very modest fee. Guests are given a warm welcome and a good cup of tea on arrival. Orchard Caravan Park is located in a pretty pastoral setting about fifteen minutes’ walk from the village green.

Richmond

High-End: The Castle House B&B

If by this point in your Coast to Coast Walk you are seeking a bit of pampering, look no further than the Castle House. Named for its location steps from the iconic Richmond Castle, this bed and breakfast feels just as regal as its neighbor. From the nightly turndown service to the luxurious bathrooms, every detail is impeccable.

Mid-Range: The Turf Hotel

This centrally located hotel offers basic accommodation for a very good value. The rooms are clean and comfortable and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Budget: The Golden Lion Bunkhouse

Cheap accommodation is hard to come by in swanky Richmond, so the Golden Lion is truly a hidden gem. The space consists of a small dormitory with a shared bathroom and a kettle. Located above the Golden Lion Pub in the heart of Richmond, this is a comfortable and convenient choice.

Richmond Castle Coast to Coast Walk
Richmond Castle.

Brompton-on-Swale

Mid-Range: The Farmers Arms Inn

Brompton-on-Swale is an ideal stop for those looking to break up the long walk between Richmond and Danby Wiske, but accommodation options are limited in this area. Fortunately, the Farmers Arms serves up quality hospitality in its well-appointed private guestrooms. A full English breakfast is included, and there is a playground for those walking with children.

Budget: Brompton on Swale Bunk Barn

This dorm-style accommodation offers friendly lodging at a great value. There is a shared kitchen and shower available, and the property is located close to pubs and the village shop. Dogs are welcome and camping is permitted on site.

Danby Wiske

High-End/Mid-Range: Ashfield House B&B (01609 771628)

Though there are rather few accommodation options in Danby Wiske, you can still find a quality bed and breakfast experience at Ashfield House. The friendly owners will make sure that your stay is pleasant and comfortable.

Mid-Range: Inglenook B&B

This is a lovely option in the heart of Danby Wiske. The B&B has a quaint and charming feel, and the hosts serve up plenty of genuine hospitality. Keep in mind that only twin beds are available here.

Budget: The White Swan

The White Swan is a classic country pub of the very best kind. Beyond good ales and hearty meals, they also offer simple accommodation in recently-updated private rooms for a variety of group sizes. Camping is also available on site.

Ingleby Arncliffe

High-End: Park House Guest House

This beautiful gem is located right on the Coast to Coast path and they know how to cater to weary walkers. From laundry service to lifts to the local pub for supper, the wonderful people at Park House will ensure you feel welcome and rejuvenated.

Mid-Range: Swan House B&B

Friendly hosts, luxurious bedding, a well-stocked bar, and a delicious breakfast spread…there’s a lot to love about the Swan House! This reasonably priced accommodation also offers more budget-friendly lodging in their caravan park. Keep in mind that Swan House is a couple of miles from the main Coast to Coast route, although the owners may be able to provide you with a lift back to the path in the morning.

Budget: The Blue Bell Inn

This family-run inn is conveniently located next to the pub and right along the Coast to Coast path. Rooms are basic, but each one is en suite and breakfast is included with your stay. Campers are welcome in a large grassy field behind the pub.

Ingleby Cross Coast to Coast Walk
A coffee stop near Ingleby Cross.

Osmotherley

High-End: Vane House

This bed and breakfast is a clean, comfortable, and cozy place to recharge in the quaint town of Osmotherley. It is located right in the center of the village, with easy access to the pub and shops.

Mid-Range: The Golden Lion Inn

While it’s got plenty of old school 18th-century charm, this isn’t your typical pub accommodation. Rooms at the Golden Lion are very well-appointed with beautiful oak finishes and curated toiletries in the private bathrooms. Breakfast is included with your stay.

Budget: YHA Osmotherley

This is a great budget option with all of the comforts and conveniences you’d expect from a YHA hostel, such as a drying room, lounge, and communal kitchen. There are several choices of room sizes available, and campers are welcome in the large garden.

Clay Bank Top/Great Broughton/Chop Gate

High-End/Mid-Range: Newlands House B&B

Warm hospitality is the trademark of this traditional bed and breakfast in Great Broughton. The friendly hosts will make every effort to ensure your stay is special, from lifts to/from the Coast to Coast path (about two miles away) to home-cooked meals and comfortable furnishings.

Mid-Range: Wainstones Hotel

This comfortable hotel is located in the lovely village of Great Broughton, about two miles north of the Coast to Coast path. If those extra miles sound daunting, fear not- the friendly staff will pick you up and/or drop you off at the trail. Some of the decor could use an updating, but there are plenty of thoughtful touches and good amenities to make Wainstones a great choice.

Budget: Lordstones

Lordstones is the only accommodation that can boast a trailside location at this point in the walk. This luxury camping park features camping pods, yurts, and grassy tent pitches, all with access to excellent bathroom facilities, a farm shop, cafe, and restaurant.

Blakey Ridge

Mid-Range: The Lion Inn

Perhaps the most special aspect of traversing the North York Moors is the feeling one gets of being in the middle of nowhere. The only downside of that is there’s not much accommodation to be had in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, the iconic Lion Inn has been welcoming weary travelers to their remote locales for centuries. A number of room sizes are available, all with private bathrooms and breakfast included. Camping is also permitted on site.

North York Moors Stage 12 Coast to Coast Walk
Beautiful purple heather in the North York Moors.

Glaisdale

High-End: Red House Farm

Not only does Red House Farm offer well-appointed B&B guest rooms and cottages in their tranquil setting, but they also have a pool, spa, and conservatory on site. This is a great place to get in some pampering before you embark on the final stretches of your Coast to Coast Walk.

Mid-Range/Budget: Arncliffe Arms

Conveniently located in the center of Glaisdale and above the town pub, Arncliffe Arms is an excellent option for Coast to Coast walkers. The generous breakfast will keep you fueled for miles and miles!

Grosmont

High-End/Mid-Range: Geall Gallery B&B

The luxurious rooms at this bed and breakfast are as tastefully curated as the landscape paintings in Chris Geall’s gallery below them. Art fans will appreciate this unique accommodation, and all Coast to Coast Walkers will enjoy the cozy on-site cafe and central location.

Mid-Range/Budget: Intake Farm B&B (Littlebeck)

Those looking for a great value may want to consider walking a few extra miles to reach Intake Farm in Littlebeck. Your extra effort will be rewarded with a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake upon arrival, not to mention an excellent shower and lovely pastoral setting. Those on a shoestring budget can camp in the pretty garden and enjoy access to the nice facilities inside the house.

Robin Hood’s Bay

High-End: Fernleigh B&B

A stay at the luxurious Fernleigh is the perfect way to celebrate the completion of your Coast to Coast walk. The newly renovated victorian home features top-notch amenities and beautiful decor on a quiet street near the center of town. The wonderful owners will make sure you feel welcome and well-fed.

Mid-Range: The Grosvenor Hotel

The Grosvenor is a favorite accommodation for many Coast to Coast walkers and for good reason. Guests at this charming hotel will enjoy spotless rooms, a delicious breakfast, and a location that’s just five minutes’ to the beach.

Budget: YHA Boggle Hole

Of all the fantastic YHA hostels, this might be the most magical. Tucked away in an old smugglers cove, the main building is set in a recently-renovated historic mill building. The entire place embraces a fun nautical theme and boasts excellent facilities and lots of fun activities. Dorms and private en suite rooms are available.

Shap Coast to Coast Walk Stage Five

What’s Next?

Check out our other great Coast to Coast Walk Resources:

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