Home Hiking 20 Best Restaurants on America’s Long Distance Hiking Trails

20 Best Restaurants on America’s Long Distance Hiking Trails

16 min read

Food represents probably the most generally fantasised about topic that occupies a protracted distance hiker’s thoughts. Yep, much more than that different one. That being the case, it stands to cause that regardless of whether or not you’re a gourmand, spartan or someplace in between, thru-hikers are all the time on the look out for eating alternatives whereas out on path.

What follows is my fully subjective 20 Best Places to Eat on America’s Long Distance Trails. Since 2002, I’ve had the pleasure of eating in any respect of those institutions (typically greater than as soon as), and there are 13 trails and 14 completely different states represented. The compilation consists of storied pubs, distant bakeries, and a seafood cafe on the nation’s greatest lake:

1. Stehekin Pastry Company, Stehekin, WA (Pacific Crest Trail) – 2007 & 2012

Not solely the best path bakery, however arguably top-of-the-line bakeries within the United States interval. Each and yearly, PCT hikers fill their packs to the brim and past with scrumptious snacks from this gem of a spot. A couple of hours chowing down on the bakery mixed with a refreshing dip in Lake Chelan (greatest go for the swim beforehand), makes for a perfect ultimate city cease earlier than reaching Canada.


Photo from the Stehekin Pastry Company.

2.  The Homeplace, Catawba, VA (Appalachian Trail) – 2015

During my late fall/early winter thru-hike of the AT in 2012, I’m ashamed to say I missed eating on the Homeplace. I obtained a lot shit about it from mates within the US lengthy distance hiking group, that I made certain to rectify my error throughout a subsequent east coast go to in 2015. I’ve received to say, they weren’t incorrect of their evaluation. Hearty southern-style food, nice service, and the pleasant employees will refill your plate should you occur to need extra. The greatest fried hen I’ve ever had. (Note: Only open for dinner Thursday to Sunday. Plan accordingly).

3.  Pie-O-Neer, Pie Town, NM (Continental Divide Trail) – 2012

How are you able to not like a spot known as Pie Town? It could be like having one thing in opposition to waterfalls or Labrador puppies. Great pies, pleasant individuals, and the truth that it’s located in the midst of Bumscratch, New Mexico, by some means makes it even higher. 

Pie-O-Neer, Pie Town, New Mexico.

4.  Timberline Lodge, OR (Pacific Crest Trail) – 2007 & 2012

The Daddy of AYCE path buffets. Whether it’s for breakfast or lunch, this place is to not be missed. Indeed, hiking the PCT and never stopping into Timberline for a chunk to eat, could be the culinary equal of a beer drinker visiting Ireland and never having a pint of Guinness.

Timberline buffet

Last Man Sitting | The employees at Timberline have been form sufficient to let me keep on for an additional hour after the lunch buffet closed | PCT, 2012

5.  Caffé Rel, Franklin, NC (Bartram Trail) – 2011 

A French cafe subsequent to a busy fuel station. I’ve received to confess I used to be greater than a bit skeptical. Nonetheless, a mate of mine that was acquainted with Franklin swore by this place so I made a decision to offer it a attempt. Turned out he was 100% on the cash. Great ambiance, pleasant employees, and the food was to die for. If reminiscence serves I had a Caprese salad, the crawfish and a few chocolate cake.

6.  Wildberry Restaurant , WA (Wonderland Trail) – 2014

Situated simply down the street from Longmire Visitors Center is the Wildberry restaurant. Good food, affordable costs and massive parts (i.e. the thru-hiking culinary “Big Three”). Who would have thought there could be a Nepalese/Burger fusion restaurant so near Mount Rainier?!

(L to R) Bobcat, Malto, Snorkel and yours actually | Wildberry Restaurant, WA, 2014.

7.  Angry Trout Cafe, Grand Marais, MN (Superior Hiking Trail)2011

Beautiful location overlooking Lake Superior. Excellent spot for a sundown beer and a fantastic feed of fish and chips. I ate right here a few instances; as soon as through the hike, and once more for a post-trip celebratory feast.


Angry Trout Cafe, Grand Marais, Minnesota.

8.  Morning Glory, Ashland, OR (Pacific Crest Trail) – 2007

I ended by for breakfast throughout my 2007 PCT hike. A step up in high quality from the conventional hiker fare, however price each penny. Great collection of pancakes and omelettes.

9.  Bob’s Chowder Bar, Anacortes, WA (Pacific Northwest Trail) 2011

New England type chowder. Filling, fairly priced and most significantly tastes incredible. Friendly employees and laid again setting. An enormous because of former mapping guru and lengthy distance hiker extraordinaire, Li Brannfors, for placing me on to this place.


