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      Pacific Crest Trail Hiking

Ah, the PCT.

Pacific Crest Trail hiking lures plenty of hikers to the Western United States each summer.

And the good news? This long distance hiking trail comes in a variety of flavors:

  • Thruhiking,
  • Section hiking.
  • Day hiking.

Why?

Because there's so much to choose from along the PCT's 2,663 miles (4,286 kilometers):

  • plenty of desert hiking,
  • lakes,
  • streams,
  • dramatic mountain passes,
  • national parks & forests,
  • designated wilderness areas,
  • and opportunity for solitude along certain sections.

Say you get on the trail at the southern terminus near the Mexican/California border (which most PCT hikers do in order to follow the summer season northward if they're headed to the Canadian border).

  • As you hike, you are treated to dry hot desert conditions until you hit the Sierras.
  • Then your mind is blown by high mountain passes which defy description.


If you start in northern California, you have forests and rushing streams and lots of leg room, especially if you continue northward through Oregon.

  • The Three Sisters Wilderness is a highlight.

Washington State residents can day hike the spectacular Cascade Range and gawk at a string of volcanoes, or hike southbound into Oregon and beyond.


But if you're really serious about long distance hiking, you can earn the moniker "thruhiker", meaning that you hiked from the southern terminus until you completed the entire length of the trail at the U.S./Canada border (north bound, or NOBO).

  • Southbound hikers have to start a bit later, or face the navigational challenges of snowy trails in Washington State.


Note: Some folks tackle sections of the trail each summer, so guess what they're called?


I'm no authority on thruhiking, and that's by choice.

I don't have the personality or mind set the PCT (or the Appalachian Trail, or any other long trail) demands.

It would be severe mental cruelty to:

  • rush through Yosemite (California),
  • blow right past the Three Sisters (Oregon),
  • glance quickly in the direction of Mount Rainier (Washington)

while hurrying toward the Canadian border before the snow flies.

I just couldn't do it!

My style of hiking is what I call "saturation" hiking.

I backpack in to a base camp and enjoy serial day hikes, tapping out the area and exploring what it has to offer:

all sorts of gifts from Mother Nature that thruhikers & section hikers forfeit in their enslavement to the clock.

But I realize that not every hiker is like me.

I understand the siren song of the Pacific Crest Trail, especially for young hikers who want to go up against something big, really big.

So here's what I'm gonna do:

Provide high quality resources for you to explore as you debate whether or not PCT hiking is for you.


 Pacific Crest Trail Hiking Resources

Let's start with the Pacific Crest Trail Organization.

You can ease into things by volunteering time to maintain trail. Sections of that trail could certainly use your help!

If you poke around, you'll find maps, descriptions of PCT experiences, trail updates, community building opportunities, and lots more to build up a thorough picture of what hiking the PCT long distance trail might be like for you.


Here's another idea: Walk yourself through how to plan a PCT thruhike using this website's detailed information.


Want to really dig in and explore the idea of tackling this famous long trail? This site gives you so many resources for planning Pacific Crest Trail hiking:

  • movies,
  • videos,
  • books,
  • podcasts,
  •  webcams,
  • articles.....

...but they didn't list one of the newest movies about PCT hiking called Tell It On The Mountain.

Read my review of it here.


You should have plenty of fodder for your PCT daydreams if you explore all of these resources.

And once you're through exploring the PCT "for real", please write a description of your favorite moments of Pacific Crest Trail hiking for all of my readers to enjoy.


Here's wishing you good skies and good health on the PCT.


And may your trail angels appear just when you need them most!

Happy Pacific Crest Trail Hiking! (or PCT daydreaming)

Home page > Types of Hiking > Pacific Crest Trail Hiking



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