Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,665 mile long trail stretching from Mexico to Canada along the west coast of the United States. The trail incorporates another trail, the John Muir Trail (JMT) along part of it's way. The trail passes through the states of California, Oregon and Washington.
Planning your hike can be very time consuming. You will need to know many things, such as your average hiking speed. You'll also need to account for your daily caloric intake, which will be significantly higher on the trail than your normal intake. To plan correctly, you'll need to do the following:
- Determine your average daily mileage. This will begin as simply a rough estimate, but can be refined as you hike the trail and get actual data.
- Determine how many calories your body will need each day to perform at it's best. There is no generic target, but you might start at 6000 calories and adjust from there
- Plan daily meals that will provide you with the calories you have calculated
- Calculate how many days' worth of food you can carry at any one time on the trail.
- Based on how many days of food you can carry, determine where you will resupply along the trail.
- Pack your resupply boxes and send them to the appropriate resupply points on the PCT.
- Once on the trail, continually adjust your PCT resupply strategy. You might need to send one or two resupplies ahead if you are eating more than you anticipated. Conversely, if you are doing well on less, you might end up sending a resupply forward as a "bounce" box to eat later in the trip.
Recent History of the Pacific Crest Trail and Current Statistics
Over the past 10 years the PCT has become a favorite trail for thru-hikers. For example, each year an average of 300 people strike out to hike the length of the PCT . Many other hikers utilize the trail each year, many hiking only portions of the trail, known as "section hiking" the PCT. The PCT includes the John Muir Trail , which starts at the top of Mt. Whitney, and ends in Tuolomne Meadows.
Accessibilty of the PCT From Major Population Centers
Easily accessible by car from the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle, the PCT is close enough to be convenient, yet wild enough to be cherished . No matter if you're a thru-hiker, or a section hiker, the PCT offers exceptional hiking and extraordinary scenery - the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sequoia/King's Canyon National Park, Mt. Whitney, Yosemite National Park, Marble Mountain and the Russian Wilderness in Northern California, the volcanoes of the Cascades including Mt. Shasta and Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Rainier, and the remote Northern Cascades.