Zigzagging 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) spans three states, crossing national forests, national parks and monuments, Bureau of Land Management lands, federally designated wilderness areas, state and county parks and tribal lands along the way. It ascends more than 57 major mountain passes and skirts the shores of innumerable bodies of water. Temperatures can top 100 degrees F. in the deserts and drop below freezing in the mountains.
The trail's lowest point is 140 feet above sea level at the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington; its highest is 13,200 feet at Forester Pass in California's Sierra Nevada. The PCT encompasses the greatest elevation range of any National Scenic Trail, traversing six of North America?s seven ecozones: alpine tundra (above timberline); subalpine forest; upper montane forest; lower montane forest; upper Sonoran (oak woodland, chaparral/grassland); and lower Sonoran (Mojave/Sonoran deserts).
The PCT weaves through the habitat of rattlesnakes, salamanders, eagles, roadrunners, coyotes, marmots, bear, elk, mountain goats, bobcats, cougars, and a myriad of other species. The trail is designated for pedestrian and equestrian traffic; bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted.
Within easy driving distance of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle, the PCT is easily accessible and magnificently untamed. From yucca and cactus in southern California to chartreuse alpine lichen in the Sierra Nevada, from lava flows in Oregon to glaciers in Washington, the PCT provides a unique opportunity to experience the diversity of terrain, flora, and fauna that is characteristic of the western United States.