The Pacific Crest Trail (commonly referred to as the PCT, and occasionally designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail) is a long-distance mountain hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, and its northern terminus is in British Columbia, Canada; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,663 mi (4,286 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon-Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.
It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, although it was not officially completed until 1993. The PCT was conceived by Clinton C. Clarke in 1932; however it was not given official status until the National Trails System Act of 1968.
Thousands of hikers and equestrians enjoy this national treasure each year. Some only travel a few miles, while others complete every mile in a single season!
The route is mostly through National Forest and—where possible—protected wilderness. The trail avoids civilization, and covers scenic and pristine mountainous terrain with few roads. It passes through the Laguna, San Jacinto, San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Liebre, Tehachapi, Sierra Nevada, and Klamath ranges in California, and the Cascade Range in California, Oregon, and Washington states.
A parallel route for bicycles, the Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail (PCBT) is a 2,500 mile route designed to closely parallel the PCT on roads. The PCT and PCBT cross in about 27 places along their routes.