Bob’s Seafood Chowder.

10.  Smoky Mountain Diner, Hot Springs, NC (Appalachian Trail)2012

The AT in 2012 represented the end result of the 12 Long Walks. By the time I sat down within the Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs in December, 2012, I had been hiking for greater than 14000 miles (22,530 km) over the earlier 17.5 months. I used to be burning as much as 7000 energy a day, and suffice to say I used to be hungrier than a cannibal in a mosh pit. I ate double servings at dinner and breakfast on the Smoky Mountain Diner, and the employees have been form sufficient to organize me half a dozen boiled eggs for the street; a standard take-away merchandise throughout my longer hikes.

11.  Polebridge Mercantile, MT (Pacific Northwest Trail) – 2011

Spectacularly set on the doorstep of Glacier National Park. Kick again on the entrance porch as you take pleasure in your fill of pastries and different baked items. Polebridge Mercantile is to east sure PNT hikers what Stehekin is to north sure PCTers – one ultimate irresistible alternative to stuff your face earlier than ending up your via hike a couple of days later.


Polebridge Mercantile, Montana.

12.  Anong’s Thai Cuisine, Rawlins, WY (Continental Divide Trail) – 2012

The probabilities of discovering a fantastic Thai restaurant in Rawlins, Wyoming (affectionately identified by its personal residents because the “armpit of Wyoming“), is roughly the equal of recognizing a reindeer within the Sudan. Despite the chances, Anong’s is the actual deal. Try to time your arrival for the lunch buffet.

13.  New Ming Garden, Waynesboro, VA (Appalachian Trail)2012

Excellent Chinese restaurant. For $8.99 (2019), this legendary AYCE buffet has ample choices and in contrast to most of its ilk, all the objects appear to be recent and engaging. 


New Ming Garden

14.  Paradise Valley Cafe, CA (Pacific Crest Trail) – 2007 & 2012

I ended right here in each 2007 and 2012. On every event I ordered the superb Jose Burger. The second time round I ordered two. Plus some ice cream and a salad simply to combine issues up. Well definitely worth the one mile off-trail deviation. The waddle again could have been the slowest mile I hiked on all the PCT.

15.  Bluebell Country Store, Story, AR (Ouachita Trail) – 2012

Dropped in throughout my winter via hike of the OT in 2012. Situated about half means alongside the OT, the Blue Bell is equal components restaurant, grocery retailer, fuel station, reside music venue and de facto group heart all rolled into one. The cafe’s meals are properly priced, the servings are massive, and if there’s anyplace that encapsulates the South’s legendary hospitality alongside the OT, it’s the Bluebell. They will even shuttle you again to the path for a small charge should you ask properly!

The Bluebell even has former member’s of ZZ Top rocking up for breakfast.

16. Quincy’s Tavern , Leadville, CO (Colorado Trail) – 2015

Excellent steakhouse. Very inexpensive costs, large servings and a cool environment. Easy hitch in from both the Colorado or Continental Divide Trails.

17. Inn at The Long Trail , Killington, VT (Long Trail) – 2002 & 2012

Good pub food at McGrath’s. I overnighted right here throughout my Long Trail thru-hike in 2002, and remembering washing down dinner with a Guinness or three on the vigorous bar. In 2012, I ended in for lunch whereas heading southbound on the AT.

The Inn on the Long Trail.

18. THAT Brewery Pine, AZ, (Arizona Trail) – 2012

I overnighted in Pine through the AZT part of the Southwestern Horseshoe in 2012. I knew nothing in regards to the city besides I needed to decide up a package deal on the put up workplace earlier than it closed. THAT Brewery was an surprising shock. Good burgers and beer. I ended up staying till closing time chatting and ingesting with a pair from Portland, Maine, who have been travelling cross nation. They had hiked the AT within the early 2000’s. Quite usually its the oldsters you meet as a lot because the food, which assist to make a eating expertise memorable.

19.  Milt’s Stop N Eat, Moab, UT (Hayduke Trail / SWHorseshoe) – 2012

Moab’s oldest restaurant. Stopped right here for lunch on third day of the Southwestern Horseshoe in 2012. Excellent burgers and milkshakes.

20.  Alabama Hills Cafe, Lone Pine, CA (Lowest to Highest Route) – 2014

Big servings and properly priced. The muffins, breads and pastries are home made. Excellent alternative for a post-Mt.Whitney breakfast and/or lunch.

(L to R) Swami, Dirtmonger, Bobcat and Malto | On the way back to Lone Pine after the Lowest to Highest Route | The End.

(L to R) Swami, Dirtmonger, Bobcat and Malto | On the best way again to Lone Pine after ending the Lowest to Highest Route | The End.


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