So You Want To Walk Across America

In the summer of 2011 I walked across the United States, from Maryland to California.  Since completing my walk I’ve gotten quite a few emails from some adventurous people planning their own Walk.  People looking for tips on how to prepare for such a journey – what gear to take, how to decide on a route, questions about food, etc.  I thought I’d go ahead and answer some of the more frequently asked questions here.

If you have any questions I haven’t covered here feel free to comment on this page or send me an email at: ameranth (at)

Note:   The answers below are just my opinion based on my own experiences. Pretty sure if you ask everyone who has done a long distance walking adventure you’d get different answers from each of them.  The most important thing is finding out what works for you.

For another perspective on how to walk across America check out my friend Nate’s page on the topic:  How To Walk Across America – Questions and Answers

How long does it take to walk across America?

This is really dependent on the individual. For me it took about 6 months, but for others it’s taken more and for some less.  It’s not something you can plan exactly or figure out until you’re out on the road for a bit. Length of walking depends on a lot of different factors: starting point, ending point, pace, style of walking, luck.

And honestly, I don’t think you should pile on the added stress of trying to make some arbitrary deadline you set for yourself. The walk will take as long as it takes.

How much does it cost?

I ended up spending around $5,000 on my trip. By the end I was pretty much running on empty, but I still think it’s totally possible to do the trip with less depending on budgeting, style, and choices you make along the way. And of course it’s also possible to rock out with more.

What do you feel is the most important thing to have with you?

A positive attitude and an open mind. You have those two things and it won’t even matter what kind of gear you have with you, the right attitude and mindset will get you anywhere.

What do you feel is the most important thing to do to prepare?

Research. Learning about what safety concerns you’ll be walking through – what to do in certain weather, signs of heat stroke, how to respond to bears and other wild animals you might encounter, basic first aid, and just gaining basic knowledge of the areas you plan to be walking through.

I think being mentally prepared is actually more important than physical fitness preparedness.  With walking you can always start off slow and build up your endurance and fitness, but you don’t want to be learning safety on the road or catch yourself in a dangerous situation with no clue as to how to handle. Know what you’re getting into.

Knowing, after all, is half the battle.

What about physical training?

Walk a lot. Seriously, take hikes around varying terrain, go for walks down your road, through the woods, just walk walk walk. Walk with a pack, without, while pushing a stroller. Just walk.

If you’re going to be using a pack then I suggest doing some upper body training to help build muscles to make carrying the pack easier.

I happened to have a job where I was walking 5-10 miles at work every day pushing a heavy cart for most of it. Then I’d get home and take my dog for a long walk through the woods.  I didn’t do anything special, just walk walk walk.

What’s a good pace to set? How many miles a day should I be walking?

There is no right or wrong pace to set. It’ll also change depending on terrain and your own fitness. When I started I was walking 5-10 miles a day (mostly because the trail I was on had campsites every five miles), and by the end I had a few 30+ miles and averaging anywhere from 15-25 a day.  Across the middle of the country – Iowa and Nebraska in particular – I was walking much longer days than in, say, Colorado or Nevada where I’d be taking elevation or desert temperatures into consideration.

Some days you’ll walk more, some days you’ll walk less. I advise not getting too focused on the numbers and instead learn to focus on your body and what you can accomplish each day.

Is there a route you would recommend?

Whatever appeals to you. I wanted to be on as many trails as I could, as opposed to roads all the time, so I based my route on the American Discovery Trail, which I followed off and on throughout the country.  There really is no wrong answer. Look at where you want to go – are there certain states or cities you want to avoid or hit?

Honestly? You’re going to end up changing the route at least a little, so don’t try to lock down too many specifics or worry too much about it. Pick a general route and go for it.

Also think of weather and different seasons. You don’t want to be walking in the desert in the middle of summer, or crossing the high mountains too early or late in the year.

Where did you sleep?

This is definitely a stressful part of the walk and something that took some getting used to. Most of the walk I slept in my tent. In the beginning I’d mostly be using set camping sites and sleeping in my tent.  After getting more confident in myself I started yard camping – which is exactly what it sounds like.   Throughout the middle of the country I was yard camping 9 times out of 10.

For the budget conscious yard camping is the way to go.  Make yourself presentable (as much as you can while on the road), put on a friendly face and walk up to a house that looks like it’d have a spot for you to set up on. (Over time you’ll be able to get a feel for houses that will be more likely to welcome you in.) Explain, in a friendly and open manner, what you’re doing and what you need.  About half the time this resulted in not only a place to camp but dinner and a shower as well.  I think, overall, I averaged about one hotel stay per state up until I hit the Rockies.

I also camped in a lot of town parks after consulting the local authorities (being either the police station or town hall, depending).  For most of these I’d call ahead and ask. I’d call whatever authority I could track down, introduce myself and explain exactly what I was doing and ask if they knew of a place I could set up my tent for a night. Usually whoever is on the other end is more then happy to help me find a spot, either by connecting me with someone who knows, directing me to a local camp spot, or giving me permission to use some public land in town.

If for some reason the local authorities can’t help you out DO NOT be rude or get angry. Anger and rudeness will get you absolutely nowhere.

