Along with the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the "Big 3" National Scenic Trails. It runs 2655 miles from Mexico to Canada, through the Sonoran & Mojave deserts, and then over the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. The PCT crosses California, Oregon and Washington, and passes through 24 national forests, 7 national parks and 33 wilderness areas.
We report FKTs for trips of various style on the entire PCT, and for particular segments. Anyone wishing to attempt an FKT on the full PCT (in particular) should pay special attention to the style of previous trips as the standards for the PCT are slightly different from some other routes. One should also carefully consider whether "alternate routes" are to be used for sections closed for fire or other reasons. This is a highly controversial topic, and different positions are laid out in the discussion on our old site and elsewhere. These days it seems that there are always "required" detours, where you can be liable for a big fine if you violate the closures. Most people have taken detours, though Scott Williamson, at least, was adamant about walking every step on the "official" PCT (no detours). As always the most important thing is to report exactly what you did in terms of style and route. We strongly recommend that anyone who is considering an FKT attempt on the PCT should carefully read through this entire thread to understand the nuances and controversies.
The PCT is usually done in typical thru-hiker style, which we would classify as "self-supported" -- rather than having a dedicated support crew, the hiker may use mail drops, facilities in towns along the way, and the kindness of strangers. Technically, any pre-arranged support such as friends meeting you along the trail with supplies would be considered "supported". Also, for Self-Supported trips, the ethic of walking in and out of all resupply points has become standard - i.e., you may not get into a vehicle for any reason.
Nice overview map here.
Hi, Jupiter here. Just wanting to claim my intentions publicly for this year that I will be attempting to break the self supported yoyo fastest known time on the Pacific Crest Trail set by Eric D in 2007 in a continuous 5,300 miles hike from Mexico to Canada then back to Mexico. Scott Williamson in 2006 completed this feat in 191 days besting his first successful hike, while Eric finished in 183 days just a year after. The later number is my aim. My intention is to do it in the same style Scott has coined over many long hikes in the past, as a backpacker carrying all of my food water and equipment between towns, without vehicle support following me up the trail or meeting me in any fashion, while also walking in and out of all my town stops. Should any of that change, or I deviate from in a subtle way I'll be honest about doing so. I will follow the official route of the PCT the entire way but in the likely event of a closure for fire or otherwise will take an official detour as Joe/Karel did on their supported hikes. I will not be carrying a spot or inreach, which I guess you guys can argue with me later if someone finds my documentation to be lacking, that is ok and this whole thing will just be for me as ultimately I do this because I love to and deeply want to. As for the speed aspect it is also just something I love. I post here to you all out of respect for those who come before me, and paved the way, cracking the code, and solving the puzzle. I'm not the first, and won't be the last but thank dearly everyone who makes this possible, and has inspired me over the years.
As I hike I will update most to instagram, but also will post photos or story to facebook, blog, and youtube whenever I find I have time which should be pretty often. I plan on documenting the journey heavily which will hopefully help later with any sort of verification. If you're interested in following I don't think I'm too difficult to find.
In 2016 I hiked the 4,800 mile Eastern Continental Trail in a very similar style without much vehicle assistance, and even ending with an FKT on the Florida Trail. This yoyo of the PCT is what I dreamt about while out east, culminating in an obsession for the next year, and the deep planning of for the past 9 months.
I start May 10
ps I'd say see you out there Shiggy, but I think that would mean one of our attempts went wrong!! So here goes, goodluck.
"Shiggy" sent the following comment: Hi, I am going to follow Jupiter's example and state my plan on this new website too. As Jupiter I will try FKT for PCT yo-yo in the same style like him. I will start 05/22 and will use Garmin In reach set at 30 min. intervals (limited by battery).Also will take selfies at important points like trail junctions as far from closest road as possible. I will try to ask for emails from fellow hikers but that is not very good. P.S. Jupiter, hope to see you somewhere in Washington!
