The Pacific Crest Trail interests everyone who likes hiking. If you are wondering where are PCT hikers now, you have come to the right place.
If you have been on the PCT or are planning to go there, it is always interesting to keep an update about the current PCT hikers.
The current location of the PCT hikers depends on the time you are reading this article. Most PCT hikers start their journey in late April or early May, depending on the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and try to reach Canada before early October.
I have covered almost all the topics related to the Pacific Crest Trail here.
All the information and facts mentioned in the article have been collected from official resources, and the insights are from experienced hikers who have hiked at PCT.
Where Are PCT Hikers Now?
Most PCT hikers start their journey in late April or early May, depending on the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The goal is to reach Canada before the early October deadline when the snow begins to fall, and the trail becomes impassable.
The average hiker walks about 20 miles per day, although some days may be shorter or longer depending on the terrain. Most hikers take a zero-day (a day off from hiking) every five to seven days to rest and resupply.
The Pacific Crest Trail is an astoundingly beautiful and challenging trails on the globe. It runs from Mexico to Canada through some of the most stunning scenery on the planet. The trail is 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) long and takes most hikers between four and six months to complete.
The PCT is a truly unique experience. It passes through three different states – California, Oregon, and Washington – and seven different national parks. The trail offers hikers the chance to see an incredible variety of landscapes, from desert to forest to snow-capped mountains. Along the way, hikers will encounter an amazing array of wildlife, including eagles, bears, and deer.
Completing the PCT is an accomplishment that will stay with you for the rest of your life. The trail will challenge you physically and mentally, but the rewards are more than worth it. If you’re looking for an adventure of a lifetime, the Pacific Crest Trail is definitely for you.
Where Does the Pacific Crest Trail Start and End?
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. It runs through California, Oregon, and Washington state.
The PCT starts at the southern terminus on the border of California and Mexico. The trail then heads north through the Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the Cascade Range. It ends at the northern terminus on the border of Washington state and Canada.
Hikers and equestrians can begin their journey at either end of the trail, but most people start at the southern terminus in order to avoid bad weather conditions further north. The average completion time for thru-hikers (people who hike the entire trail in one trip) is about five months.
The PCT is one of the most popular long-distance trails on the globe, and it attracts hikers from all over the globe. Whether you're looking for an adventure of a lifetime or just a weekend getaway, the Pacific Crest Trail has something to offer everyone.
History of the Pacific Crest Trail
The trail was conceived in the 1930s by a group of visionary hikers who saw the potential for a continuous footpath along the crest of the continent’s major mountain ranges. Their dream was finally realized in 1968 when Congress created the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.
Since then, the PCT has become one of America’s premier long-distance trails, drawing hikers from all over the world. Every year, hundreds of people attempt to hike the entire 2,650-mile (4,265-kilometer) trail in a single season.
The PCT traverses some of the most diverse and scenic terrains in the United States. It winds its way through three states – California, Oregon, and Washington – and passes through seven national parks and 24 national forests.
The trail begins at the Mexican border in southern California and ends at the Canadian border in northern Washington. Along the way, it climbs up and over mountain ranges, crosses deserts and valleys, meanders through old-growth forests, and traverses some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in North America.
Despite its challenges, the PCT is one of the most popular long-distance trails on the globe. Every year, thousands of people hike sections of the trail or complete the entire journey.
The Pacific Crest Trail is more than just a hiking trail – it’s a living symbol of America’s commitment to preserving our wild places for future generations.
Some Milestones of PCT
Hiking the entire PCT is a daunting challenge that typically takes 5 to 6 months to complete. However, many people choose to hike smaller sections of the trail each year. No matter how you choose to hike it, the PCT is an amazing experience that you will never forget.
Here are some of the most important milestones along the Pacific Crest Trail:
- The Mexican border: The Pacific Crest Trail begins at the Mexican border in Campo, California. From here, it winds its way north through the desert landscapes of Southern California.
