Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
The northernmost stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail is closed due to a wildfire burning on and around the Canadian border.
The closure spans the northernmost 15.5 miles of the trail, from Washington’s Holman Pass to the northern terminus. The Pacific Crest Trail Association announced the closure on Friday, citing the Parks Fire, a lightning-caused wildfire currently burning around the Monument 78 trail in E.C. Manning Provincial Park. In a blog post, the PCTA noted that the fire is one of several currently burning in the Pasayten Wilderness and Manning, with the Parks Fire on the east side of the trail and the Three Fools Fire, Skagit Fire, and Powder Mountain Fire burning to the west.
“Reaching the Northern Terminus of the PCT is monumentally important to so many, the PCTA wrote. “We understand that this is a huge impact on people’s plans. We’re so sorry.”
Currently, there is no reroute in place for hikers. In the post, the PCTA reminded hikers not to cross into Canada on alternate trails, which is a violation of Canadian law and could result in deportation and a ban from the country; instead, they should exit the trail at Harts Pass at mile 2623.
The closure is a blow for northbounders, who make up about 90% of thru-hikers on the PCT. The northern reaches of the trail often see significant snow in late September or early October, making travel considerably more difficult. In an email, Scott Wilkinson, Content Development Director for the PCTA, called the closure “totally indefinite” and noted that what happens will likely depend on how the fire north of the border behaves.
Major wildfires have become an annual feature of hiking on the PCT, necessitating closures and reroutes that have forced some hikers onto roads, convinced others to skip sections of the trail, and driven others off the trail entirely. Currently, another 24.7-mile section of trail is closed in Oregon; fires had previously closed other parts of the trail in Oregon and northern California this year.