Pacific Crest Trail - PCT

 

The Pacific Crest Trail, also called the PCT, or Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, is a long distance hiking trail 100 miles east of the Pacific Ocean.  The trail extends from the southern terminus at the Mexico border (just south of Campo, California) to its northern terminus at the Canadian border (edge of Manning Park, British Columbia).  The trail traverses the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges as it runs through California, Oregon, and Washington.

Adapted from http://web.archive.org/web/20060624223438/http://www.fs.fed.us/pct/pdf/Large_PCT_Map.pdf

At 2659 miles long, the Pacific Crest Trail stretches more than 400 miles than the Appalachian Trail (AT), but still trails the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in length.  Although some say it is easier to hike than the AT, the combination of remote sections of wilderness, with extremely hot deserts makes it quite a challenge.  The trails elevation profile goes from just above sea level to over 13,000 ft!

Although it was designated as a National Scenic Trail in 1968, it was not officially completed until 1993.  Clinton Churchill Clarke takes the credit for for conceiving of the actual trail, but never received its official status until the National Trails Systems Act of 1968.

The trail takes on the role of being the Western most portion of the Triple Crown.  The 3 first, and most notable long distance hiking trails in the US are the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.  Hiking all 3 trails is known as the triple crown of hiking.  Thru-hiking this trail takes between 4-6 months, with some people racing to finish it with and without gear (both have their own acknowledgements), and some playing it as slow as possible.  The pace is up to those who hike it, but to successfully thru-hike it, you must finish it within one calendar year.

 

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