Now a lot of campers do what they call “stealth camping” – where you wait until dark, set up stealthily, sleep and get up and going before dawn and nobody is the wiser you were ever there. While I do have some friends that did a lot of stealth camping, personally I did not think this was a safe option for me. I much preferred someone to know where I was and what I was doing.  I did stealth camp once or twice but it was a nerve wracking experience and I got very little sleep those nights.  But it is an option.


(Note: I’ve compiled a list of gear I brought with me for both my 400+ mile walk on the Erie Canal and my 3000+ mile walk across America.)

Should I use a stroller or a pack?

I had both – I had a stroller that carried my pack. That way if the cart broke down beyond repair I could always keep on walking.

All my gear, the day before I started my walk.

All my gear, the day before I started my walk – hiking pack strapped into the stroller and additional basket strapped on the front for extra gear.

I highly highly recommend using a stroller/cart. Nearly everyone I know who has made the trek across America on foot either started with one or ended up getting one at some point. There are just so many benefits to using a cart or stroller and very few negatives.

When I walked the Erie Canal in 2010 I didn’t have a cart, just a backpack. My daily mileage was ridiculously low compared to my 2011 walk with a stroller. Also, I was in pain every day. My knees, back, hips, ankles – all were painful at the end of each day. With a stroller all of that was relieved. Then you have the bonus of all the extra gear you can carry. With a trip like walking across America – a 3000 mile journey – you’re going to have a lot of gear.

What kind of shoes should I have? How many pairs should I bring?

I used New Balance trail runner sneakers the entire way and didn’t have a problem. I think the main downfall of sneakers as opposed to hiking boots is that sneakers wear out a lot faster. However, they’re lighter, more flexible, don’t need as much breaking in, dry a lot faster, and cheaper. All important factors when walking all day for months.

Over the entire walk I went through five pairs of sneakers and one pair of sandals.  I always had two pairs with me, switching each day. But I don’t think you should pack more than that, it’ll just weigh you down and take up space. There will be plenty of places to buy new shoes along the way – or you can have them mailed out to a post office you’ll be passing by.

What about water purifiers?

I had water treatment solution with me but never used it.  I never got my water from any questionable sources, always managing to find public restrooms or gas stations or generous strangers.

If you go into most gas stations across America and explain what you’re doing and ask if you can fill up your water bottles (I had 2 32oz Nalgene bottles that I’d fill) at the soda fountain with water or ice they will almost always say yes. Actually, for me they always said yes.

Whenever you’re at a place where they have water, fill up. Doesn’t matter if you’ve only had a couple of sips, fill up your water whenever you can.

Should I bring a tent?

There are a lot of options for sleeping, but I definitely recommend bringing camping gear, including a tent.  You can get some pretty small light-weight tents these days.

The one thing I strongly encourage is that you get a free standing tent. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll always have a place to stake a tent in, so you want your shelter to be able to stand on it’s own if all you have is a slab of concrete or straight rock face to set up on.  I learned this lesson the hard way, as my tent on my Erie Canal walk was not a free standing tent and caused a few sad sleeping arrangements.

Not a free standing tent. Don’t let this happen to you.

With A Dog…

Should I bring my dog?

This is totally your call. However, there are a few things to consider:

How old is your dog? Is she fully grown?

If you’re going to have your dog carrying a pack I recommend she be at least two years old. Dogs are still growing for up to three years depending on size. During those first years they may look fully grown but their bones and ligaments are still forming and shouldn’t be put under too much weight or stress.

What type of dog do you have? Are they suitable for the challenge of walking all day throughout various weather and conditions?

Not all dogs are created equal. Some breeds just will not be able to handle a walk across the country, either due to the amount of exercise, the weather, or some other health issues.

Are you ready to handle the limitations and added stress of a dog?

A dog definitely limits what you can do and where you can go.  It adds a whole other layer of stress to what can already be a stressful situation. You can’t take your time shopping when you have a dog waiting alone outside. There will be campsites that you won’t be allowed to camp at. There is a large added cost – food, first aid, pet fees at campgrounds and hotels.

How well do you know your dog?

The one thing I feel is an absolute must is a strong bond with your dog. Know your dog. Know what’s normal and abnormal. Know what their fur looks like when it’s healthy or when it’s unhealthy. Know their eating habits, grooming habits, behaviors, body language. Dogs can’t talk; they won’t be able to tell you how they’re feeling so it’s up to you to make sure everything is okay. You have to be the one to call it quits because you see your dog is getting overheated or tired, because most dogs will just keep going.

I got my dog specifically for this long walk, and I spent years bonding and training her. I know the difference between Anna spotting prey or predator, between tired or stubborn, between sick and just not hungry.  We have commands and phrases and I know how far Anna will get off leash before she turns around, and where it’s safe for her to go off leash and where I should always keep her on leash. I repeat, know your dog.

Assuming you decide to bring your dog….

Should my dog use a pack?

Some dogs love wearing their pack, some dogs despise it. If you’re dog is happy wearing a pack then that’s great! They can carry a lot of their own gear (food, first aid, toys, poop bags, blanket, etc) which helps lessen your load.

