Top 11 Tips

  1. Cut your nails
    Do it sooner than later. Even slightly overgrown toenails can become a problem. Don’t wait until the last day, in case your trim injures a nail or toe.
  2. Wear your shoes
    Start wearing your shoes everyday now for some amount of time. Your feet will feel more comfortable on the day of the walk and they will adjust to them.
  3. Time is more important than miles
    Walkers often talk in terms of time walking rather than the number of miles. You should feel comfortable walking at a 3.0-3.5 mph pace. At this point, if you can’t get out for a long walk, just being on your feet is good practice for walking.
  4. Choose your fanny or your back
    Walkers often prefer using a hiking fanny pack that goes around your waist like a belt but is light, has padding, pockets and bottle holders for water. Weather conditions and the supplies you choose to take with you may be the deciding factor between which you choose. There are many light backs and sling packs to choose from too.
  5. Remember water in and water out
    We are never more than an 1 hour or so from a source of supplies and bathroom. In this walk, however, there should be port-a-john's and park facilities but because this walk is early in the season, sometimes they are not available. Be sure to drink along the way, even before you get thirsty to stay properly hydrated. We pass some stores, gas stations and fast food restaurants, but the Canal walk is running at times close to communities and roads but often far away from facilities too. We should be able offer some basic supplies like food, water and Gatorade along the way at our stops or where the trail crosses roads. Stay with a partner. There will be planned stops but if the group pulls ahead you’ll have plenty of time to catch up. 
  6. Carbs are your friend
    Regardless of what type of diet you may have followed in the past, this is no time to avoid carbs. You should bring energy foods such as granola, power bars, fruit, pasta, and even candy (avoid chocolate that might melt) with you to munch on a regular basis. I like to take homemade granola or the old standby hiker’s “gorp” which is a mix of dried fruit, nuts, and M&M’s. You’ll be burning off calories in the many hours of walking. While there are a few places to buy a lunch, for this walk, our timing makes it inconvenient to do so. Best to bring a sandwich for a small protein meal along the way, or stick to carbs for the duration of the walk, getting your protein after you are finished.
  7. Hats on
    Take a hat you are comfortable with to provide some protection from the elements like a chance of rain. The trail is mostly in treelined areas but there are places where it opens to the sun. A baseball cap or brimmed hat works best.
  8. Block the Sun 
    At a minimum 30-SPF. My preference is a sport sunscreen that’s 50-SPF. Apply before you head out and reapply once during the event. It’s best to take a small trial size with you or borrow from someone along the way.
  9. State of the socks
    Current wisdom gathered from recent practice walks is to use a cushioned sock with Coolmax or very soft Merino wool. A good sock liner can lessen friction, but is not required. Lubricate feet bottoms with Glide, Vasoline, or talc. Bring an extra pair of sox for a possible change along the way, especially if you are going beyond 25 miles.
  10. The way we walk
    Most of the sections of the this part of the East Coast Greenway we will be walking are a nice gravel "hard-pack" path. There is probably less than 10% walking on other walks or roads. And the route is almost 100% flat. The medium-hard tow path is a good surface for walking. However, to our surprise, several walkers last year noted blisters or other problems along the way. My suggestion is to wear shoes and sox that combined will provide some cushion. 
  11. See the Light
    We had to add this one because we did not anticipate how dark the towpath can get in the later hours. Sunset is about 7:30 p.m. at the time of the Great Canal Walk in early April. That leaves the possiblity of walking for two hours in the dark along a somwhat narrow trail. While the end of the trail is in New Brunswick, the towpath at this point is isolated and dark running parallel to the commercial area. If you plan on walking the last sections, please take a flashlight and/or headlamp for your comfort and safety.

Click here to download a printable document of Top Eleven Tips

Recent Events

Roebling Ramble 

June 17, 2017 - This event combined the history of the Roebling family (built the Brooklyn Bridge and many others) and their rise and fall and the town they created that represented an immigrant's dream 100-years ago.

Our 34 FreeWalkers continued another 13 miles to Trenton to experience a unique festival called Art All Night which offered a huge stage to experience live visual and audio art along with caravan of food trucks for 24-hours straight. The entire day was a unique and interesting experience in history and art.

Hudson River Loop 

June 10, 2017 - It turned out to be a great day for a great event. Our largest event yet with 125 participants. Many making it all the way to the end of 30-miles. If there was any particular challenge it was the heat building up but with some breeze to help as it reached the mid-80s.

This year to accommodate more challengers we expanded the support providing improved signage and a support stop near the GWB. Our thanks to the Hudson River Walkway Conservancy, East Coast Greenway, Shorewalkers and Metrotrails for helping make this a huge success for FreeWalkers and our United Walking effort.

Website Update here

Survey resultsTake Survey. 

Photos here

The Big Walk 2017

May 20, 2017 - Rain at the crack of dawn did nothing to stop 40+ FreeWalkers' at this 8th annual premier long distance event. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, mostly, and we had 11 finish the maximum 50-miles.

The walk from Metropark station to Penn Station NYC is a diverse challenge with many obstacles which draw the best of our long distance walkers.

Website Update here

Survey resultsTake Survey. 

Photos here

Between Walk 2017

April 15, 2017 - With a good temps but overcast skies 23. FreeWalkers walked the 12 miles from New Brunswick to Metropark station. This year's events included a new free bagel stop at Ruthie's in Highland Park and a great personal tour of the newly renovated Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park.

