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AM from WY on 4/17/2022 6:20:15 PM:
We are looking at hiking the trail starting in Valentine in mid-to-late May. It will be 3 kids and 2 adults, with the intention of using it as a beginner backpacking trip for the kids (ages 7-9). The kids are active and hike a lot, but this will be their first 'backpacking' experience. We are a little concerned about the long distances between some of the campgrounds for hiking (for instance, the 25 miles from Valentine to Wood Lake for campgrounds). Are there any options for camping near the trail in between those? I don't see any on the trip planner, but hoping others might have some advice. Thanks so much!

Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 4/17/2022 10:58:11 PM:
You know your kids and their capabilities, but that sounds rough. There isn't even a spot to get water between Wood Lake and Valentine. That stretch is the sole reason that I went to 3 water bottles on the bike. As you apparently know, Arabia is just a sign on the trail. I don't know why it's even on the map, b/c it was a real disappointment when I was expecting to water up there my first trip my first year. There are no camping spots until you get to Wood Lake unless you pirate along the trail. It would be better to start at Norfolk so you'll have services in towns along the route if you could make that work as you check out how the kids are going to handle it. Keep us apprised of your progress, and good luck!

AM from WY on 4/18/2022 9:35:49 AM:
Thanks Doug T. That info helps a lot. We're thinking we might skip the Valentine to Wood Lake section with the info we've been finding, and maybe just do a day hike from Valentine to enjoy the bridge and that section without having to deal with the 25 miler. I really appreciate your input!

Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 4/18/2022 2:05:36 PM:
If you do that, there's not much to see from Valentine east 2-3 miles to the bridge, which is a must-see. If you drive maybe a mile or two east of the bridge on the highway there's a parking lot and you can walk west to the bridge, then back east for an out-and-back for as long as you guys want to hike and the terrain is way more interesting so the kids would have more fun and you'd get a decent hike out of the day. Just a thought.....

AM from WY on 4/18/2022 2:28:10 PM:
You rock, Dougt! I really appreciate your help with this. We're coming in a little blind on this, and just relying on what we find online. Thank you!