NOTE: Shiggy quit after about 1000 miles, having lost too much weight.
Starting June 17th, 2018 I will begin my journey in attempting to beat the current self-supported FKT on the PCT (Northbound) held by Heather "Anish" Anderson. I will be doing it "thru-hiker style" as Scott Williamson laid out in his 2008 FKT - no support crew, *no vehicles, using mail drops, and picking up food and supplies in towns along the way. There are fire closures this year so I will take the the official detours. I will be tracking my trip with a SPOT device and a GPS watch which I will be uploading to Strava. * NOTE Regarding Vehicles: It's my goal to never use a vehicle, however, in the event of an emergency due to illness, injury, or in dire need of food / supplies, I may take a ride in a vehicle. If so, I will then return to the exact same spot I left the trail and continue on. I will set a marker of the location using my SPOT device for when/where I leave the trail and also when I return. I This method is used and accepted durning most ultra-marathons in which there is a high level of risk (i.e. Badwater 135). In the event of a fire closure where no walkable alternative is available (i.e. Eagle Creek Fire Closure) I may need to take a vehicle then. In this instance I will hitchhike or take a shuttle, whichever is recommended by the PCTA. No vehicle will be pre-arranged as I would consider that to be supported.
Currious- what are the restrictions on using a food resupply service, such as the Sonora Pass Resupply (paid service that delivers a box to you on the trail at Sonora Pass, where resupply options are otherwise poor)? Would using such a service make your hike no longer "self supported"?
The guiding principle of self supported is that you can use whatever is available to everyone, and that is commonly used. A paid resupply service that is available to anyone would be fine. Paying your friend to bring food for you would not. I think you could get into a gray area if you use some kind of service that isn't commonly used. I could imagine a person getting a food drop by helicopter and claiming that's available to anyone, but to me that's obviously supported. I guess when in doubt find out what Williamson did!
Unfortunately, I most likely won't be attempting the FKT this year. On my way out to the trail I got an appendicitis and needed immediate surgery. It may be too late to start by the time I heal up and get my fitness back.
Buongiorno a tutti,
sono qui per avvisare riguardo la mia partenza il 15 giugno e le mie intenzioni nel tentare di battere il record esistenti ora per percorso yo-yo dal Messico al Canada e di nuovo al Messico. Potenzialmente cercherò di battere anche il record “southbound”. Il tutto lo farò in modo “selfsupported” quindi avrò il necessario sempre con me e mi affiderò ad alimentarI o supermercati per i miei rifornimenti di alimentari ed eventualmente acqua qualora non sia disponibile da risorse naturali, fontane pubbliche o simili.
Nel eventualità di deviazioni dovute ad incendi o qualsiasi altro motivo seguirò là deviazione ufficiale qualsiasi essa sia. Cercherò di documentare tramite Instagram (lorenzofrancosantin) o Facebook ( Lorenzo Franco Santin Photos ) gli avvenimenti e quant’altro io ritenga interessante e/o opportuno.
Lo stile scelto prevede che io raggiunga qualsiasi punto di rifornimento completamente a piedi,pertanto, l’eventuale salita su un auto, mezzo pubblico o simili, bicicletta, skate, e più in generale qualsiasi altro mezzo decreterà l’annullamento immediato del tentativo in corso.
Utilizzerò un dispositivo Garmin InReach è questo sarà il link ( eur-share.inreach.garmin.com/lorenzofrancosantin )tramite la quale sarà possibile seguirmi con aggiornamenti ogni mezz’ora. Di notte o quando starò dormendo spegnerò il dispositivo.
The fabled PCT Long Distance Permit will be back for 2021, after being cancelled in 2020. If you are interested in the PCT, you really need to apply for this on January 19 (and only January 19!) It is possible to do the PCT with permits for each jurisdiction, but that would total a mind-fuddling 20 permits.
Clay Evan wrote this outstanding article on permitting the 3 US long trails - a must-read for anyone considering the big 3.