Amongst hikers in America, the Pacific Crest Trail stands high on the list of the best hiking trails available, especially for those of you on the west coast. I have hiked sections of the PCT, but have never full engulfed myself in all that she is… that is, until I saw a show on the National Geographic Channel about thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I learned a lot in that one hour of television. But, how much do you know about it? And is it a route that you will try to thru-hike some day?
So you want to thru-hike the PCT?
The Pacific Crest Trail runs through Washington, Oregon and California. The route can be started from either the furthest point north (Canada) or the furthest point south (Mexico). The majority of people start from the Mexico border and work their way north to the Canada border; however, this is not set in stone, and many decide to go south – it really just depends on where you live and what time of year you plan to hike. At 2,650 miles long, the Pacific Crest Trail stands at one of the longest ‘official’ hikes in the world, and this is one of many reasons why it is also the most popular among extreme hikers. Not only is the distance long, but the route also boasts variance in elevation from sea level to around 4,000 meters high. The highest point is at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada at 13,153 feet.
The route is also one of the most scenic available in the United States running through an astonishing 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Unlike some other recognized hikes, the Pacific Crest Trail does not run near to mainstream society. Along the way you will have to plan food drops at local outfitters and general stores. Planning is one of the most important parts of the trip – you can find yourself going weeks at a time without running into a supply store.
The Pacific Crest Trail association estimates that to calculate every fine detail of the trip takes around half a year. Add in another 5-6 months to actually do the hike and you’re looking at having to dedicate a solid year of your life for this journey. There is no official number of people that have finished the hike, but it is believed that around 3,000 people have completed the amended hike route which was finalized in 1993.
Are you up for the challenge?