The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.
- Climbs nearly 60 major mountain passes
- Descends into 19 major canyons and
- Ambles past more than 1,000 lakes and tarns.
You may also know that the PCT traverses…
- 3 national monuments
- 7 national parks
- 24 national forests and
- 33 federally mandated wildernesses.
But did you know that…
- It was recently pointed out that fewer people have thru-hiked the PCT than have climbed Mt. Everest! Could it be that a thru-hike is tougher than climbing the tallest mountain on Earth?
- The trail doesn’t actually end at the Canadian border but continues for another 9 miles into Manning Provincial Park, British Columbia.
- In spring 2003, the Travel Channel chose the Seiad Valley Cafe (in Seiad Valley, near Calif./Ore. border) as the third best location in the world to “pig out.” They were referring, of course, to the cafe’s great “pancake challenge” which tempts hungry thru-hikers to finish a mammoth stack of pancakes in one sitting. Few have succeeded. The Seiad Valley Cafe appeared on the Travel Channel’s “Gross Outs: The World’s Best Places to Pig Out” program.
- The PCT crosses the world-famous San Andreas Fault three times!
- As the crow flies the distance between Mexico and Canada is just over 1,000 miles. The PCT is two and a half times that.
- The PCT passes the three deepest lakes in the nation; Lake Tahoe (1,645 feet), Crater Lake (1,932 feet) and Lake Chelan (1,149 feet)
- Clinton C. Clarke, popularly known as “the father” of the California PCT was an avid Boy Scout, a graduate of Harvard University (with a degree in literature) and a successful oilman.
- Eric Ryback, popularly known as the first person to hike the length of the PCT, carried an 80-pound pack on his 1970 thru-hike. He had only five resupply packages on the entire trip, and was loaded with 40 pounds of food at the start of each leg. He often ran out of food and foraged or went hungry.
- Brian Robinson hiked the PCT, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail in 2001 (the first person to complete a calendar-year Triple Crown). His pack weight averaged 19 pounds in winter conditions and less than 13 pounds in warmer conditions, plus food. He resupplied almost every four days
- In California, hikers and riders on the PCT often must cover 20 to 30 miles of trail between water sources. The longest waterless stretch on the trail is 35.5 miles, north of Tehachapi.
- Some geologists argue that the highest point in the contiguous lower 48 states is not Mt. Whitney, but White Mountain Peak, just to the east across the Owens Valley.
- Susie Burns and her Father Frank McCubbins (age 72) hiked the Oregon PCT without ever shouldering packs. They hiked the 486 miles in four segments, with four different kinds of animals. First llamas, then pack goats, then a giant Bactrain camel (two humps), then finally mules. All the animals did well but the goats were the favorites. Although with the camel, it was great fun hearing the PCT hikers behind them wondering what in the world was making those strange tracks down the trail.
- John Muir made the first ascent of Mt. Ritter, a beacon along the PCT in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. He described his climb thus:
“After scanning its face again and again, I began to scale it, picking my holds with intense caution. About halfway to the top, I was suddenly brought to a dead stop, with arms outspread clinging close to the face of the rock unable to move hand or foot either up or down. My doom appeared fixed. I MUST fall. There would be a moment of bewilderment, and then, a lifeless rumble down the cliff to the glacier below. My mind seemed to fill with a stifling smoke. This terrible eclipse lasted only a moment, when life blazed forth again with preternatural clearness. I seemed suddenly to become possessed of a new sense. My trembling muscles became firm again, every rift and flaw in the rock was seen as through a microscope, my limbs moved with a positiveness and precision with which I seemed to have nothing at all to do.”
Fun Facts taken from the PCTA website.