how to become a travel pct

Hiking The Pacific Crest TrailSource:

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a dream for many people. The 2,650-mile trail runs from the border of Mexico to Canada, through California, Oregon, and Washington. It offers breathtaking views of mountains, forests, and deserts, as well as a unique opportunity to disconnect from the modern world and connect with nature.

Becoming a travel PCT requires planning, preparation, and dedication. In this article, we will guide you through the steps you need to take to make your dream a reality.

Step 1: Research and Plan

Plan Your Hike PctSource:

The first step to becoming a travel PCT is to research and plan your hike. You need to decide when you want to go, how long you want to hike for, and which direction you want to travel. You also need to research the trail, its conditions, and its regulations. The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) website is a great resource for this.

You should also plan your resupply points, where you will get food and water along the trail. This requires careful planning and organization, as well as a good understanding of your hiking abilities and needs.

Step 2: Get in Shape

Hiking In ShapeSource:

The second step to becoming a travel PCT is to get in shape. Hiking the PCT is physically demanding, and you need to be in good shape to be able to complete it. You should start training several months in advance, focusing on cardiovascular endurance, core strength, and lower body strength.

You should also practice hiking with a backpack, gradually increasing the weight and distance until you are comfortable hiking with the weight you will carry on the PCT.

Step 3: Get the Right Gear

Hiking GearSource:

The third step to becoming a travel PCT is to get the right gear. This includes clothing, footwear, backpack, shelter, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and other essentials. You should invest in high-quality, durable gear that is suitable for the conditions you will encounter on the trail.

You should also test your gear before you go, making sure that it is comfortable, functional, and fits you properly. You don’t want to discover any issues while you’re on the trail.

Step 4: Obtain Permits

Pct PermitSource:

The fourth step to becoming a travel PCT is to obtain permits. You need several permits to hike the PCT, including a long-distance permit from the PCTA, a California fire permit, and possibly permits for specific areas or parks along the trail.

You should apply for these permits well in advance, as they can take several months to process. You should also make sure you understand the rules and regulations of each permit, as they can vary depending on the issuing agency.

Step 5: Leave No Trace

Leave No TraceSource:

The fifth step to becoming a travel PCT is to leave no trace. This means minimizing your impact on the environment and leaving the trail as you found it. You should carry out all your trash, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing wildlife and vegetation.

You should also respect the rights of other hikers and follow the rules of the trail. This will help preserve the PCT for future generations to enjoy.


Becoming a travel PCT is a challenging but rewarding experience. By following these steps, you can prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime. With careful planning, hard work, and a love of nature, you can make your dream of hiking the PCT a reality.

FAQ Answer
Do I need hiking experience to hike the PCT? While hiking experience is helpful, it is not necessarily required. However, you should be in good physical shape and be prepared for the challenges of hiking long distances every day.
How long does it take to hike the PCT? The average time to hike the PCT is around 5-6 months, although some people complete it in less time and others take longer.
What is the best time of year to hike the PCT? The best time to hike the PCT is typically between April and September, although this can vary depending on the weather and other factors. You should research the conditions for the specific time you plan to hike.
What kind of wildlife can I expect to see on the PCT? You may encounter a variety of wildlife on the PCT, including bears, mountain lions, deer, and smaller animals like squirrels and chipmunks. You should be prepared to store your food and garbage properly to avoid attracting animals.
Do I need a hiking partner to hike the PCT? While it is not necessary to have a hiking partner, many people prefer to hike with someone else for safety and companionship. You should consider your own preferences and abilities when deciding whether to hike alone or with a partner.