Jack Shi's Excellent Adventure

Website Update here

Survey resultsTake Survey

Photos here

Great Canal Walk 2017

April 8, 2017 - It was a beautiful day for a walk with a taste of spring. FourWalkers walked the 40 miles from Trenton and 29 walkers favored the shorter, yet challenging 28 miles from Princeton to New Brunswick.

Website Update here

Survey results. Take Survey

Photos here

Spring Ahead 2017

March 19, 2017 - Eight FreeWalkers walked the 12-miles from Trenton to Princeton on a day when winter would not let go. Snow covered trail and cold temps slowed down the trek but sun and good spirits were plentiful. 

See photos here

Roosevelt Island/Astoria 2017

March 4, 2017 - About 40 braved the mid-teens and walked across town to the tram. We explored the island and the FDR 4 Freedoms Monument and park. Eventually crossing the bridge to Queens for some middle-eastern sights, smells and tastes. Ending it all at the famous Czech Beer Hall. 

See photos here

See survey results here

Kennedy 50-Mile Walk 2017

February 4, 2017 - An event for history buffs and hardcore walkers. Our 4th walk along the C&O Canal in Maryland and West Virginia - just like Bobby Kennedy did in 1963. Chilly weather did not dampen the can-do spirit of 50 fellow walkers at our grand annual event.

Learn more>>
See photos here
See survey results here

TRAINing Walk 2017

January 28, 2017 - It's mid-winter and 75 hearty walkers show up at the Morristown train station. This year we went West to East and ended in a cozy bar called Coda. Special kudos to Madison Honda for their hospitatlity.

See photos here
See the survey results here.

Midnight March on Princeton


January 7, 2017 - The Midnight March was our first all-night walking event and first event for the new year. Six brave FreeWalkers played wannabe soldiers and stayed with the troops into battle.at daybreak.
Read the entire story here
See photos here

See the video!

Holiday Lights in Dyker Heights


December 16, 2016 - About a dozen FreeWalkers braved extreme cold and outmaneuvered rabid fans of the famous Brooklyn neighborhood. Thanks to Nakis Pericleous for leading us to the holiday kingdom.
See photos here

South Orange - Maplewood Walk & Year-end Party


December 4, 2016 - There were 35 FreeWalkers walking the grand and historic neighborhoods of South Orange and Maplewood followed by our year-end party and awards. Thanks to Risa Olinsky and David Ascher for a great day for a walk, celebration party and a start of the holiday season..
See photos here

Gobble-Gobble for MEND


November 25, 2016 - A crowd of about 40 walked off some turkey and at the same time helped the unfortunate in our communities by supporting MEND of Essex County - a food-bank charity that we support. Gobble-Gobble Walkers were asked to bring food and/or donate to help the hungry.
See photos here

Stroll & Roll - Union County


November 6, 2016 - Familes and FreeWalkers enjoyed a great fall day in Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ as we got about 200 participants strolling and rolling. Kids had as much fun as adults enjoying the games, mild temps and colorful leaves on our first-ever family walking event. Thank you sponsors and Risa Olinsky and Yohana Osorio for organizing!
See photos here

Philadelphia Marathon Walk

October 30, 2016 - Charles Upkike led about 20 FreeWalkers along the route of the Philadelphia Marathon, know for its scenery - especially this time of year.

Legend of Sleepy Hollow Walk

October 30, 2016 - Rick Mohovich led about a dozen FreeWalkers around the Tarrytown area in a walk that passed through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery of Wahington Irving fame.

Tour of Brooklyn - Coney Island


October 29, 2016 - 25 FreeWalkers walked from the New City waterfront to Coney Island on our annual tour of a different section of Brooklyn each year. Always popular and interesting, we enjoyed great weather and scenery as we walked the greenway trail, including under the Verrazano Bridge. Thanks leader Nancy Jonap!
See photos here

Autumn on the Delaware Series


October 20-23, 2016 - Four consecutive days, 120 miles. Walking from York PA to Frenchtown. FreeWalkers walked in support of Jim Gregoire, a FreeWalker and man on a mission to walk the entire US East Coast. Charles Updike, FreeWalkers PA Regional director organized this series of walk to keep him company and provide a great reason to visit the Delaware River area.
See photos here

Sailung Nepal Trek


October 3-16, 2016 - Two weeks trekking te foothills of the Himalayas. Sydney Frymire of Trek of Your Life (TOYL), a FreeWalker and experienced hiker and traveler organizes trips to Nepal which include a bit of volunteerism and plenty of incredible sights.
See photos here

Lenape 34


October 10, 2016 - On Columbus Day each year we brave the wilds of Essex County and travel through five reservations, 8 parks a dozen or so towns as we walk from Millburn to Cedar Grove, Montclair and Newark as we follow the Lenape Trail for 34 miles in our most diverse walk.
See photos here

Endless Summer Walk


September 24, 2016 - Once again we tried our best to hold on to summer and made a 30-mile trek along the bayshore and oceanside from Matawan to Sandy Hook to Asbury Park. Great conditions again this year for a beautiful walk and one of our most popular.
See photos here

Tour of Boston

September 17, 2016 - Fran Price, our FreeWalker leader in Boston, put together a great tour of the highlights of Boston. We walked from South Boston to Copley Square, mostly following the water and the historic trail.
See photos here

Providence - Boston Expedition

Providence to Boston July 23 to July 29 - Loredana, Ken and Nancy have finished thier 110 mile week-long expedition on the ECGA.

Read Loredana's story on why she walks the expedition each year.

See Loredana's 7-day Photo Journal

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