30 days til start: What is the Pacific Crest Trail

First, it’s incredible that I only have 30 days until I will be AT THE SOUTHERN TERMINUS! That is incredible, and at the same time, it still doesn’t ‘feel’ like anything major.

I remember reading Wired’s 1 countdown blog posts, and I thought they were an amazing way to introduce and bring people into her world. She (and now I) was about to take people with her on her journey, so I’m going to do that!

Today, let’s learn about the trail and some of its history.

The trail is 2,650 miles long, starting at the border of Mexico and California. It spans California, Oregon, and Washington, ending at the border of Washington state and Canada. For comparison, if driving, it’s only 1,418 miles.

It passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. The midpoint is near Chester, CA (mile 1325), where the Cascade and Sierra mountain ranges meet.

History of the PCT

In 1993, just two years before Cheryl Strayed’s storied adventure, Wild, a “golden spike” ceremony was held in Soledad Canyon (mi 444.5), California, signifying the completion of the trail. However, the history starts much earlier.

  • In 1926, Catherine Montgomery filed a proposal (the first known record) for a trail through California, Oregon, and Washington.
  • In 1968, the Pacific Crest Trail was designated as a National Scenic Trail.
  • In 1988, monuments were placed at the southern terminus and northern terminus.

Source: pcta.org, Wikipedia

  1. Wired is a thru-hiker who has hiked several thousand miles over her ‘thru-hiking career.’ She started her career by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, ultimately stopping the thru-hike career around 2018. ↩︎