Description - Zigzagging its way from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) boasts the greatest elevation changes of any of America's National Scenic Trails, allowing it to pass through six out of seven of North America's ecozones including high and low desert, old-growth forest and artic-alpine country. Indeed, the PCT is a trail of diversity and extremes. From scorching desert valleys in Southern California to rain forests in the Pacific Northwest, the PCT offers hikers and equestrians a unique, varied experience.
- Located within driving distance of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle, the PCT is both easily accessible and blissfully wild at the same time. Whether you'd like to explore the PCT for weeks on end, or just a weekend, it offers the best of the West - the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada and Mt. Whitney, Yosemite National Park, Marble Mountain and the Russian Wilderness in Northern California, the volcanoes of the Cascades including Mt. Shasta and Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Rainier, and the remote Northern Cascades.
Each year, an average of 300 hikers attempt to cover the full length of the PCT. Thousands of other hikers and equestrians enjoy this national treasure each year, some traveling only a few miles in the course of a day hike.
To learn more, visit the descriptions of the PCT's five distinct sections (Southern California, Central California, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington) on the linked web pages.
Recreation - Hikers and equestrians use this extraordinary trail.
Whether you visit the PCT for a few hours or for a few weeks you'll surely find a uniquely Western scene that will rejuvenate, inspire and surprise you. Two thousand six hundred and fifty miles of
adventure and discovery are waiting.
Climate - A Mediterranean type climate predominates throughout California, with most of the precipitation occurring between the months of November and April. The climate varies with elevation and proximity to the coast. The lower elevations experience relatively warm to hot temperatures year round, with rain much more frequent in the winter months than in the summer months. The high elevations experience cold temperatures and receive heavy snow during the winter.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.
Pacific Crest Trail Association, 5325 Elkhorn Blvd., PMB# 256
, Sacramento, CA, 95842-2526, Phone: 916-349-2109, Fax: 916-349-1268
Angeles National Forest
- The Angeles National Forest encompasses much of the San Gabriel Mountain on the northern edge of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It serves as the backyard playground for many Los Angeles residents.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
- With over 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas.
- California is an outdoor recreation paradise. The state's size and tremendous diversity create an array of outdoor recreation opportunities that may be unmatched in North America.
California National Forests & Parks
- California's National Parks, Monuments and Forests cover lands from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Castle Crags State Park
- The park is named for 6,000-feet glacier-polished crags. It offers swimming and fishing in the Sacramento River, hiking in the back country, and a view of Mount Shasta
Cleveland National Forest
- The Cleveland National Forest lies in Southern California stretching from the San Diego area, northward to the Orange and Riverside County urban areas. Visitors can find solitude and escape from the busy life of the nearby cities.
- The Desert Region encompasses the southeast corner of California. It features Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks. The region is studded with glittering yet relaxing resort cities, offers the ideal spot for re-energizing your senses.
Eldorado National Forest
- The Eldorado is located in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. It extends from the foothills into the rugged Sierra Nevada high country southwest of Lake Tahoe.
Gold Country Region
- The Gold Country Region lies in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. With its remnants of the gold rush era, pastoral towns, Sierra foothills, recreational and cultural activities, this region is filled with opportunities.
High Sierra Region
Inland Empire Region
- The Inland Empire lies between the coast and the deserts of Southern California. The Inland Empire offers soaring mountains, alpine lakes, historic sites, lush vineyards and colorful entertainment.
Inyo National Forest
- The Inyo National Forest is a unique and special area of public land located along the eastern edge of California and the Sierra Nevada. It extends 165 miles, from the Mono Lake area, south beyond the Owens Valley.
Klamath National Forest
- The Klamath National Forest of northwest California offers backcountry solitude, clear streams and lakes, and portions of the Klamath River.
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
- Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe's beautiful, sapphire-blue waters straddle the California-Nevada state line. The lake's elevation averages 6,225 ft, and surrounding peaks reach heights of up to 10,880 ft.
Lake Tahoe Region
- Lake Tahoe lies in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling the California-Nevada state line. It is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the United States, offering almost endless recreation opportunities.
Lassen National Forest
- Lassen National Forest lies in a fascinating part of California. This part of northeast California is where the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, the Modoc Plateau and the Great Basin meet.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
- This site protects Lassen Peak, an active volcano which erupted intermittently from 1914 to 1921. Other active volcanic features in the park include hot springs, steaming fumaroles, mud pots and sulfurous vents.
Los Angeles County
- Los Angeles County stretches over 4,000 square miles, encompassing high deserts, sparkling beaches, snowy peaks, and meandering megalopolis.
McArthur-Burney Falls State Park
- The park is within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region, with 910 acres of forest and five miles of streamside and lake shoreline, including a portion of Lake Britton.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
- Most of Mount San Jacinto State Park is wilderness, containing three mountain peaks, higher than 10,000 feet in elevation. The mountains high points offer spectacular views of nearby desert and mountain ranges.
- Pasadena lies at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains at an elevation of 865 feet. It is located northeast of Los Angeles and immediately south of the Angeles National Forest.
Plumas National Forest
- The Plumas National Forest is located in Northern California between the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Ranges. The Plumas offers tree covered mountains, high alpine lakes and miles of clear running streams.
San Bernardino National Forest
- The San Bernardino National Forest lies in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California at the east end of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
San Diego County
- With its rich Hispanic heritage, temperate climate, deep sea habors, sandy beaches and a variety of fun-filled attractions, San Diego County is quintessential California.
Santa Ana River Trail
- In 1955 the Santa Ana River was recommended to the State Parks Commission as a multipurpose recreation area. Since that time, the river corridor has been viewed by many as an important regional recreation and open space resource.
Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park
- A few of the attractions in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park include groves of giant sequoias, Mineral King Valley and Mount Whitney.
Sequoia National Forest
- The Sequoia National Forest lies at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada. It takes its name from the giant sequoia, the world's largest tree, which grows in more than 30 groves on the forest's lower slopes.
Shasta Cascade Region
- The Shasta Cascade Region of northeast California is a land of dense conifer forests, volcanic landscapes, and few people. It features five national forests, five state parks, four state historic parks, and two state recreation areas.
Shasta-Trinity National Forests
- The Shasta-Trinity National Forests are located in north-central California and headquartered in the city of Redding. The Forests are home to some outstanding natural and geologic features.
Sierra National Forest
- The Sierra National Forest lies in Central California, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, bordering the south end of Yosemite National Park. Terrain varies from rolling foothills to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada crest.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area
- Silverwood Lake was formed by the 249-foot Cedar Springs Dam. At 3,350 feet, it is the highest reservoir in the State Water Project.
Stanislaus National Forest
- The Stanislaus lies in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains in east-central California, between the Mokelumne and the Merced Rivers. It is headquartered in the town of Sonora.
Tahoe National Forest
- The Tahoe National Forest straddles the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains in northern California, and encompasses a vast territory from the foothills on the western slope to the high peaks of the Sierra crest.
Toiyabe National Forest
- The Toiyabe National Forest is located mostly in Nevada, with a portion also in California. Sections of the Forest stretch from Lake Tahoe and Reno, south to the Las Vegas area.
Yosemite National Park
- Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of the Sierra Nevada among groves of giant sequoias, wildflower meadows, mountains, lakes and waterfalls.
Pacific Crest Trail Association - Official PCTA website