The Pacific Crest Trail | Hiking the PCT - Backpacker - Backpacker

Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is a National Scenic Trail that runs 2,663 miles from the United States-Mexico border through California, Oregon, and Washington, where it reaches its northern terminus at the United States-Canada border. The Pacific Crest Trail is known as a challenging thru-hiking and backpacking route through some of the country’s most spectacular wilderness ranges. The trail generally follows the high route through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

pacific crest trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is one of America's most popular long paths.

The PCT (an acronym that many use to refer to the Pacific Crest Trail) passes through seven national parks and 25 national forests. The PCT was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, but was not officially finished until 1993.

Thru-hiking, or hiking a long trail in its entirety in one season, is a popular pursuit on the Pacific Crest Trail. A PCT thru-hike is a long-term commitment that usually takes several months of plans as well as 4-6 months of hiking. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Crest is the topic of many books, memoirs and documentaries, including a recent best-selling memoir titled “Wild,” written by Cheryl Strayed and promoted by Oprah Winfrey.

Together, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail, are known as the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the United States. Someone who successfully thru-hikes all three trails is known as a Triple Crowner.