The Lakes-to-Ocean Trail is a system of pathways connecting Chicago, IL to Charleston, SC and the Outer Banks of NC. This trail system uses bicycle greenways (Rails-to-Trails), public roads (mostly back roads to avoid busy highways) and existing trails. The LOT has one beginning point and two ending points. It is a pick your own path style of trail that is designed to allow the hiker to experience the country how they want to. It goes through major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Frankfort, Lexington, Knoxville, and Columbia. It will show you those as well as some smaller towns, farm lands, deep trench gorges with caves, natural arches, waterfalls, streams, creeks and lakes to the highest mountains on the east coast into the piedmonts and swamps. The beach is the end of an alternate route if you choose to go that way. Total amount of miles for the LOT is about 3,000 miles all together including the alternate routes. It is a LOT of hiking, a LOT of trail and a LOT of fun.
Below is a brief overview of the trails being used. Individual pages will give more detail on each section. Beginning from North to South:
*1* The Hoosier Trail of Indiana (new deisgn with Manual still to be written that should be out for mid 2014). This is 420 miles from Chicago to Louisville, KY.
*2* The Kentucky Connection (a road system to cross Kentucky from Louisville to the Daniel Boone National Forest). About 175 miles.
*3* The Sheltowee Trace (a wildeness trail that runs from north eastern Kentucky into Northern Tennessee through the Daniel Boone National Forest) 300 miles
*4* The Tennessee Connector (another road and trail system across TN to the Bartram Trail using a portion of the Appalachian Trail)
*5* The Bartram Trail (a wilderness trail through North Carolina, Georgia and into South Carolina)
*6* The Palmetto Trail (a mix of wilderness and roads to cross SC from the mountains to the Atlantic Ocean). 472 miles
*7* The Foothills Trail (a wilderness alternative to the beginning of the Palmetto Trail's road walk to Table Rock State Park). 78 miles
*8* The Mountains-to-Sea Trail ( an alternate route to reach the ocean at the Outer Banks and is a mix of wilderness, greenways, roads and beach). 1,000 miles
The official route is legs 1-6. Alternative legs are 7-8. I will be calling these "legs" because each leg will be divided into sections that will be within reasonable distances for good resupply points. The Manuals that are available now are the Palmetto Trail, Sheltowee Trace and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. I will be writting the Manuals for the rest of them as fast as I can to try and have them ready for mid 2014. Each time I finish a new Manual I will be letting everybody know on Facebook and on here. Look me up on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/#!/scot.ward.10). Send me a friend request to follow along with the progress and read some of the stories of my adventure while I hiked the route from June 9, 2012 to November 22, 2013.
I will be adding more pictures of the LOT soon. Here are some of Chicago to start.