- Kennedy Meadows: After about 700 miles (1,126 kilometers), the trail reaches Kennedy Meadows, a small town in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This marks the beginning of what is known as the "High Sierra" section of the trail, which contains some of the most beautiful and challenging terrains on the entire route.
- Forester Pass: Forester Pass stands at an elevation of about 13k ft (4,009 meters). It is located in the John Muir Wilderness of California and is typically only passable in late summer when the snow has melted enough to allow for safe passage.
- Mount Whitney: It is taller than any other mountain in the contiguous United States and is located just south of Forester Pass. Many hikers choose to summit Mount Whitney before continuing north on the PCT.
- The Sierra Nevada-Cascade divide: After passing through Forester Pass and Mount Whitney, the trail crosses into Oregon and then Washington state. This marks the point where the Sierra Nevada mountains give way to the Cascade Range.
- The Canadian border: The Pacific Crest Trail ends at the Canadian border, near the Manning Park Town in British Columbia. This marks the end of an epic journey, and hikers are often rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Tips to Survive a PCT Thru-Hike
- Start with the right gear: Invest in quality gear that will last the entire journey. Choose items that are comfortable and easy to use.
- Train your body: Get in shape before embarking on the hike. This will help you physically and mentally prepare for the challenges ahead.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a water filter or purification tablets to ensure you have access to clean drinking water.
- Eat healthy: Pack nutritious food that will give you the energy you need to keep hiking. Avoid processed foods and sugary snacks that will only make you tired.
- Take breaks: Rest when you need to, but don’t stay in one place for too long. Getting moving will help keep your energy up and prevent you from getting too sore.
- Be prepared for weather changes: Pack appropriate clothing for the conditions you’ll encounter on the trail. Layering is key to staying warm or cool as the temperature fluctuates.
- Watch for hazards: Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of potential dangers, such as loose rocks or steep drop-offs.
- Stay on the trail: It can be tempting to wander off the beaten path, but it’s important to stay on the designated trail to avoid getting lost.
- Be social: Interacting with other hikers can make the experience more enjoyable and help you meet new friends.
- Have fun: Remember to enjoy the journey! Take time to admire the scenery and appreciate all that nature has to offer.
How Much Does It Cost to Make the Pacific Crest Trail?
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is one of the most popular long-distance hiking trails on the globe. Every year, thousands of people attempt to thru-hike the trail, which stretches for 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.
Completing a thru-hike of the PCT is no small feat, and it requires a significant amount of preparation – both in terms of equipment and finances. In this article, we're going to take a look at how much it costs to make the Pacific Crest Trail so that you can budget for your own hike.
One of the biggest expenses associated with thru-hiking the PCT is gear. Depending on your experience level and the type of gear you already have, you could end up spending anywhere from $500 to $2000 on new equipment.
Some of the essential pieces of gear that you’ll need for the PCT include a tent, sleeping bag, backpack, hiking boots, and clothing. If you don’t already have these items, it’s worth considering renting or borrowing some of them from friends or family members.
Another option is to buy used gear, which can be found quite easily online (especially if you search for “PCT gear” on sites like eBay or Craigslist). Just make sure that any used gear you purchase is in good condition and suitable for the conditions you’ll encounter on the trail.
Food and Resupplies
Another significant expense for thru-hikers is food and resupplies. Depending on how often you plan to resupply (i.e., restock your food supplies), you could end up spending hundreds of dollars on groceries.
One way to cut down on food costs is to buy in bulk and cook your own meals, rather than relying on expensive packaged foods or restaurant meals. Additionally, many towns along with the PCT offer hiker discounts at local grocery stores, so be sure to ask about these before you make your purchase.
Finally, it’s worth noting that there are a few sections of the PCT where resupplying is not an option, so you’ll need to carry enough food with you to last the entire stretch. This is something to keep in mind when planning your resupply strategy.
