The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. It is a National Scenic Trail. It reveals the beauty of the desert, unfolds the glaciated expanses of the Sierra Nevada, travels deep forests, and provides commanding vistas of volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range. The trail symbolizes everything there is to love—and protect—in the Western United States.
The starting point when traveling northbound is located at the USA/Mexico border near Campo, California. The finish line is located on the USA/Canadian border at Monument 78. If you measure the distance between Campo and Canada in a straight line it would measure around 1,000 miles. It’s the going up and down mountains and snaking around them through valleys if possible that stretches it to 2,650 miles.
The average time it takes to tackle the PCT is roughly 5 – 6 months. Most hikers average about 20 – 30 miles per day so they can finish before winter sets in near the Canadian border. Usually, people going northbound will leave near the end of April so when they hit the high Sierra Mountain section the snow is melting and they finish it before the snow returns.
You need to bring a Bear canister and use it after Kennedy Meadows as you hit the Sierra Mountains and into Yosemite National Park.
The PCT covers 24 National Forests, 37 Wilderness Areas, and 7 National Parks. The trail climbs nearly 60 mountain passes and descends into 19 major canyons. It moves past roughly 1000 lakes.
Fewer people have hiked the PCT than climbed Mt. Everest. The highest point along the PCT is Forrester’s Pass at 13,200ft or 4000m. It has a total elevation change of 421,000ft.
Untold thousands of hikers and equestrians enjoy this international treasure each year. Some only travel a few miles, while others complete every mile in a single season. Tying the trail together is a community of volunteers and passionate outdoor enthusiasts. Together, we explore, create, and support one of the best experiences on Earth.