First, decide which way you are going.
You’ve chosen a route in your favorite wilderness. You could hike
it in either direction. It’s usually best to get the rough stuff
over at the beginning of the hike and save the easy part for last.
Otherwise it may be better to start from the trailhead at the
higher elevation, so there will be more downhill than uphill.
After deciding on the route and direction, look at the map to see the
roads going to the two trailheads. One trailhead will be closer to
your meeting place, and the other will be farther away.
Either way, you will need enough cars to transport all of the hikers,
plus enough additional cars to carry all the drivers.
Here’s how many 5-passenger cars you’ll need:
Starting Trailhead is Closer:
Drive from the meeting place to the starting trailhead. Then everybody
who isn’t driving gets out of the cars, with their hiking gear.
They will wait at the starting trailhead for the drivers to come back.
Drive all of the cars to the ending trailhead. Park most of the cars
there, so these cars will be waiting for you at the end of the hike.
Then return the drivers to the starting trailhead in as few cars as
possible to begin hiking.
When the hike is over, only those who have a car back at the starting
trailhead – drivers and their passengers – have to be taken
there. Everyone else can just leave.
Courthouse Butte to Morgan Road.
Ending Trailhead is Closer:
Drive from the meeting place to the ending trailhead. Leave one car
there (usually the hike leader’s car) and others if you’ll
need more than one car to transport all the drivers.
Drive to the starting trailhead in the remaining cars and start the hike.
When the hike is over, take the drivers back to their cars at the
Re-convene at the ending trailhead to pick up the rest of the hikers.
If the ending trailhead isn’t too far away, you might consider
driving there on the day before the hike and leaving your car parked
at the trailhead. This would save time: hikers could just drive to the
starting trailhead and begin the hike earlier.
Personally I’m not enthusiastic about leaving my car overnight
at a trailhead, but it is a possibility.
You’re planning that fabulous one-way trans-wilderness hike up
and over the Sierra Estrella from the Gila River to Butterfly Mountain,
Quartz Peak, and down to the Quartz Peak Trailhead. But then you get
the bad news: it requires a 100-mile auto shuttle. Fortunately there
is a way. Have two parties hike in opposite directions.
They will exchange cars before the hike, start from opposite
trailheads, meet in the middle for lunch and exchange of car keys.
You will have your own car waiting at the end of the hike.
No auto shuttle!
Everyone can enjoy hiking, without as much driving or waiting for drivers.
I wouldn’t try this on an off-trail exploratory hike.
Make sure both leaders have done the hike before and are in agreement
regarding the route. Plan on a rendezvous, about halfway, but if
you get there first and can’t contact the other party, keep
going. Stay on the agreed route.