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How to Get Back to Your Car at the End of the Trail


Q. This is not so much a gear question but a technique question: My buddy and I plan to backpack a 24-mile point-to-point trail one weekend, camping halfway. Problem, we only have one car. How do we get back to our car at the end of the trail?
— Stumped Salvatore, Plano, Texas

A. That one’s easy: Buy another car! I’d recommend the Ferrari Testarossa, but you might want something with a little bit more trunk space.

If you can’t afford another car, there are two other options.

One, if the trail you’re taking is a relatively busy one like, say, some sections of the Appalachian Trail or other well-traveled routes there are often local people that you can pay to “shuttle” your car for you. Basically you’d pick them up in town, and they’d ride with you out to the trailhead. Then, you pay them a fee and they drive the car to your destination for you. Often you can find shuttle services like that through local outfitter’s shops or general stores.

Finally, if all else fails, there’s Option Two: Just make your trip an out-and-back.

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15 Comments on How to Get Back to Your Car at the End of the Trail

  1. Haven’t done this myself, but a friend completed the entire AT (in sections) by driving a bicycle to his endpoint, locking it to a tree, and driving back to the trail head.

  2. Chain a bicycle to a tree at the end of the trail and use it to retrieve the car. Play rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock to decide who does the retrieval.

  3. our troop had enough adults-they split into two groups and dropped one group at the other end. They met in the middle to camp and the group that was dropped off ended up at the car. They then drove down to pick up the other half of the troop.

  4. Back to basics…Buddy System…park one car at the end of the trail and take the other to the trail head.

  5. Ever hear of Uber?

  6. When we do one way trips by foot or canoe we have one of the adults not going with us drive (or 2 if you can) with us and shuttle a vehicle to the end. Then at the end the one adult takes any others back to the start to retrieve their vehicles while the Scouts pack & clean things up.

  7. Trustworthy // April 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm // Reply

    Find someone hiking the trail in the opposite direction, meet them in the middle and exchange keys. When the hikes are complete drive each others’ cars to a meeting spot and exchange cars.

  8. 50 year scout with no rank // April 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm // Reply

    Take the car apart and pack it with you. At trails end reassemble.

  9. Or rent a car for the day…

  10. Off-Trail Monkey // January 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm // Reply


  11. People and “cool” cars I’d rather have a truck.Utility uses.

  12. I am happy to discover your remarkable way of writing the article. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the article.

  13. thats a cool car

  14. Eagle Scout 44 // April 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm // Reply

    I want that car!!!!!!!

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