Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail is a unique educational and recreational treasure and one of the finest trails anywhere in the world. The PCT reveals the West’s unique blend of environs and beauty.

Untold thousands are deeply devoted to the trail. For many the PCT has become a way of life. Their stories are compelling and little known.

The trail spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through three western states: California, Oregon and Washington.

It starts near Campo, CA and ends on the US border at Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia (see maps).

  • First proposed by Catherine Montgomery in 1926 and championed by Clinton C. Clarke in the 1930s.
  • Designated as one of the first National Scenic Trails in 1968, along with the Appalachian Trail.
  • Crosses 26 National Forests, 7 National Parks, 5 State Parks and 4 National Monuments.
  • Approximately 200 miles of the PCT are on private land.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people use the trail each year.
  • It takes the average thru-hiker about five months to walk the entire trail. They leave Mexico in April or May and reach Canada at the end of September. Fewer than 5% of hikers go southbound.
  • The trail is a hiker and equestrian trail. A small number of hardy horseback riders have ridden the entire trail.

PCTA basics

The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as a world-class experience for hikers and equestrians, and for all the values provided by wild and scenic lands. Read more…

  • Formed in 1977 with the merger of the Pacific Crest Trail Conference and the Pacific Crest Club.
  • 9000+ members and donors.
  • 1700+ volunteers, 118,000+ hours, 360+ projects a year
  • Has a Memorandum of Understanding public agencies to manage the trail.
  • Major partner of the US Forest Service in managing the trail.
  • Best ways to give: or 916-285-1846
  • A main office in Sacramento, CA and five regional offices harbor 17 full-time staff.
  • A fourteen member Board of Directors provides leadership and governance.

PCTA focus areas

  • The Pacific Crest Trail Association preserves, protects and promotes the trail.
  • Develop and maintain an optimal PCT.
  • Engage and support volunteers to steward the trail.
  • Train volunteers in trail maintenance.
  • Construct and maintain PCT to standard and install signage.
  • Advocate for the PCT on the local, state and federal levels.
  • Work with agency and industry partners to support the trail.
  • Respond to and manage wildfire and other closures.
  • Respond to threats to the trail, including logging, illegal trespass and development proposals.
  • Protect the trail through land acquisition and easements.

Trail work volunteer opportunities are available along the entire length of the PCT. The PCTA is a leader in providing free, high quality trail work opportunities. Experienced crew leaders train all volunteers, and provide food, water, tools, instruction, and supervision. We have lots of volunteer opportunities and appreciate the media mentioning them. Please email for a list of upcoming volunteer projects in your market area.


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