If your dog has never used a pack, ease them into it. Start out with the pooch wearing an empty pack as you go for a few walks. Ease into carrying a few lightweight items then slowly increase the weight to whatever you plan to carry for the full walk (no more than 1/4 of your dog’s body weight).

Does my dog need a sleeping bag?

Not really. This is one of those items you can bring if you want and depends on both the weather you’ll encounter and if your dog would actually enjoy a sleeping bag. As for Anna, she had a sleeping pad with a blanket on top and enjoyed it.

I definitely think you need at least a sleeping pad to insulate your dog from the ground. The ground saps just as much heat from your dog as it would from you if sleeping directly on the ground. I cut a regular sleeping pad in half – perfect size for Anna and added barely any weight to the load.

During my Erie Canal walk all Anna had was a blanket. I’d wake up nearly every morning shoved to the side of the tent with Anna taking up the entire sleeping pad. On my second big walk I brought Anna her own pad along with her blanket and I never woke up shoved off of my own bed.  And Anna never woke up shivering. Everybody wins!

What about food?

Look at the ingredients of the dog food and make sure it’s not a grain or corn based food. Your dog will need the most from their food to keep them healthy and moving throughout your adventure. They will not need corn. Pay a little more for the good stuff, make sure it has real meat and not just by products and filler.

Anna’s food of choice if we can get it is Acana , which is darn hard to find in the middle of nowhere, so we didn’t have it all the time. But I’d always find decent food at grain or farming stores

If you have the money and organization you can always buy a bunch and mail sections out as needed.  Or have someone at home buy it as you go and mail it out.

As A Woman…

I get a lot of questions about being a woman alone on the road – mostly about safety and hygiene.


Ladies, you too can pee in the woods! Seriously, not that big of an issue. Yeah, it’s a little more involved than a dude might deal with but it’s no big thing. And honestly, you will be amazed at how many outhouses, public restrooms and port-a-potties there are out there.

Now the big one – periods.  I super strongly highly recommend getting some sort of birth control that limits your period.  Definitely something to at least look into. Because let me tell you, that is a pain to deal with while on the road.

If you do decide to go au natural and deal with your period each month on the road you have some options. Menstrual cups, pads, tampons, other natural deals. You know what works for you. The important thing is to bring clean water and soap or wipes to keep clean, ziploc bags to hold until you can properly dispose of things, and any medication that works for you.

Edit to add some sound advice on the topic of birth control from my friend Susie:

“If you’re new to [birth control], you might want to give yourself 3 months before you head out to know how they affect you (emotionally and physically). Anyone who’s been on them or switched their brand will tell you that it takes your body some time to get used to them, and you wouldn’t want that to slow you down.”


First, be prepared for men constantly asking if you’re afraid of rape. I am completely serious here. It’s a little unsettling at first but you soon realize that men are kind of oblivious to the fact that women are afraid of rape on a daily basis, not just when one is walking alone across the country. These men don’t mean to be scary, they’re just honestly confused and concerned.

(The rest of these tips could be applied to anyone walking solo, not just the ladies.)

Second, trust your gut. If someone seems off, leave them alone and keep on walking. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from going against your gut in this situation, and there is really no harm in not talking to a person. It could be nothing, it could be everything.

Third, I really recommend letting people know where you are on a pretty regular basis.  I had a smartphone and I kept a mostly-daily updates of, at the very least, where I’d be sleeping that night.  When I camped I’d let people know where I was (so if I ended up screaming in the night or something they’d know it was me and come running….I have a bit of an over active imagination.)

Fourth, you know what to do. Honestly ladies, you know the drill. You’ve got it covered.  A lot of these basic safety tips you’ve been doing unconsciously for years. Don’t walk alone after dark, don’t accept alcohol from strangers along the road, be aware of your surroundings – environment and people, let people know where you are, yet don’t tell strangers your exact destination, be prepared, carry pepper spray.

And lastly, which ties in with the first thing, be prepared for a lot of sexism thrown your way. A large percentage of people I met told me straight to my face that I should go home, that a woman shouldn’t be doing something like this alone, that if I were their daughter/wife/sister/lady they wouldn’t have let me out the door. They told me I’d be raped because “men are crazy” so I shouldn’t take risks. Other cross country walkers told me I should go home and that it was too dangerous.  You’ve just gotta ignore them all and stick with it, because you know it’s all sexist bullshit.

Stick to your guns and trust your gut.


120 thoughts on “So You Want To Walk Across America

  1. Does the $5,000 you spent on your trip include the items you purchased for the trip (supplies and such) or just the amount you spent in the 6 months you were walking?

    Recommending birth control pills for this purpose is a really smart idea. I might throw this in, however — if you’re new to taking them, you might want to give yourself 3 months before you head out to know how they affect you (emotionally and physically). Anyone who’s been on them or switched their brand will tell you that it takes your body some time to get used to them, and you wouldn’t want that to slow you down.

    • Nope, the $5,000 was my budget during the trip. My gear I didn’t add up. I honestly have no idea what I spent on gear, but it wasn’t that much. I had about 90% of it already, and what I did need most of it I bought used. You can find some really great camping gear at yard sales and outlet stores for very low price.

