Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

Infobox Hiking trail
Name=Pacific Crest Trail
Photo=OldSnowy 15A.jpg
Caption=View of Goat Rocks Wilderness along Pacific Crest Trail
Location=Western United States
Length=2,650 mi; 4,240 km
Start/End Points=Campo, California
Manning Park, British Columbia
Horse riding
ElevChange=300,000 ft (90,000 m) [cite web
last = McHugh
first = Paul
title = "Hiker travels light, fast on Pacific Crest"
publisher = "San Francisco Chronicle"
date = 2006-02-16
url =
accessdate = 2007-11-02
HighPoint=Forester Pass (13,153 ft, 4,009 m) Sources disagree on Forester Pass's elevation. The Forest Service's "cite web
url =
title = PCT Online Guide
" claims 13,180 feet (4,017 m) while the USGS "cite web
url = gnis3|260262
title = Geographic Names database
" says 13,153 (4,009 m), but inspection of the "cite web
url =
title = TopoQuest
" map indicates a little less than 4,000 m (13,123 ft). ]
LowPoint=Cascade Locks, Oregon (140 feet) [ [ USFS Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Website] ]
Difficulty=Moderate to Strenuous
Months=Late April to Late September
Sights=Sierra Nevada (U.S.)
Cascade Range
Hazards=Severe Weather

The Pacific Crest Trail (also known as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail) is a long-distance mountain hiking and equestrian trail that runs from the United States border with Mexico to its border with Canada and follows the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range which parallel the Pacific Ocean by 100 to 150 miles (161 to 241 km). The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles (4,240 km) long [cite web
last = Pacific Crest Trail Association
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Pacific Crest Trail - Frequently Asked Questions
work = Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: Online Map and Guide - Mexico to Canada
publisher = United States Forest Service
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2006-09-06
] and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon-Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada.

It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, although it was not officially completed until 1993. [cite web
last = Pacific Crest Trail Association
first =
authorlink =
coauthors = Bart Smith, Lawrence Andrews
title = History of Pacific Crest Trail
work = Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: Online Map and Guide - Mexico to Canada
publisher = United States Forest Service
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2006-09-06
] The Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail form the Triple Crown of long distance hiking in the United States. The PCT was conceived by Clinton C. Clarke in 1932; however it was not given official status until the National Trails System Act of 1968.


The route is mostly through National Forest and—where possible—protected Wilderness. It avoids civilization preferring instead scenic and pristine mountainous terrain with few roads. It passes through the Laguna, San Jacinto, San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Liebre, Tehachapi, Sierra Nevada, and Klamath ranges in California, and the Cascade Range in California, Oregon, and Washington states.


Each year, about 300 people, commonly called thru-hikers, attempt to hike the entire trail from end-to-end. The trip usually takes between four and six months. Around 180 complete the hike each year. Most thru-hikers start from the Mexican border and reach the north end of the trail before the first hard snow. Picking up supplies along the way, usually packages sent to them via mail, most hikers cover about 20 miles (32 km) per day. [cite web | url = | title = FAQs | publisher = Pacific Crest Trail Association | accessdate = December 19 | accessyear = 2006]

In 1970, Eric Ryback, a 17-year-old student, was credited as the first thru-hiker on the trail and his 1971 book "The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on Foot" focused public attention on the PCT. Wilderness Press, publisher of guide books "The Pacific Crest Trail: Volume One and Volume Two", raised in those books specific doubts about Ryback's claim and produced evidence that he accepted rides for some of the journey. Ryback and Chronicle Publishers sued Wilderness Press [Oakland Tribune, Aug. 29, 1973] but the suits were dropped in 1974. [Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, Case Number 664-593, Request for Dismissal] The truth of Ryback's claim is still debated.

The first person confirmed to have thru-hiked the entire PCT, as well as the first person to hike from south to north, was Richard Watson, who completed the trail on September 1, 1972.Fact|date=February 2007 The first woman was Mary Carstens, who completed the journey later in 1972 accompanied by Jeff Smukler.Fact|date=February 2007

The first person to thru-hike the entire PCT both ways in a single continuous round-trip was Scott Williamson, who completed the "yo-yo" circuit on his fourth attempt in November 2004. Williamson traveled a total of 5,300 miles (8,529.5 km) in 197 days, covering an average of 35 to 40 miles (56.3 to 64.4 km) per day when not in snow, wearing an extremely ultra-lightweight pack, which "without food, weighed about 8.5 pounds" (3.864 kg). [cite news
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Hiker Completes First Round-Trip of Pacific Crest Trail
work = Outside Magazine
publisher =
date = 2004-11-18
url =
accessdate = 2006-09-16
] Williamson then went on to complete a second round trip on November 28 2006, cutting two weeks off his 2004 time. [cite news
first =
last =
authorlink =
author =
coauthors =
title = A solo accomplishment is appreciated by many
url =
work = San Diego Union-Tribune
date = 2006-12-02
accessdate = 2006-12-02

