Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#190881 - 06/05/15 10:53 AM AT mileage markers
dylansdad77 Offline

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
Is it safe to assume that the mileages listed on the ATC website are probably the most accurate and up-to date? It seems like every website I go on, the "miles from Springer" vary for each shelter, peak and road crossing by anywhere from 0.1 miles to even 2-3 miles. I would love to use an all-inclusive reference for planning out some longer section hikes. Any advice?
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

#190883 - 06/05/15 12:06 PM Re: AT mileage markers [Re: dylansdad77]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6769
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Reminds me of a sign in the Colorado Rockies. Per the Forest Service, Three Island Lake was five miles away. However, each year the sign was altered by exhausted hikers (it is a steep trail, and the air is a bit thin up there). The last time I saw that sign, Three Island Lake was "1,115 miles BY AIR."

Actually, having ridden the trail on a horse numerous times and having hiked it twice, I thought that 5 miles was pretty close. The sign is no longer there, the trailhead having been moved two miles closer to the lake some time between 1958 and 1988.

While you'd think modern methods would be more accurate, I keep seeing differing mileages on trails measured by GPS (depends on who is measuring, it seems). Those GPS distances are almost always shorter than those trails measured the old-fashioned way with an odometer on a wheel (usually done only for short, popular trails). Of course most trail signs seem to use map mileages. Modern guidebooks also differ, sometimes considerably, when different authors describe the same trail.

Example: Our local hiking forum,, has GPS mileages in its Field Guide. The popular hiking guides to the same trail often have different numbers, usually greater. Trip reports where the hikers have taken a GPS and measured the mileage themselves are often different yet.

I try not to get too hung up on exact mileages. I don't think they exist!

Edited by OregonMouse (06/05/15 12:15 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#190886 - 06/05/15 01:42 PM Re: AT mileage markers [Re: OregonMouse]
dylansdad77 Offline

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks OM. I only ask because being off by 1 or 2 miles can be the difference between a late day summit after a long hike before you reach your intended destination and starting out the next morning on somewhat fresher legs and heading uphill. As long as I can trust where things are in relation to each other, I'm less concerned...
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

#190910 - 06/09/15 02:54 AM Re: AT mileage markers [Re: dylansdad77]
BrianLe Offline

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
The mileages for any long trail change all the time; often minor changes, sometimes significant ones, such as some major PCT re-routing in SoCal. This can come about based on physical trail changes on the ground or from more accurate (?) measurements.

If you want an up-to-date measurement in a way that's useful for trip planning, the latest guidebooks will likely have the latest official mileage. One option is to join ALDHA for $10 and from that have access to the pdf version of their guide, the 'Companion'. You can look at this at home on a larger screen, and/or carry it with you on a smartphone. I did the latter on my AT trips, as a backup to my main guide ---I liked using AWOL's "A.T. Guide". You can get this for $16, or $9 as a pdf download.

But without studying the issue, I would assume that mileages given on the ATC website are good.
Brian Lewis


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Aegismax Nano 2 Sleeping Bag from Aliexpress
by walkingnatur
35 minutes 53 seconds ago
Dajo Gear, wow service
by Rick_D
11/20/21 05:00 PM
Keychain Flashlight tech
by DustinV
11/04/21 01:33 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Featured Photos
Spiderco Chaparral Pocketknife
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 45 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
jeepmaxx, Dean Woods, jul37, jhytr, robischult
13085 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of,, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum