I can say with confidence that it’s possible to hike the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail in a single day, if one were so inclined. A month ago Stephanie dropped me off at the Saratoga Gap trailhead just after 8 in the morning, snapped a few photos (to help search-and-rescue identify my body), and then drove off in the direction of Pescadero to spend the day studying.
Nine hours later I emerged from the wilderness, on a bluff facing the Pacific just before sunset. Stephanie met me at the end with a sandwich and bubbly water. The signs say the trail is 29.5 miles long, but common wisdom (and recent GPS data) suggests it’s closer to 25. Given my usual pace of 3 miles per hour, plus a short break for lunch and an unanticipated ford of Waddell Creek, 25 miles seems reasonable.
Which makes this trek the farthest I’ve hiked in a single day, eclipsing the two days in a row that I hiked close to 23 miles on the PCT (over 11 hours carrying a 30-pound pack). To day hike any farther, I’m going to need longer days (and longer trails).