Pacific Crest Trail

About Pacific Crest Trail


Also known as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail or simply PCT, this long-distance hiking route is only for the super-fit (and mightily determined!), although some make the going easier by taking to the saddle. The Trail stretches from the Mexican border up into Canada, a distance of 4,240 km (2,650 mi), following the high country of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range, inland from and parallel to the USA’s West Coast. The highest point is Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada at 4,000 m (13,150 ft), the low point is sea level at the Columbia River on the Oregon Washington borders.

The PCT mostly crosses forests and protected wilderness, avoiding civilization and even roads wherever possible, ensuring that the intrepid hiker sees and enjoys America’s wild grandeur at its pristine best. Those who just wish to experience a section of this rugged Trail – or don’t have time for more – often opt for the northern section in Washington, which has much to offer. Start at the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River; from there Best highlightson it’s uphill most of the way, as the Trail goes through National Forests, skirts Mount Adams and crosses a vast wilderness area. From there, it enters Mount Rainier National Park, and then continues via Chinook, Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes into the Lake Chelan National Recreational Area and North Cascades National Park. If you get there you’ve missed Stehekin, the last town near the Trail, and must cross into Canada where the PCT ends in British Columbia’s EC Manning Provincial Park.

Oh, when you finally rest those blistered feet after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from start to finish, take a short break then go for the USA’s Triple Crown of long-distance hiking – the Appalachian and Continental Divide Trails await!

Best Highlights of Pacific Trail

Ansell Adams

The Ansell Adams wilderness in California’s Sierra Nevada, named after the famous 20th century landscape photographer who was inspired by these mountains.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, a World Heritage Site that covers a large area on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain.

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, the most notable feature of which is the eponymous Crater Lake, a volcanic caldera lake famous for its deep-blue colour.

Timberline Lodge

A civilized stop-off at Timberline Lodge, built within Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest as a work-generation project In the Great Depression, now a National Historic Landmark and popular
tourist destination.

What you should know about Pacific Trail

It really can be done – some 300 so-called ‘thru hikers’ start out along the PCT each spring, and around 200 make It all the way.

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