      Excellent advice on the BC issue! I am woefully inexperienced and thus not all that knowledgeable of a lot of the finer points of birth control.

      • This is all very valuable information for myself and many others I’m sure. My question to you is; Could something like this be done with a budget of around $2,000. ? I personally would not be staying at Any hotels, which I presume would keep my expenses down significantly.
        I would be trying to stay within a $20 budget per day (or less) trying to survive off the bare minimum. Would be Going from Ohio to San Diego California. And maybe walk back to Ohio as well (which I understand is pushing my boundaries/budget)

    • Never, never, never get into the car with a stranger! Ride sharing on CL can be just as risky, if not more-so! This isn’t sexism, it’s common sense. I hitchhiked all over the country in the early 70s; and, even then, I was in a few scary situations. I was 5’11” and 180lbs, just out of the Army, had survival training (think Green Beret), self-defense, and “other” training that made me confident in just about any situation. Good luck to you!


      • Sometimes, you got no choice, when I was in the middle of the desert in Utah, I had no water, and someone pulled over and offered a ride, needless to say, I didn’t say no. Although I have short hair and look like a boy, I also know how to use my pocket knife.

    • I’ll tell ya what I did years ago. I went to a truck stop held up my sign that said Atlantic City and within 10 minutes had a ride from a Truck driver! That ride started in Fargo North Dakota on a Friday and I was home(Atlantic City, NJ) on Monday! P.s. I have been a Long Haul Truck Driver for many years now! 🙂

    • On your trip I can’t suggest a budget amount but if you hitch home just be careful because you don’t know what kind of person they are that stops and offer you a ride.

  2. Very interesting story. I’m a man and 49. Been in the military, a war, and well, I did say I’m 49. Still, I wouldn’t do what you did and I’m not afraid of rape. You’re a brave woman. I salute you.

  3. Hello! I want to bring the stroller, but I’m worried about terrain that will make it difficult to push. Did you have trouble with yours?

  4. Anna, I am so inspired by yours and Nate’s story about walking across the United States. I have been throwing around ideas in my head for what kind of traveling I want to pursue for the past couple of months. Walking has crossed my mind several times but always seemed to be pushed away for one reason or another. I now feel empowered to simply take action and for that I thank you.

  5. Dear Anna, I have reason to believe that Social Security will be stopping checks for a lot of us so we can’t pay our rent and be hounded into housing and medical services. (Obamacare) In my case that would be Interferon Treatment for my liver. But, I am as healthy as I can be because I know what to eat and the Treatment is only 3% effective. I am waiting for a new treatment that has come out but is too expensive for the gov right now.
    I will have to travel to get food and I won’t have ANY money. I will have to frequent soup kitchens and try to fly under the radar. I got your advice on camping and I have done some of it myself. I used a camouflage tarp over my sleeping bag. Please e-mail me, I need to talk to you. Arizona and Texas are buying up large amounts of land to build “usable housing” and Fema is stockpiling huge amounts of food. I don’t want to get sucked into that trap.

    • Dear Linda, do you still believe this, because I need to discuss with you the secret things the government is doing today under the so called “President TRUMP”. I need to inform you so that you do not fall into a trap. Because the government is always the same, the establishment and the states have control of everything. Just because TRUMP is controlling what we read doesn’t mean we are free.

  6. HI! very interesting post! So I have been thinking for quite a while that I might want to do a cross country walk. I’d like to walk and maybe vlog for the purpose of raising money for some cause (such as human trafficking or for cancer research.) I was wondering, do you think it would work to walk across America with a companion? My sister and I have always been really close. Before either of us gets married and gets a family and so forth, we want to do some sort of trip together. ( Not that either of us has any prospects at the moment, but time goes by fast).
    Its something we have wanted to do for a long time. Do you think it would be harder to find places to stay? Do you think we would drive each other nuts? For safety reasons I am guessing we would be better off together… Also our parents would freak out a little less if we went together instead of just one of us by ourselves.

  7. Interesting read. I’m planning on going on a cross country walk in the near future, but I don’t have any plans on returning home when I go from point a to point b. so my journey will be much longer and different. There are some things I’d like to add to this, though. First off… If you’re not used to being alone… You might wanna change that. America is an enormous sized country with plenty of wide open spaces. There will be times you’ll be coming across towns, gas stations, and other populated places almost every day. However, you need to keep in mind that it won’t always be that way. Particularly in the western states – aka the desert states – you’ll be crossing some very open, and at times, very hostile terrain. I can tell you for a fact there will be routs that won’t have a town for over 200 miles in states like Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Temperatures in these areas will rise well above 100 degrees in the summer, and you’ll be going through much much more water than you normally would. Travel during dawn and dusk hours. If you have a tent I highly recommend setting it up during the afternoon hours. ALWAYS carry shelter with you. Even if it’s just an umbrella. There are some skills you may want to learn as well. Hunting, skinning, and self defense just to name a few. There may be times when you’re low on food and there isn’t a town for miles. Learning how to skin a deer could prove far more than useful in this kind of situation. One deer could feed you for a long time. I’d recommend carrying a bow rather than a gun. Bows are lighter, don’t require any cleaning, and you’ve got to be pretty damn talented to shoot yourself with an arrow…just saying. A bow is also a deadly weapon for self defense. Nothing says “leave me the hell alone” like shooting an arrow past someone’s face. Also, in towns, keep track of the time if it has restaurants. Donut shops throw out all the donuts they didn’t sell the past day, and would probably stock you up on a weeks worth of food, and the same goes for places like Pizza Hut as well. I’d also recommend taking books with you. You’ll need some entertainment for days you won’t be able to progress due to bad I weather or other pesky shenanigans Mother Nature will throw your way. Good luck out there!

