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Online Resources for PCT Planning

Last update: 05/30/2011 09:55 AM.

General Information

Trip Planning Guides

Maps and Guidebooks

  • Custom Topographic Maps for the Pacific Crest Trail - On the Hiker Trash Heaven home page, click "free topo maps" to see the detailed maps prepared by Tony Nitz.
  • Pacific Crest Trail CD-ROM includes pictures, mileage tables, elevation profiles, water sources, resupply information, and topographic maps of the entire route
  • Halfmile's PCT map site offers free printable maps for the entire PCT, along with GPS waypoints, GPS tracks, TOPO! files, and Google Earth files.
  • OnTheTrail has topo maps for southern California.
  • Pacific Crest Trail Atlas is a new series of small, light guidebooks that include just the essential information for finding your way. The creator is 2007 PCT thru hiker Erik the Black.

Current Trail Conditions

Historical Weather Conditions Along the Trail

The Weathercarrot wrote on PCT-L "Among others, the Western Regional Climate Center [links below] has some of the most extensive historical temp and precip data. A surprisingly large percentage of trail towns are represented there, as well as many of the major developed passes (such as Stevens Pass)."

David Plotnikoff writes, "the CA Dept. of Water Resources has all its snow and river monitors, plus other weather stations, networked on the Web. It's very simple to look at a station near or on the trail and examine the historic highs, lows, rain, snow for any month in any year going back sometimes to the 50s. The form online isn't perfectly intuitive. You'll have to play with it. Essentially, you give it a date range, a sensor number and the type of data you want and it plots it graphically. This has been VERY helpful to me in planning for typical nighttime low temps, knowing when a section of trail might be reasonably clear of snow, what the chance of rain is on a certain section during a certain week or month of the year, etc ... And, as everyone else here has already emphasized: Every year is different. Historic performance is no indicator of future conditions. But you knew that."


Trail Journals

Read about other hikers' adventures -- and document your own.

Trail Angels and Other Places to Stop Along the Way

From south to north:

And check out these lists too:


  • Adventure 16 - Southern California-based retailer of high-quality gear for backpacking and other outdoor pursuits
  • AntiGravityGear - Proprieter Tin Man says, "AntiGravityGear provides quality ultralight backpacking gear such as Pepsi can alcohol stoves, pot cozys, blaze orange survival bandanas, headlamps and cooking pots."
  • Fanatic Fringe - High quality outdoor gear for the ultralight fanatic, including packs, quilts, and more
  • Gossamer Gear - Ultralight packs and information for lightweight backpacking from ADZPCTKO patron and ultralight innovator Glen Van Peski
  • Leki - Trekking poles
  • LuxuryLite Gear - Unique lightweight external frame packs
  • Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics - if you want to make your own
  • Pak-Lite - Tiny LED flashlights
  • Six Moon Designs - Innovative ultralight tents and packs from Ron "Fallingwater" Moak
  • Tarptent - Henry Shires sells improved versions of the tarp/tent he made for his 1999 PCT hike, or you can make your own using his free plans 
  • The LED Light - LED flashlights and LED components for those who want to build their own
  • Thru-Hiker - Gear and resources for long distance hikers
  • Ultralight Adventure Equipment - PCT '99 veteran Brian Frankle says, "We provide comfortable and functional equipment for veterans of ultralight travel, and for those who just cut the handle off their toothbrush."