Another cost to consider is transportation. If you’re starting your hike from the southern terminus in Mexico, you’ll need to arrange for transportation to and from the trailhead. The same is true if you’re finishing your hike at the northern terminus in Canada.
Additionally, you may need to arrange for transportation to and from resupply points along the trail, as not all of them are accessible by public transit. Once again, this is something to keep in mind when planning your resupply strategy.
Finally, if you’re planning to hike the PCT with a partner or group, you’ll need to factor in the cost of gas and vehicle rental.
One final cost to consider is permits. If you’re planning to thru-hike the PCT, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the US Forest Service. The cost of a permit is $45, and it’s valid for one calendar year.
If you’re planning to start your hike from the southern terminus in Mexico, you’ll also need to obtain an international border crossing permit, which costs $25. Finally, if you’re hiking with a dog, you’ll need to purchase a National Park Service Dog Permit, which costs $30.
In conclusion, there are a number of costs to consider when thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. However, with some careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to complete the hike without breaking the bank. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your PCT thru-hike today!
How Many People Have Made the Whole Pacific Crest Trail?
Since the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) was completed in 1993, an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people have completed the entire trail. That's a pretty impressive number, considering that the trail is 2,653 miles long and goes through some of the most remote and rugged territories in the United States.
But how many of those 5,000 to 7,000 people are "thru-hikers," meaning they hiked the entire trail in one continuous journey? It's hard to say for sure, but a good estimate is between 600 and 1,200. So while completing the PCT is no small feat, it's still relatively rare.
Why do so few people attempt a thru-hike? Well, for one thing, it's a huge commitment. Most thru-hikers take between four and six months to complete the trail, which means they have to plan their entire year around the hike.
And even then, there's no guarantee they'll actually make it all the way; weather, injuries, and other unforeseen circumstances can force hikers off the trail at any time.
But for those who do manage to complete the PCT, the experience can be life-changing. Hiking 2,653 miles gives you a lot of time to think about what's important to you, and many thru-hikers come back from the trail with a new perspective on life.
So if you ever feel like you need a change, remember that the Pacific Crest Trail is always there, waiting for you.
Interesting Facts About the Pacific Crest Trail
- The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail that stretches for 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.
- The PCT runs through California, Oregon, and Washington state.
- It passes through 25 national forests and seven national parks, including Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park.
- Approximately 3 million people visit the PCT each year.
- The trail was first proposed in 1932 by Wilderness Society co-founder Benton MacKaye.
- Construction on the trail began in 1935, but it wasn't completed until 1993.
- The PCT is part of the National Trails System, which also includes the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.
- Every year, about 300 people attempt to hike the entire PCT.
- Of those who attempt a thru-hike, about 50% succeed.
- The average time it takes to complete a thru-hike is 154 days.
- The fastest known time for a thru-hike is 52 days, 17 hours, and 8 minutes, set by Scott Williamson in 2005.
- The trail is open to hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.
- Dogs are not allowed on most sections of the trail.
- Camping is allowed along the trail, but permits are required in some areas.
- The PCT is maintained by a partnership of federal, state, and local agencies, as well as volunteers from the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
- In 2018, the PCT was designated as one of the National Historic Trails.
- The trail has been featured in several books and movies, including Wild (2014) and Finding Forrester (2000).
Gear Essentials For PCT
When it comes to preparing for a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, there is a lot of gear that you will need to acquire. Some of it is essential, and some of it is optional. But in general, you will need the following items:
A good pair of hiking boots or shoes - this is probably the most important piece of gear, as you will be spending a lot of time on your feet. Make sure they are comfortable and broken in before you start your hike.
A tent - unless you plan on sleeping under the stars every night, you will need a tent. There are a variety of options available, from ultralight backpacking tents to larger family-style tents. Choose one that is appropriate for the number of people you will be sharing it with and the type of terrain you will be hiking in.
A sleeping bag - is another essential item. A sleeping bag will keep you warm at night. Down bags are generally more compressible and lighter than synthetic bags, but they are also more expensive. Choose one that is rated for the temperature range you expect to encounter on your hike.
A backpacking stove - unless you enjoy cold meals or plan on dining out every night, a backpacking stove is a necessity. There are many different types available, from ultralight canister stoves to full-fledged camp stoves. Choose one that is appropriate for the type of cooking you plan on doing and the fuel availability in the areas you will be hiking.
A water filter or purifier - you will need a way to filter or purify water to make sure it is safe to drink. There are many different options available, from simple pump filters to ultraviolet light purifiers. Choose one that is appropriate for the water sources you expect to encounter on your hike.
These are just a few of the essential items you will need for your thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition to these items, you may also want to consider bringing along a few other items, such as a first-aid kit, a map and compass, and hiking poles. But with the proper gear, you will be well on your way to completing this amazing hike.
This includes a topographic map of the entire trail, as well as a compass and other tools to help you stay on course.
Topographic maps are essential for any long-distance hike, and the PCT is no exception. These maps show elevation changes, water sources, and other important landmarks along the trail. A compass is also critical, as it will help you keep track of your location and ensure you're headed in the right direction.
Other useful items for navigation include a GPS device, binoculars, and a whistle. By carrying these items with you, you can be sure you'll always be able to find your way on the PCT.
When you're packing for your thru-hike, it's important to include food that will give you the energy you need to make it through each day. But you also need to consider the weight and bulk of your food, as well as how easy it is to store.
There are a few different ways to store your food on the trail. You can use a bear canister, which is required in some areas. Bear canisters are large, heavy-duty containers that keep bears from being able to smell or access your food.
Another option is to hang your food from a tree using a bear bag system. This can be tricky to do properly, so make sure you know how before you hit the trail.
Finally, you can also store your food in your backpack. This is the easiest option, but it's also the most likely to attract bears and other animals. If you go this route, be sure to keep your food in a sealed bag and away from your sleeping area.
No matter how you choose to store your food, make sure you have enough for each day of your hike. Plan ahead and pack more than you think you'll need, just in case. And always practice Leave No Trace principles when it comes to disposing of your food waste.
When planning your Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, one of the most important gear decisions you will make is choosing the right footwear. Your feet are your only mode of transportation on the trail, so it is crucial to select a shoe that fits well and provides enough support and protection for your individual needs.
There are three main types of footwear popular among PCT hikers: trail runners, hiking boots, and sandals. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to select the type that best suits your needs.
Trail runners are lightweight, low-cut shoes that provide good ventilation and flexibility. They are ideal for hot weather and dry trail conditions, but they offer less support and protection than hiking boots, so they are not well suited for carrying a heavy pack or hiking in rough terrain.
Hiking boots are heavier and more supportive than trail runners, making them a good choice for carrying a heavy pack or hiking in rougher terrain. However, they can be hot and uncomfortable in warm weather, and they are not as flexible as trail runners.
Sandals are the lightest and most ventilated type of footwear, making them ideal for hot-weather hikes. They offer less support than either trail runners or hiking boots, so they are not recommended for carrying a heavy pack or hiking in rough terrain.
When choosing footwear for your PCT hike, it is important to consider the type of terrain you will be hiking in, the weather conditions you expect to encounter, and your own personal preferences. There is no one “perfect” shoe for every hiker, so it is important to select the type of footwear that best suits your individual needs.
When planning your thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, one of the most important gear decisions you'll make is choosing a tent. There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a tent for your PCT hike, including weight, durability, cost, and more.
Let us break down everything you need to know about choosing a tent for your PCT thru-hike, including what to look for in a tent and our top picks for the best tents for the Pacific Crest Trail.
What to Look for in a Tent for the PCT
When choosing a tent for your PCT thru-hike, there are several important factors to consider. Here are the most important things to look for in a tent for the PCT:
Weight: For most thru-hikers, weight is one of the most important considerations when choosing a tent. The lighter your gear, the easier it will be to carry on your long-distance hike. While there are some very lightweight tents available, they often come with a higher price tag. If you're on a budget, look for a reasonably priced tent that still offers a good weight-to-price ratio.
Durability: Another important consideration is durability. You'll want to choose a tent that can withstand the rigors of the trail, including wind, rain, and snow. While ultralight tents tend to be less durable, there are some options available that strike a good balance between weight and durability.
Cost: Of course, the cost is also an important factor to consider. When it comes to thru-hiking gear, you'll want to choose items that offer the best value for your money. There are a variety of tents available at different price points, so be sure to shop around to find the best deal.
Our Top Picks for the Best Tents for the PCT
Here are our top three picks for the best tents for the PCT:
- Big Agnes Copper Tent: This ultralight tent from Big Agnes is one of the lightest options on the market, weighing in at just over 2 pounds. It's also one of the more expensive options, but it's a good choice for those who prioritize weight above all else.
- MSR Hubba NX Tent: The MSR Hubba NX Tent is a great option for those looking for a balance between weight and price. It's not the lightest tent on the market, but it's still reasonably priced and offers good durability.
- REI Co-op Half Dome Two Plus Tent: The REI Co-op Half Dome Two Plus Tent is a great budget-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice too much in terms of weight or durability. It's a good choice for those who are looking to save money without compromising too much on quality.
Now that you know what to look for in a tent for the PCT and our top three picks for the best tents for the trail, it's time to start shopping around. Be sure to compare prices and weights to find the perfect tent for your thru-hike.
One of the most important pieces of gear for any backpacking trip is a good sleeping bag. On the Pacific Crest Trail, you will experience a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, so it's important to choose a sleeping bag that can keep you comfortable in all kinds of conditions.
There are three main types of sleeping bags: summer bags, 3-season bags, and winter bags. Summer bags are designed for use in warm weather and are usually made with lighter-weight materials.
3-season bags are versatile enough to be used in a variety of conditions, from spring through fall. Winter bags are insulated to keep you warm in cold weather and should only be used when temperatures are below freezing.
When choosing a sleeping bag, it's important to consider the type of insulation it has. Down is a popular choice for its lightweight warmth, but it does not insulate well when wet. Synthetic insulation is a good option for people who are looking for a more affordable sleeping bag, and it performs better than down in wet conditions.
Another important consideration is the shape of the sleeping bag. Mummy bags are designed to fit snugly around your body, trapping heat in and keeping you warm. Rectangular bags give you more room to move around and can be unzipped and turned into a quilt.
Finally, you'll need to decide on the bag size. Sleeping bags come in a variety of sizes, from petite to extra large. It's important to choose a size that will be comfortable for you to sleep in, as well as one that will fit in your backpack.
With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to try and select the perfect sleeping bag for your needs. However, by taking the time to consider all of your options, you can be sure to find a sleeping bag that will keep you comfortable on all your backpacking adventures.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the best backpacking stove for the Pacific Crest Trail. First, you will need to decide what type of fuel you want to use. The most common types of fuel are propane, white gas, and isobutane.
Second, you will need to think about how many people will be using the stove and what type of cooking you will be doing. Third, you will need to consider the weight and size of the stove. Finally, you should think about any special features that you may want or need.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a backpacking stove is to choose one that is safe and easy to use. There are many different types and brands of stoves on the market, so it is important to do your research before making a purchase. Make sure to read reviews and compare prices to find the best deal.
Now that you know what to look for in a backpacking stove, here are some of the best stoves on the market:
- Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System: The Jetboil MiniMo is a great choice for solo hikers or small groups. It is extremely lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry on the trail. The MiniMo uses an isobutane canister as its fuel source, which makes it very efficient. It also has a built-in igniter for easy lighting.
