My Appalachian Rail Thru-Ride: Photo Slideshow and Itinerary

June 27, 2017

  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail
  • Appalachian Rail

It takes about 6 hours to travel from Washington, D.C., to Boston on an Amtrak Acela Express train. In August 2016, I traveled the same distance, but in lieu of fast-tracking my travel plans, I broke up my time on the rails into a 6-night, 7-day odyssey. I spent every night except the last tent camping, and I filled my days exploring the sights and sounds of the East Coast’s cities, towns, and public green spaces, including New York’s Harriman State Park and Massachusetts’ Blue Hills Reservation.

Every travel adventure takes planning and a little bit of luck to devise; and this trip, with 36 legs in total, was no exception. I grew weary reviewing my trip itinerary the night before I embarked. How was I ever going to pull this off?, I thought. There was no use backing out now. I had to trust my planning and take each leg of the trip as an adventure in itself if I was going to make it to Boston. It was time to start my Appalachian rail journey.

Day 1

Leg 1:
Depart From:
Harpers Ferry Station, Harpers Ferry, WV
To: Rockville Amtrak Station, Rockville, MD
Transportation: Amtrak Capitol Limited

Leg 2:
Depart From:
Rockville Amtrak Station, Rockville, MD
To: Robert C. McDonell Campground, Rockville, MD
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 4.1 miles

Travel Notes: Camping at Robert C. McDonell Campground is for Montgomery County, Maryland, residents only.

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Day 2

Leg 3:
Depart From:
Robert C. McDonell Campground, Rockville, MD
To: Grosvernor-Strathmore Metro Station, North Bethesda, MD
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 3.4 miles

Leg 4:
Depart From:
Grosvernor-Strathmore Metro Station, North Bethesda, MD
To: Metro Center Station, Washington, D.C.
Transportation: Metro Red Line

Leg 5:
Depart From:
Metro Center Station, Washington, D.C.
To: Silver Spring Station, Silver Spring, MD
Transportation: Metro Red Line

Leg 6:
Depart From:
Silver Spring Station, Silver Spring, MD
To: Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
Transportation: Metro Bus

Leg 7:
Depart From:
Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
To: Silver Spring Station, Silver Spring, MD
Transportation: Metrobus

Leg 8:
Depart From:
Silver Spring Station, Silver Spring, MD
To: Fort Totten Station, Washington, D.C.
Transportation: Metro Red Line

Leg 9:
Depart From:
Fort Totten Station, Washington, D.C.
To: College Park-U of MD Station, College Park, MD
Transportation: Metro Green Line

Leg 10:
Depart From:
College Park-U of MD Station, College Park, MD
To: Cherry Hill Park Campground Bus Depot, College Park, MD
Transportation: Metrobus 83

Leg 11:
Depart From:
Cherry Hill Park Campground Bus Depot, College Park, MD
To: Cherry Hill Park Campground Tentsite
Transportation: Golf cart

Travel Notes: Cherry Hill Park Campground is open year round and is the closest campground to Washington, D.C.

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Day 3

Leg 12:
Depart From:
Cherry Hill Park Campground Bus Depot, College Park, MD
To: College Park-U of MD Station, College Park, MD
Transportation: Metrobus 83

Leg 13:
Depart From:
College Park-U of MD Station, College Park, MD
To: Gallery Place Station, Washington, D.C.
Transportation: Metro Green Line

Leg 14:
Depart From:
Union Station, Washington, D.C.
To: 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA
Transportation: Amtrak Northeast Regional 176

Leg 15:
Depart From:
30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA
To: Market Street at 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Transportation: Philadelphia SEPTA Market-Frankford Line

Leg 16:
Depart From:
Market Street at 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA
To: Kings Highway/Cohawkin Road Bus Stop, Clarksboro, NJ
Transportation: New Jersey Transit Bus 401

Leg 17:
Depart From:
Kings Highway/Cohawkin Road Bus Stop, Clarksboro, NJ
To: Timberlane Campground, Clarksboro, NJ
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 1.2 miles

Travel Notes: Timberlane Campground is open year round and is the closest campground to Philadelphia.

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Day 4

Leg 18:
Depart From:
Timberlane Campground, Clarksboro, NJ
To: Kings Highway/Cohawkin Road Bus Stop, Clarksboro, NJ
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 1.2 miles

Leg 19:
Depart From:
Kings Highway/Cohawkin Road Bus Stop, Clarksboro, NJ
To: Market Street at 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Transportation: New Jersey Transit Bus 401

Leg 20:
Depart From:
Market Street at 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA
To: 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA
Transportation: Philadelphia SEPTA Market-Frankford Line

Leg 21:
Depart From:
30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA
To: Pennsylvania Station, New York City
Transportation: Amtrak Northeast Regional 174

Leg 22:
Depart From:
Pennsylvania Station, New York City
To: Secaucus Junction, Secaucus, NJ
Transportation: New Jersey Transit Metro Train

Leg 23:
Depart From:
Secaucus Junction, Secaucus, NJ
To: Tuxedo Station, Tuxedo, NY
Transportation: New Jersey Transit Metro Train–Port Jervis Line

Leg 24:
Depart From:
Tuxedo Station, Tuxedo, NY
To: Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center, Harriman, NY
Transportation: AMC Shuttle

Travel Notes: The shuttle from Tuxedo Station to The Stephen and Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center must be reserved prior to arrival. Harriman is open from mid-May to mid-October. Cabins, lean-tos, and tentsites are available for rent.

****************

Day 5

Leg 25:
Depart From: Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center, Harriman, NY
To: Tuxedo Station, Tuxedo, NY
Transportation: AMC Shuttle

Leg 26:
Depart From:
Tuxedo Station, Tuxedo, NY
To: Pennsylvania Station, New York City
Transportation: New Jersey Transit Metro Train–Port Jervis Line

Leg 27:
Depart From:
Pennsylvania Station, New York City
To: Grand Central Station, New York City
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 1.1 miles

Leg 28:
Depart From:
Grand Central Station, New York City
To: Union Station, New Haven, CT
Transportation: Metro-North Railroad

Leg 29:
Depart From:
Union Station, New Haven, CT
To: Madison Station, Madison, CT
Transportation: Shore Line East Railroad

Leg 30:
Depart From:
Madison Station, Madison, CT
To: Hammonasset Beach Campground, Madison, CT
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 3.5 miles

Travel Notes: Hammonasset Beach Campground, Connecticut’s largest campground, is open from mid-May to mid-October.

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Day 6

Leg 31:
Depart From:
Hammonasset Beach Campground, Madison, CT
To: Madison Station, Madison, CT
Transportation: Foot
Distance: 3.5 miles

Leg 32:
Depart From:
Madison Station, Madison, CT
To: Old Saybrook Station, Old Saybrook, CT
Transportation: Shore Line East Railroad

Leg 33:
Depart From:
Old Saybrook Station, Old Saybrook, CT
To: Route 128 Station, Westwood, MA
Transportation: Amtrak Northeast Regional 172

Leg 34:
Depart From:
Route 128 Station, Westwood, MA
To: AMC Ponkapoag Camp, Randolph, MA
Transportation: Uber

Travel Notes: AMC’s Ponkapoag Camp is open year round. Cabins and tentsites are available for rent.

****************

Day 7

Leg 35:
Depart From:
AMC Ponkapoag Camp, Randolph, MA
To: Route 128 Station, Westwood, MA
Transportation: Uber

Leg 36:
Depart From:
Route 128 Station, Westwood, MA
To: South Station, Boston, MA
Transportation: MBTA Commuter Rail

Fin

Ryan Smith is AMC Outdoors’ managing editor and a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Stewardship Council. His next project is redlining the trails of the White Mountains.


 

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Ryan Smith

Ryan is the managing editor of AMC Outdoors magazine and contributing professional photographer. He has worked for AMC as a backcountry caretaker, trail crew member, Mountain Classroom educator, and Teen Wilderness guide. His passions include hiking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and climbing.