    • Same I’m also going on a walk that won’t really end xD but unlike most walks I decided that I won’t use any money unless I male it along the way. I’m starting off with only $200 and slowly do small jobs along the way to earn more. I will hunt but only small game with snares untile I make a bow, (arrow tips I’ll buy since they work much better for hunting) I’ll be going from Lathrop CA, to other countrys. I’m doing this so that I will know what kind of path I want in life, since I’m not really so well adjusted to city life. The only thing I need more experience in is my experience with is truly fishing. While I don’t know about the thing woman go thru I can tell you that most the time people are very friendly, and to avoid city’s because its much easier to get turned around, plus people are not as generally nice.

  8. For the stoller/cart I was wondering how sturdy it was and what would have made it better. I’m planning on doing most of my walk on trails not on roads and wanted to know how reliable a stroller would be.

  9. I interested in the plusses and minuses about strollers as well – I see your friend, Nate, recommends them… especially for lugging water through the desert. I am planning on a walk across the country as well. I’ve backpacked a fair bit and also lived in a one room cabin for 3 years on a farm – very simple lifestyle.

    • Kelly.
      Its ann. I left the relationship i was in last time we spoke (it was TOXIC) anyway trying to get in touch again I leave in march for my trip but lost your info.

      As far as anyone else hello and who is walking when? I start my adventure in march

      • Hey, I’m in the early stages of planning a walk (maybe starting in March or April 2016). Sounds like you have everything organized and ready to go, so we are probably not quite on the same level, but just curious, where is your starting and stopping point?

  10. I’ve been researching the American Discovery Trail recently as that’s the one I am considering following. However, I’m still unsure as to how it is; does it ever cross through towns for easy access to gas stations, grocery stores, or rest stops…or is it completely secluded in the wilderness?

    • Yes. It follows a route that often takes you through smallish towns with the occasional developed city landscape. I’m probably leaving from the Metro DC area very soon after a long health struggle. Any other questions Emily, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

  11. I am 66 yo female planning to retire next year and would like to fulfill my dream of walking across my home state Texas. Where can I get a good map for my journey?

    • I’m 67 and thinking of the same thing. Can you tell me if you are in really good shape or just going to go. I’ve wanted to do this since I was very young. I am over weight but i work in physical jobs. I don’t run marathons or anything. Could you tell me if you are far more prepared?

  12. Had the idea to walk cross country (mass to California )raise money and awareness for ALS. Was going to contact some corporations to get sponsers for the trip. New Balance or even Google (with their maps). What are your thoughts.

  13. I LOVE YOU!! Thanks to the wisdom you so freely shared I finally have the courage to move forward on my very own adventure 🙂 jah bless

  14. hey i see a few of you are planning a trip in the upcoming year? anyone traveling through the south? I’m in georgia and planning to head out west

    • Hey Mike, I’m in the very early stages of thinking about a cross country walk beginning in either March or April of 2016. I’d like to do a more southern route, though mine would start in the west and end in the east. Anyway, I thought I’d still reach out and say hello. I’ve been trying to find folks who would be interested in walking together part or all of the way, but it would also just be great to bounce ideas off other people planning a walk, even if we don’t walk together. Let me know if you’d like to chat further.

  15. I have enjoyed reading these comments. I have often said I would love to walk cross country every since I watched “Forrest Gump”. You are an inspiration and it would be nice to find a couple of people who would like to meet, talk and walk together.

    • I was thinking of leaving in October and walking it to Yellowstone with my dachshund. My son’s gf said she was joining me but that is still up in the air. Are you going to go for a walking tour? If so when?

  16. I am male and I am preparing to leave tomorrow with my dog to walk from Arkansas to California. Buddy (my dog) is 4 months old almost but he weighs between 30-60 pounds. He is great peranies. Is there any advise that u can offer to what I should and shouldn’t do or areas to avoid with him still being a puppy?

  17. I have done my own trips similar to yours I have stopped in orange county California for the past couple of years but I am now planning on doing a trip to every major city video documenting the culture of the city exploring every part of each city’s social spectrum and checking out the landmarks as well I would enjoy having a conversation with you and maybe have a penpal for the duration of my journey

  18. Me and my son are thinking about doing this. We live in upstate Ny and I want to go to Cali. Now it’s time to save money. Thank you for writing this!

