Folks interested in hiking the GET often have a lot of questions. Brett’s site has ample information, but sometimes folks want to learn specifics about another hiker’s experience. For that reason, we posted a survey for GET hikers to complete. Most of the responses we received were from folks who hiked the trail in the spring. This is understandable as we put up our survey just after the spring hiking season was wrapping up. However, if there are some “fall hikers” who would like to add their thoughts to the survey, please let us know.
So, below you will find what what we learned from the folks who took our survey. We hope this information is helpful to the future GET hikers. Keep in mind that this data is based on the hikers who voluntarily completed our survey. We had 14 Grand Enchantment Trail hikers complete the survey (many thanks to those of you who took the time to share your knowledge!).
- 50% started in March
- 36% started in April
- 14% started in September
93% of hikers were happy with their Start Date.
- 7% finished in April
- 79% finished in May
- 7% finished in September
- 7% finished in November
71% of folks who completed the survey thru-hiked the trail (as opposed to 29% who section-hiked).
64% of hikers started the Grand Enchantment Trail by themselves.
For 14% of the hikers, the GET was their first long-distance hike.
93% of the folks who completed the survey hiked the trail Eastbound (from Phoenix to Albuquerque)
Experience Level of Hikers (on a scale of 1 to 5):
- 64% of hikers rated themselves as 5
- 36% of hikers rated themselves as 4
- 0% of hikers rated themselves as 3, 2 OR 1
All of the hikers who participated in the survey rated their Grand Enchantment Trail experience as either a 4 or 5 out of 5.
71% of hikers purchased the paper maps for the trail, and 83% of those hikers used the maps A LOT.
93% of hikers used a GPS app for the GET. Those included: GAIA (most common), Backcountry Navigator, Garmin, GpX Viewer Pro, and Earthmate.
Online resources which hikers found helpful:
- Simblisity GET Website
- Grand Enchantment Trail Facebook Page (86% of hikers joined the FB Group)
- Hiker Journals (Buck30 was cited several times)
Hikers reported that their training consisted of the usual physical prep…day hikes, cycling, jogging, skiing. 79% felt that their training had been adequate.
- 21% of hikers sent all their resupply boxes
- 7% of hikers only bought their food in trail towns along the way
- 72% of hikers did a combination of the two
Favorite parts of the trail: This one was all over the map…Rio Grande area, Magdalena Mountains, Potato Canyon, Santa Theresas, Gila Forest, and Diamond Creek
Hardest parts of the trail: Again, this was all over the map…Climbing up Sandia Mountain, The Mogollons, Painted Bluff, Potato Canyon, San Mateos, East of Winston.
Solo Hiker Experience:
- 0% were hiking/camping with others EVERYDAY
- 7% were hiking/camping with others REGULARLY
- 36% were hiking/camping with others SOMETIMES
- 36% were hiking/camping with others RARELY
- 21% were hiking/camping with others NEVER
Number of GET hikers met during the hike:
- 31% met 1-2 other GET hikers
- 39% met 3-4 other GET hikers
- 15% met 5-6 other GET hikers
- 15% met more than 6 other GET hikers
Favorite trail town:
- 21% Mountainair
- 21% Magdalena
- 21% Gila Hot Springs
- The rest was a mix of Safford, Kearney and Chloride
Best trail town for a Zero Day:
- 29% Safford
- 21% Gila Hot Springs
- The rest were an even mix of Magdalena, Mountainair and Kearney
- 29% of hikers NEVER had their hiking schedule affected by weather
- 36% of hikers RARELY had their hiking schedule affected by weather
- 29% of hikers SOMETIMES had their hiking schedule affected by weather
- 7% of hikers OFTEN had their hiking schedule affected by weather
86% of hikers experienced NO injuries on the trail. For the 14% of hikers who did experience an injury, 50% of them needed only 1-2 days of rest before resuming their hike.
43% of hikers found the trail PHYSICALLY harder than they had expected and 57% found the difficulty level to be as they had expected.
50% of hikers found the trail NAVIGATIONALLY harder than they had expected and 43% found the difficulty level to be as they had expected.
WHAT’S IN YOUR PACK?
Most base weights for hikers were between 8 and 13 pounds.
Sleeping Bag/Quilt Temperature Rating:
- 64% 20 Degree Sleeping Bag/Quilt
- 14% 30 Degree Sleeping Bag/Quilt
- 14% 15 Degree Sleeping Bag/Quilt
- 7% 10 Degree Sleeping Bag/Quilt
93% of hikers found the temperature rating of their sleeping bag sufficient for their hike.
- 14% 2-4 Liters
- 43% 4-6 Liters
- 36% 6-8 Liters
- 7% more than 8 Liters
- 57% of hikers wore shorts/skirt/kilt
- 43% of hikers wore pants
57% of hikers would recommend wearing pants to future GET hikers
WORDS OF WISDOM
71% of hikers would like the Grand Enchantment Trail again and 21% said maybe.
Recommendations for future GET hikers from survey participants:
“Be sure to check that your GPS can handle the track file you choose to use. Plan for slower days and overgrown trails.”
“Bring a GPS! Expect scars. Use the resources prepared by Brett, they are generally very accurate and useful.”
“Have alternate trail routes prepared. Plan for dry water sources even if it means carrying more water.”
“I feel that for any hiker with decent background, decent GPS skills, and the willingness to take it slow in some sections that this hike is very doable. The information that Blisterfree provides is great, and covers everything you really need.”
“An umbrella, long pants, sleeves for brushiness, SPOT or Inreach just in case.”
“Guidebook and context knowledge really enhance the experience!”
“The GET is challenging. Get physically prepared, and knock down your base weight. Learn to use GAIA – just pay for it and enjoy it. If wearing shorts or skirt, wear compression sleeves. Start the hike very hydrated. Start mid-March if possible.”
Questions or thoughts on this article? Please leave them below: