Five Must See Destinations on the PCT

October 3, 2018

Mt Baden-Powell

Take this nine-mile (round-trip) trek to the summit of Mount Baden-Powell beautifully rested in the San Gabriel Mountains. This favored hike isn’t necessarily for the novice hiker, about 4.5 miles has a grueling incline of more than 2,800 feet. The summit is pervaded with switchbacks, that keep your quads burning and questioning your sanity. Once you work for it, the top is riddled pine trees that have been flourishing there for over a millennium.

Mt Whitney

The sunrises and sunsets on Mt Whitney are indescribable. You trek the PCT or hike in through the Mt Whitney portal near Lone Pine, CA. Whitney is the highest summit in the lower-48 at 14,505 ft elevation. Mt. Whitney lies on the boundary of Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park.

Depending on the route you take, Whitney is either a 10.7 mile or 13-mile climb to its summit. The trailhead is at 8,360 feet. So you’re looking at a 6,000-foot hike. Technically it’s not on the PCT, but it’s part of the John Muir Trail which coincides with the PCT.  

Crater Lake

A giant lake in south-central Oregon, Crater Lake fills a 2,148 ft caldera that crowns it the deepest lake in the United States. It ranks ninth, in the world, for maximum depth. Crater Lake was around 7,700 years ago as a result of the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. No rivers are flowing through the lake, making it utterly contingent on rain and snowfall to compensate for evaporation. Crater Lake is known for its “Old Man in the Lake.” The Old Man is a 30-foot-tree trunk that has been bobbing in the lake for over a century.

Forester Pass

Since Mt. Whitney, technically isn’t part of the PCT, Forester Pass is the highest elevation of this beautiful trail. At 13,200 feet Forester is notorious for making PCTer’s strongly consider going off trail. It’s right after Mt. Whitney, but it’s site are arguably more magnificent. Before crossing the path, you’ll have your onions tested as you ford Wallace, Wright and Tyndall Rivers.

Before heading through this terrain, remember why you set out in the first place. Sometimes the trail is buried, and snow and mental and physical bog will have your mind playing tricks on you; i.e., thing suncups are footprints (sometimes they’re both, I’ve stuck my leg down some deep suncups, and that will ruin your weekend). Keep an excellence attitude an understand this is one of the best views on a trail where nothing is given.

Kearsarge Pass

Arguably the second best views on Trail (the Sierras are definitely what put this trail on the map). Kearsarge sees a summit at 11,079. I got my dumbass lost around Bull Frog lake, but it was worth it. The trailhead to the pass wastes zero time, punching you in the mouth with insane inclines to start your hike. Everything about this pass will test your endurance, and the pay off will slap you in the face; as it catches you off guard.

The switchbacks make you feel like you’re never going to reach the summit as they are frequent and steep. Make sure you bring water, carbs, protein and an attitude that made you show up in the first place. If you start to cry, it’s the onions in Onion Valley.