  19. I loved how I was pulled in by helpful advice that I didn’t see show to your very beautifully articulated view point from a woman doing something more badass then I feel I’ve done. Was that a horrible run-on sentence? Lol. Still honest. Any idea of any simplistic way to work and do some labor of sort to fund a trip. No nothing of an immoral or illegal way. Farm work, animal help, yard work are a couple I’ve thought tonight. Thanks for the read before a journey:)

  20. Thanks for the tips. Im 45 and my 27 year old son are getting ready for a hike across America. So we are gathering information. 🙂

  21. This is a dream of mine. The only problem is that I’m employed and have a mortgage. There is no way that I can step away (pun intended) for 6 months. I have to wait until I retire.

  22. First, thank you very much for posting this information. I’m thinking about walking across the country, staying mostly on the ADT, and I found this to be a great overview. Regarding the ADT, were you always able to find a place to set up a tent? Did you find yourself alone most nights, or were you able to find areas with other campers/hikers? How often did you shower during the 6 months? How difficult was it to find food/water on the ADT itself? Sorry for all these questions.

    • Hi Daniel,

      I saw your post and it included all the great questions. I wanted to find out about hotels along the way, I know it is an expense but hygiene is also important. Please let me know if your questions get answered and possibly share them with me.?



    • Hello,

      Good luck on your journey across country. You didn’t really mention to much about your plan such as camp grounds, stealth camping, hotels etc. like to hear about your progress?


  23. I am 17 and im going to walk across america Georgia to California, Please tell me some things im going to need and whats the least $ i could spend. I love adventures and i am experienced in this sort of thing but i have never went so far and stayed away so long. i want to leave as soon as i can i would leave now if i had everything. Please email me at

  24. Hi There,

    I was communicating with you several months ago. I am the retired 63 year old retired police detective. I had several questions at that time to ask you but I think when I provided a donation to PayPal you might have thought I was a stalker or something. I assure you I am not.
    I would like to ask another question? Lewes Delaware is a secluded little city, where or how did you get there with all your gear or what city did you fly into?

    A suggestion that might be a first is if you could allow others searching for someone who may also to be interested in the walk but may not want to go alone could make contact? It was just a thought as there is no other website, blog or internet source that offer this.

    Thanks for providing all the great advice to all of us.

    Hope to hear back. 🙂

    Warmest Regards,


      • Hello Pat,

        If you are referring your walk in October towards me, I’m unfortunately I am not available until Spring of 2017. My walk will be from east to west.

        Please post your progress and if it is everything you had hoped it would be?


  25. Thank you for putting this out – it was really informative

    I’m thinking of doing the same thing next year with my Labrador retriever, who I trained to run out in front of my horse and remove such things as bunnies and deer that make horses go ‘boom’ on the train. I do NOT plan to bring the horse on the trail.

    I wanted to know what – if any – opinion you had on pemmican. Also, how much were you feeding your dog, and what breed is she?

  26. Hi Pat I really like all the advice you gave above, I am looking to walk west to east and back starting in January sometime. Obviously I’ll be starting with a southern route, if you went that way can you suggest any particular route to take?


    • Did you start your journey yet? I’m looking to walk from LA to DC then to NY, and would be nice if someone comes. I ready to leave April 22, 2017
      I’m a 37 year old male from Washington State.
      I’m concerned about distances with no food and water, especially in California, arizona and Colorado. Does anyone have advice on how much water amd food to carry?
      My email darrenmeyers2010@ g ma I’ll. C om

  27. This is definitely on my bucket list. This article was extremely helpful and informative. I would have one recommendation:

    Be very careful about social media posts in regard to your location. The majority of rapes and other violent crimes are usually committed by someone who somewhat knows you. That said, she hit the nail on the head with regards to letting someone know where you intend to stay. That way, if you do not report in within a 24-hour period, that person could send help your way. However, I would pick two people who you 100% trust and check in with them during your trek. Avoid “checking in” or sharing your whereabouts on a public page or a social media network. As a perpetrator, I would be waiting for an opportunity to come “rape” you or commit another violent act against you. By announcing the fact that you are all alone and informing me of exactly where you are located, you could not have given me a more perfect opportunity.

  28. I am retired and I’m tired of everything I want to see our country and I want to do it solely on foot what do I need to do what was your ambition to get you started and was it beautiful?

    • Did you start your journey yet? I’m looking to walk from LA to DC then to NY, and would be nice if someone comes. I ready to leave April 22, 2017
      I’m a 37 year old male from Washington State.
      I’m concerned about distances with no food and water, especially in California, arizona and Colorado. Does anyone have advice on how much water amd food to carry?
      My email darrenmeyers2010@ g ma I’ll. C om

  29. Thank you for sharing. By the way, the link for your friend Nate’s adventure redirects me to various different links and sites and never brings me to the page on his walk. Might want to look into this and edit/fix. thanks again!

  30. Hi! So I really want to do a cross country hike. Im a female and I would want to bring my German Shepard with me. Also, how did you keep your phone charged during it? I would assume you could go into fast food restaurants and charge it some or one of the portable ones but they go dead also. Also, what is your opinion on traveling the country on horseback? That would be my ultimate dream. Thanks!

