The standard 10 and 11-day TMB self-guided itinerary you’ll commonly see online is not suitable for many hikers, especially those that are young, fit and/or experienced. Everyone moves at different speeds and have time constraints or preferences that should be considered when finalising your hiking plan. When I was planning a TMB fastpacking trip for the first time, many hours were invested in gathering and analysing trail information from different sources to build a 4 day itinerary. I struggled to find enough information online that let me develop a plan I was confident with. Fellow TMB hikers have also shared stories about endless online searches for itineraries from previous hikers which best align to their requirements. I think this is back to front. Given the itinerary is the cornerstone of a great multi-day hiking trip, it should be designed for the hiker rather than trying to fit into another hikers plan. After all, you wouldn’t squeeze into another hikers shoes if they weren’t your size…actually…you probably wouldn’t do this period!
Over the past two years, I've recorded 1,000s of GPS coordinates and trail details on points of interest for the entire TMB journey, including 13 alternate routes. This information has been used to create a database of up-to-date information that breaks the trail into over 130 subsections containing the distance, elevation change, estimated hiking time, accommodation locations and other facilities (such as water re-fill, toilets) for each segment.
I’ve worked with more than 70 multi-day hikers to determine the most popular, unique and comprehensive itineraries. Based on this, I’ve developed an itinerary builder that combines a hikers itinerary preferences with the latest up-to-date trail information to create personalized hiking itineraries. These itineraries are broken into 3 distinct sections:
1. OVERALL SUMMARY
This section providing a high-level overview of your specific itinerary:
Hiking preferences used to create the itinerary (such as accommodation, # of available days, hiking speed)
Key hiking and trail statistics to determine overall achievability of the journey (such as elevation change, estimated time)
A breakdown of daily hiking and trail statistics to ensure each is achievable
Highlight where water re-fill, bathrooms, food and shortcut options are available each day
An elevation profile with finish locations listed to help hikers visualise which days will be the most challenging and easiest
2. MAP & HIghlights Summary
This section allows hikers to visualise their specific journey:
A high-level map of the area with their unique route highlighted
Points marked on the map which correspond to the subsections that the trail been broken into
Finish locations for each day to visually show how far each day is relative to the others
Provides commentary on the itinerary with some tips and highlights to prepare for
3. DAILY BREAKDOWNS
This section allows hikers to prepare for each day on the trail:
A daily breakdown (I’ve broken the trail into over 130 subsections to highlight key places of interest) with the key hiking and trail statistics
Highlight which sections have water re-fill points, toilets, food options (restaurants and supermarkets) and shortcuts for hikers to plan their day. Details on location (and schedule, cost for shortcuts) are in the mobile map.
An elevation profile of the day to help hikers visualise where the challenging climbs and cruisy descents are located
A trail description on each subsection to help hikers visualise what that section of trail is like and any key points. These are not meant for navigation - that’s what the GPS trail markers in the mobile map are for.
Please note: don’t let the 6-day Elite itinerary below scare you from hiking this trail…95%+ of hikers will complete the TMB between 8-11 days! Other itineraries that may be more suitable for your trip can be found here.