Zigzagging its way from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) boasts the greatest elevation changes of any of America’s National Scenic Trails, allowing it to pass through six out of seven of North America’s ecozones including high and low desert, old-growth forest and alpine country. Indeed, the PCT is a trail of diversity and extremes. From scorching desert valleys in Southern California to rain forests in the Pacific Northwest, the PCT offers hikers and equestrians a unique, varied experience.
Located within driving distance of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle, the PCT is both easily accessible and blissfully wild at the same time. Whether you’d like to explore the PCT for weeks on end, or just a weekend, it offers the best of the West – the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada and Mt. Whitney, Yosemite National Park, Marble Mountain and the Russian Wilderness in Northern California, the volcanoes of the Cascades including Mt. Shasta and Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Rainier, and the remote Northern Cascades.
Over the past decade the PCT has become a favorite target of thru-hikers and thru-riders (the hearty souls who attempt to hike or ride an entire long-distance trail in one “season”). Each year, in fact, an average of 300 hikers attempt to cover the full length of the PCT (thru-riders are more rare but increasing in number). Thousands of other hikers and equestrians enjoy this national treasure each year, some traveling only a few miles in the course of a day hike.
Whether you visit the PCT for a few hours or for a few weeks you’ll surely find a uniquely Western scene that will rejuvenate, inspire and surprise you. Two thousand six hundred and fifty miles of adventure and discovery are waiting.