- MSR WindBurner Stove: The MSR WindBurner is a great choice for backpackers who need a stove that can boil water quickly. It uses a propane canister as its fuel source, which makes it very powerful. The WindBurner also has a built-in igniter for easy lighting.
- Coleman Fyrestorm Stove: The Coleman Fyrestorm is a good choice for large groups or for cooking big meals. It uses a white gas canister as its fuel source, which makes it very versatile. The Fyrestorm also has a built-in igniter for easy lighting.
- Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove: The Etekcity Ultralight Portable Stove is a great choice for solo hikers or small groups. It is very lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry on the trail. The Ultralight uses an isobutane canister as its fuel source, which makes it very efficient.
- Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Stove: The Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Stove is a great choice for large groups or for cooking big meals. It uses a propane canister as its fuel source, which makes it very powerful. The Explorer also has two side shelves for holding pots and pans.
If you're planning on thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, then you're going to need a reliable water purifier. This is because the water sources along the trail can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms.
A water purifier will remove these contaminants and make the water safe to drink. There are a variety of water purifiers on the market, so it's important to choose one that's right for you. Here are some things to consider when choosing a water purifier for your PCT thru-hike.
Type of Water Purifier: There are several different types of water purifiers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common type of water purifier is the pump-style purifier, which uses a mechanical pump to force water through a filter.
Pump-style purifiers are typically very effective at removing contaminants, but they can be slow and cumbersome to use. Another type of water purifier is the gravity-fed purifier, which uses gravity to draw water through a filter. Gravity-fed purifiers are usually very easy to use, but they can take a long time to filter large amounts of water.
Filter Media: The type of filter media used in a water purifier will also affect its performance. The most common type of filter media is activated carbon, which is very effective at removing contaminants.
Activated carbon filters can remove bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms from water, but they will not remove chemicals or dissolved minerals. Another type of filter media is ceramic, which can also remove bacteria and viruses from water. Ceramic filters are less effective at removing chemical contaminants, but they will remove dissolved minerals from water.
Flow Rate: The flow rate of a water purifier is the amount of water that can be purified per minute. Flow rate is important to consider because it will affect how long it takes to purify large amounts of water. Some water purifiers have very high flow rates, while others have very low flow rates.
Capacity: The capacity of a water purifier is the maximum amount of water that can be purified before the filter needs to be replaced. Capacity is important to consider because it will affect how often you need to replace the filter. Some water purifiers have very high capacities, while others have very low capacities.
Weight and Size: The weight and size of a water purifier are also important to consider. If you're planning on thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, then you'll need to carry your water purifier with you. This means that weight and size are important factors to consider. Some water purifiers are very large and heavy, while others are small and lightweight.
Price: The price of a water purifier is also an important consideration. Water purifiers range in price from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It's important to find a water purifier that's within your budget.
Now that you know what to look for in a water purifier, you can start shopping for the perfect one for your PCT thru-hike. There are a variety of water purifiers on the market, so take your time and find the one that's right for you. With a little bit of research, you'll be able to find the perfect water purifier for your needs.
Things to Keep in Mind While Buying Equipment, Gear, and Clothes for PCT
When you are planning your Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hike, it is important to choose the right equipment, gear, and clothing. Here are a few things to keep in mind while making your purchases:
- Your safety should be your top priority when selecting gear and equipment. Make sure that you choose items that are durable and will help you stay safe on the trail.
- Your comfort should also be a consideration when choosing gear and equipment. Select items that are comfortable to use and carry so that you can enjoy your hike.
- Your budget is another important factor to consider when purchasing gear and equipment. Choose items that fit within your budget so that you can stay on track financially.
- It is also important to consider the weight of your gear and equipment. The lighter your gear, the easier it will be to carry on the trail. Choose items that are lightweight and easy to pack.
- Finally, make sure to research the return policy of the store before making your purchase. This way, you can return or exchange any items that do not work for you.
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks