Want in-depth, expert help planning your thru-hike? Click here to sign up for our upcoming Thru-Hiking 101 class with professional hiker Liz “Snorkel” Thomas. This six-week online class covers everything you need to know to plan and finish the long-distance hike of your dreams. Begins January 12, 2016.
It goes from the searing southern California desert to the Pacific Northwest old-growth forest to alpine tundra, passing through six of North America’s seven ecozones–all but the Tropical Zone. Unquestionably the most diverse of our classic long trails, the PCT is also, step for step, quite possibly the most beautiful. On its 2,650-mile journey from Mexico to Canada, through three states (California, Oregon, and Washington), seven national parks, 24 national forests, and 34 wilderness areas, it touches a list of iconic places that reads like an inventory of America’s natural treasures: Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Crater Lake, and North Cascades; Three Sisters, Alpine Lakes, and Glacier Peak; Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and the John Muir Trail. It’s a trail of extremes, from the High Sierra, where it crests nine passes over 11,000 feet, including the trail’s highest point, 13,180-foot Forester Pass. The lowest point is the Columbia River Gorge at 140 feet. Some sections are within weekend striking distance of millions of people from San Diego to Seattle. Other legs are very remote, the 201.5 miles from Kennedy Meadows to Reds Meadow is the longest roadless section of any long trail. In sections, it can be brutally hot and dry for hundreds of miles, while in other stretches you might hit days of hiking across wet snow or slogging through endless rain. And yet, time it right and you can enjoy the most gorgeous mountain weather in the world. Why hike the PCT? For section hikers, select pieces of it rank among the most scenic backpacking trips anywhere. For thru-hikers, the PCT offers arguably the best, most complete long-distance hiking experience on the planet.
From this page, you can click on “Interactive Map” to view the entire PCT. You can zoom in and out, scroll in any direction, and look at topo maps, aerial photos, or a hybrid of both. Want more details on each section? Click on the links under “Trip Details.” And if you sign up for the site’s advanced membership, you can view any trip on Google Earth — and load your own GPS data, photos, video, and sound clips.