About the Trail

2,660 miles / 4,280 km
489,418 ft elevation gain
25 national forests, 7 national parks

The Pacific Crest Trail is a continuous 2660 mile ( 4280 km ) walking trail which goes up the mountains in the Western USA. The Southern Terminus is on the US/Mexican Border near the town of Campo in California and the Northern Terminus is in the forests of the Cascade Mountains on the US/Canadian border some 10 miles south of Manning Park Lodge in British Columbia, Canada.

The trail is generally divided into 5 distinct sections. The First Section is the 700 miles of Southern California. Generally Northbound hikers start this around late April hoping the snows in the next section will have thawed before they get there

The first section is the 700 miles of South California. It is often called the “Desert Section” but is more arid scrub than desert

Then you reached the longed for “Promised Land” of the Sierra Nevada Mountains,  a 400 mile mountainous Second Section. Usually hikers enter these mountains around mid June. Any earlier and snow might linger on the passes and north slopes and hamper progress. However in a heavy snow year like 2017 the snow will persist long into the summer and turn the Sierras into a challenge.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains are one of the highlights of the PCT

The Third Section is the more serene 600 mile stretches of Northern California which passes smaller mountain ranges.

The North California mountains are smaller than the Sierras but are still wild and rugged

Then after a good 3-4 months in California the trail finally crosses over into Oregon for a month long 500-mile Fourth Section hike through a flatter landscape with massive volcanic mountains, before it descends to the Columbia River.

The Oregon Landscape is dominated by massive volcanic mountains and occasional lakes, like Crater Lake pictured here.

The Fifth Section of the Pacific Crest Trail  is a 500 mile race through the wild Cascade Range of Washington State, before the first of the autumn snows blocks the trail-usually in early October.

The Cascade Mountains of Washing are wild and remote and often receive snowfalls in early October which may make the trail impassable