    • Did you start your journey yet? I’m looking to walk from LA to DC then to NY, and would be nice if someone comes. I ready to leave April 22, 2017
      I’m a 37 year old male from Washington State.
      I’m concerned about distances with no food and water, especially in California, arizona and Colorado. Does anyone have advice on how much water and food to carry?
      I’ve got a solar panel for phone and fitnesstracker.
      My email darrenmeyers2010@ g ma I’ll. C om

  31. Amazing post… really helped me gain some insight & inspiration for my own journey i hope to make in the near future thankyou 😁

  32. Good for you! Your walk is a pinnacle testament to your stamina and persistence of having and finishing a grand vision. What’s next? Mars?

  33. Could you tell me where you started and where you ended up at also when did you start and when did you end and what was your age when you did that

  34. What are your thoughts about doing this as a curiosity to the generosity of people. Like very limited budget, ect. Social experiment of sorts.

  35. Hey anyone starting a walk soon? I want someone that we can start out with barely nothing and just survive the best way we can! Don’t care if your male or female! I’m a guy and I’m doing this for plenty of reasons. You can contact me at

    • Hello Erik,

      Excited to hear about your walk. I was supposed start a walk from Lewis De. To Los Angeles starting in September but I tore my meniscus and will require surgery. I would really like to follow your progress as I will be starting my walk in February and would appreciate the pros and cons. Btw Erik what’s your age if you don’t mind me asking? Feel free to call if you ever get bored..

      Best of luck to you!!


  36. I’ve been interested in walking for several years… The only nerve I can’t overcome is how to handle situations where authorities stop and ask questions. How do you explain you’re not trouble and not homeless?

    Would desperately like to know from those who have walked.

  37. How does a person get sponsors to raise money and awareness for a cause? How does that work, really? Any thoughts greatly appreciated! I’d like to walk to raise money for a friend who is starting a credit union in a disenfranchised neighborhood in Milwaukee. Thanks!

  38. Hello I’m Jason , I just read your post it is January 19th 2018. I am from Charlotte, NC I am planning on being another to Walk Across America with no certain destination . I had always had a survival some kind of mission on my bucket list.. we more to my motivation on this is I lost both my parents in not even a year apart my Dad in September 2016 , then my mother in July 22nd 2017 as well as all my grandparents so all I have is just myself. Before that happened I had a decent job I loved , my car broke down so went my job . So now I decided no job , no car I have traveled in cars , and buses to other states , so now I am in March will be walking across country . What I am planning to do along the way to keep busy is help clear up litter , offer various of volunteer work for many causes such as disaster clean ups , and travel the country . I read your post and you are very inspirational as I hope I will be to others and my other goal is help trt bring people together and eliminate the hate with one person at a time or groups of folks. So anyone who reads this I do apologize for first hand if you have trouble reading my grammar I am 40 years old with only 10th grade education other stuff is straight from the streets . So if any of ya see me want company on the way , I am willing to meet others along the way . I am a very cool person , I have some small game hunt and a lot of fishing experience so that would be fun to find a fishing partner. I am smoke friendly as well . that is one of my other goals is to walk to the legal States that would be what I call a victory lane .

  39. The only thing that’s stopping me from doing this is money. I won’t be making any while I’m gone and the bills won’t get paid. I’m 26 years old and don’t make a lot of money but i need to do this. I need to spread my good vibes all around the country.

    • You can make money along the doing all kinds of stuff, and people will help you out too. I walked from Chicago to L.A. with no money with no problems. Bills got paid and I ate and slept just fine. Took me six months. If you wanna go, just go, and trust the divine to take care of you. That’s what I did. Gratitude is the key.

    • My name is John Carr and I am as well 26 and looking to travel for years. I also have money problems haha maybe we can meet up on the great trail one day. I am looking to sharing my first travels with a buddy.

  40. Hey, there! Loved your article and thought it was really well written! I just have one question and it might be a little stupid, lol, but by yard camping, did you mean asking people if you could camp out in their yard? Sorry, I’m just making sure I understand what you meant. And by the way, you’re absolutely right about people being sexist. You shouldn’t be stopped from doing something you love simply because you’re a woman.

  41. Hello, I have started my planing on my trip. How and where do I find interconnected trail system maps so I can stay off the roads ……my oreo is loving this

  42. Is there any group that walk from one state to another?? I meant NOT walk from east coast to west coast, i am a foreigner here in america, i dont know anyone or a group that i can join as acl club or organisation.. can anyone provide me a link? My email is I would appreciates it a lot

  43. To all of you cross country walkers – reading your comments is inspiring! Someday I hope to do this as well, but in the meantime if there is any way I can assist when or if you get out west, let me know. I live in northern California, in the foothills between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. I have been a PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) trail angel the last few years, helping hikers coming through this area. I will be retiring in a couple of months and I would be happy to help in any way I can when you get to this area. Driving east deep into Nevada is not an issue. Good luck and take care.

  44. It’s very nice to know that I’m not the only person who wants to do a walk from Coast to Coast and that others HAVE done it before and it IS possible. Most people think I’m nuts when I mention wanting to do this. The only thing holding me back is that I’d need funding. I know I’d end up losing my job and that’s not a real loss because I hate it. But just the same, I need to keep my apartment and be able to pay for the care that my pets would need while I was gone. I want to do it for Depression and Anxiety awareness and if I could raise money for that, all the better.

    Anyone have any tips?

  45. If you are really interest in a cross country walk, I highly recommend that you use a cart. Please look at the ones offered through Runabout out of Oregon. Flat free resin tires. I have two friends who used these carts. and also look at the walk on FB of Robert Schoen who finished today walking from Dana Point, CA. to Rehobeth Beach, MD.

  46. Loved your post, and information…im planning on hiking from Pennsylvania to San Diego in Aug 2019. for the 14th quartermaster Memorial Fund,( Desert Storm Scud Attack Memorial) Disable vet here, lost a few friends there and want to give back…this is my way of doing that…

  47. I’ve been thinking about walking across the country since my 20s, when the author of the book by the same name visited my college in Michigan. I think I’ve postponed it for so many years because I didn’t want my parents, who were alive at the time, to be overly worried. They’ve been gone for nearly 10 years now, so . . .

  48. This is a great little article, I’m 14 years old and I’m reading the book into the Wild, I’ve been camping my entire life and in Boy Scouts so I have a decent knowledge of safety and plan to grow that, a lot. I was researching a walk that is about 4200 miles, from Chattanooga Tennessee to Fairbanks Alaska, quite different from your trek. I plan to do this on a Gap Year after high school. I do have a few questions, should I bring a gun? Also I know that interstate walking is illegal but did you do it, or did you stick to back roads and highways? Also no hotels, and I have all my camping gear and get new stuff every 2 years, so could my budget go down to like 4000 ish? Thanks!!

    • Don’t follow McCandless kid. He was ill prepared and naive. He tried to conquer the bush with a .22lr, that should say it all.

  49. Hi, names Phil. I’m planning on a cross country trip next spring 2018. Thinking late March. I live now in MD, Baltimore. I thinking on flying to San Diego, and starting there, head home to MD. Also, to give me extra purpose then just enjoying sceneries and meeting people, enjoying local customs, I’m walking in support of Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I chose. Departure from San Diego, as to walk with the various weather of the season. Figure leave SD, I’ll be through the desert areas before highest temperatures, and snow should not be a problem, leaving at this time,. Thinking I’ll spend best part of 6 months. I presently work in work in trucking, hand load unload average ton or so each day. I hope to rise funds for St Jude’s, through interviews, and public donations. I’ve raised $1284, through supporters so far to supplement expenses. Thinking cost will be safely $7500.?
    I am 67. Retired vet. Super condition, walk now several miles each day for past 6 years. Health is superb. Have you any suggestion. Do you think Using Southern trail, avoiding alot of my trails, possible snow, I an making a good choice as far as route or should I use ADT.
    However, the southern expanse is more than 1000 miles shorter. Appreciate you thought.Thanks Phi

  50. Hey so I’m a little young but I’m tryna prepare for this amazing adventure what should I do when I get there and if I run out of money or something like that

  51. The Zoe Loren Foundation has been hosting an annual 5K Race fundraiser to provide scholarships to local students for the past 8 years. We also support enrichment programs for at-risk children in the Palm Beach county. If participating in a 5K is on your to-do list this year, check out our 5K, happening on November 10 at Carlin Park, Jupiter FL. Visit to sign up and learn more.

  52. I want to walk across the country on highway 20…no cell phones…no rides….nothing but my best clothes and a pair of pool cues…

    ….Ideally I’d bring only what I could wear or fit into my pool cue base (a bit of room for a bivvy sack etc….

    trying to figure out if I will for sure die trying to do this…
    email me if you have thoughts!

  53. This is a pretty good article, I think the $5000 mark is way out there though. That’s Incredibly way too much money. If you’re planning on staying in hotels or any kind of accommodation other than campgrounds or your tent, you’re really defeating the whole purpose of walking across America. If you want to stay in a nice comfy bed every night then you should just stay home. You won’t get the same experience walking across America by staying in a hotel every night. Think about the Pioneers who walked across America before the invention of vehicles. Yes they may have had carts and horses, but they had to sleep out side under the stars almost every night. That’s the true way to get in touch with yourself, and in touch with nature. Realistically, if you have all the gear that you need to keep yourself warm during the winter, dry in the rain, or cool in the heat, you can probably get away with doing this trip with next to no money at all. A budget of $10 a day or even less, could get you through the entire trip. that’s just my opinion.

    • says the guy who never walked across America. I don’t believe they stayed in hotels mostly anyway.

      i would think that the purpose of ‘walking across america’…is just that
      and they did it…which is pretty cool

      its something i want to do…and if i go….and can afford to stay in a room once in awhile…get cleaned up…get a nice bed….then i’d have no problem doing that

    • $5000 is less than $30/day for a trip that took 180 days. This includes food, replacement shoes, somewhere to shower occasionally, maybe laundromats, campsites, and anything you might just want to buy or do while crossing the country in 9 months. That’s not so remarkable.

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