The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, or PCT, is a continuous footpath that runs approximately 2,600 miles up the west coast of the United States from it’s border with Mexico to it’s border with Canada. Along the way the trail crosses 3 states, California, Oregon and Washington as well as crossing 10 National Parks and Monuments, 24 National Forests and 33 federal wilderness areas. It passes through some of America’s most powerful and scenic landscapes and challenges all who hike it.
Trail building began in the 1930′s but the trail wasn’t deemed completed until 1993. It is considered a western companion to the Appalachian Trail but draws far fewer hikers. Only a few hundred people a year attempt to hike its entire length. It is remote and wild, crossing some of the United States largest wilderness areas.
Starting at the Mexican border the trail winds through the hot dry lands of Southern California. Water is in short supply and temperatures regularly soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After nearly 700 miles of dusty, the trail enters the high country of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Passing by the highest point in the continental United States, Mount Whitney, the PCT passes dozens of lakes and through high mountain passes. Passing through Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks the trail leaves the high country for Northern California and the desolation wilderness and Mount Shasta. It takes about 1,600 miles of hiking to leave the California and cross your first state line. Oregon offers up Crater Lake, Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. Washington brings a final challenge of big remote mountains in the North Cascade and wet weather in the infamous Pacific North West climate. At the Canadian border in Manning Park British Columbia the unending trail does the unthinkable and ends at a monument in the middle of the forest. Along the way hikers have seen nearly 1,000 lakes, climbed over 60 major mountain passes and descended into 19 canyons. They have spent months living in a tent and carrying their lives on their backs.
If you are interested in our first hand account of a trip along this trail please check out the daily journals we kept during his 2010 hike of the first 1,000 miles.