The Pacific Crest Trail, or PCT for short, is a 2,660 mile hiking and equestrian trail that travels from Campo, California on the US/Mexican Border to Manning Park, British Columbia about 8 miles north of the US/Canadian border.

pct_overview_1pgMap from http://www.pctmap.net

Along the way, the PCT traverses some of the most scenic land in the US, including 25 national forests, 7 national parks, and 34 wilderness areas.  The trail can be divided into 5 regions:

Southern California – Mile 0 to 702:  The first section is primarily marked by desert extremes.  Highs occasionally rise above 100 degrees with lows potentially below freezing.  Highlights include climbing over 9000 ft in the San Jacinto Mountains, crossing part of the Mojave Desert, and traversing the Tehachapi Mountains.

Central California – Mile 702 to 1197:  The Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Some of the highest and most beautiful country in the lower 48.  The trail climbs over 13,000 ft at Forester Pass and gets close enough to Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft) for a day hike to the summit.  This section traverses Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks.

Northern California – Mile 1197 to 1699:  In this section, the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada give way to lower mountains of the Southern Cascades.  Highlights in this section include Lassen Volcanic National Park, Burney Falls, the Trinity Alps Wilderness and the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

Oregon – Mile 1699 to 2155:  This section is dominated by the numerous volcanoes making up the Cascade range.  Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters along with Crater Lake National Park are all impressive formations along this section of trail.  Forests in this section get thicker and shadier thanks to the increased rain fall.

Washington – Mile 2155 to 2660:  The final section of trail is marked by thick forests and steep, craggy mountains.  This section can be one of the toughest even for well seasoned hikers.  Mt. Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, the Goat Rocks Wilderness, and the Glacier Peak Wilderness are many of the highlights along the way.

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