The youngest person to successfully thru-hike the trail is Mary Chambers, who hiked the route from April-October of 2004 at the age of 10. She completed the trek with her parents, Barbara Egbert and Gary Chambers. Egbert authored a book about their experiences on the trail, entitled "Zero Days". It was published in January 2008 by Wilderness Press. [ [ Wilderness Press :: Hiking :: Zero Days (Paperback) ] ]

Locations of interest

The following areas or points of interest are found along or adjacent to the route of the Pacific Crest Trail. They are listed from south to north to correspond with the itinerary typically followed by thru-hikers to take advantage of the best seasonal weather conditions. The numbers in parenthesis correspond to the numbers on the PCT overview map above.

*Campo, California, near the trail's southern terminus at the U.S.-Mexico border
*Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (41)
*Cleveland National Forest (40)
*Big Bear Lake
*Cajon Pass
*Angeles National Forest (35)
*Vasquez Rocks
*Agua Dulce, California
*Walker Pass
*Owens Peak Wilderness
*Kings Canyon National Park (33)
**Forester Pass, highest point on the trail
*John Muir Wilderness (31)
*Ansel Adams Wilderness (30)
**Devils Postpile National Monument
*Yosemite National Park (29)
**Tuolumne Meadows
*Sonora Pass, Ebbetts Pass, Carson Pass
*Desolation Wilderness
*Lassen National Forest (22)
**Lassen Volcanic National Park (23)
*McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park (21)
*Shasta-Trinity National Forest (19)
**Castle Crags Wilderness (20)

*Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (17)
*Rogue River National Forest (16) and Winema National Forest (14)
**Sky Lakes Wilderness
*Crater Lake National Park (15)
**Crater Lake
*Umpqua National Forest (13)
**Mount Thielsen
*Willamette National Forest (11) and Deschutes National Forest (12)
**Diamond Peak Wilderness
**Waldo Lake
**Three Sisters Wilderness
***McKenzie River
**Mount Washington Wilderness
**Mount Jefferson Wilderness
*Mount Hood National Forest (9)
**Olallie Scenic Area
**Warm Springs Indian Reservation (10)
**Timberline Lodge
**Mount Hood Wilderness
***Lolo Pass
*Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (8)
**Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness (formerly the Columbia Wilderness)
**Cascade Locks, Oregon, lowest point on the trail
**Bridge of the Gods (links Oregon and Washington, crossing the Columbia River)

*Gifford Pinchot National Forest (7)
**Indian Heaven Wilderness
**Mount Adams
*Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (5)
**Goat Rocks Wilderness
**Norse Peak Wilderness
**Alpine Lakes Wilderness
**Henry M. Jackson Wilderness
**Glacier Peak Wilderness
*Mount Rainier National Park (6)
**Chinook Pass
*Snoqualmie Pass
*Stevens Pass
*Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
**Stehekin, Washington, last town along the trail, 10 miles (16 km) from PCT by NPS bus
*North Cascades National Park (2)
*Boundary Monument 78, at the U.S.-Canada border

British Columbia, Canada
*E.C. Manning Provincial Park, the northern terminus of the trail. (1)


Portland, Oregon's 40 Mile Loop proposes to extend the Springwater Corridor hiking and bicycling spur trail to connect to the Pacific Crest Trail. [ cite web
url =
title = 40 Mile Loop map
format = pdf
work = 40-Mile Loop Land Trust
accessdate = 2008-07-10


External links

* [ Pacific Crest Trail Association] — Non-profit that maintains and promotes the trail, and provides advice to hikers
* [ Mailing list for prospective thru-hikers]
* [ PCT Trail Journals] — Read on-line journals of PCT hikers.
* [ Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce]
* [ Google Map of PCT] High Resolution Google Map of PCT
* [ PCT Snow Page] Snow/Hiker Information & Journals
* [ PCT Elevation Profiles] Interactive Elevation Profiles
* [ Pacific Crest Trail guides] — Currently the only complete hiking guides for the entire Pacific Crest Trail.
* [ OnTheTrail] Free topo maps and trail beta for the PCT.

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