Pacific Crest Trail

I am looking to do a section of the PCT later this year, (Sept.) I am unable to do full length of the trail, I need to work on Fitness & eating healthy, I am overweight & out shape.

Curious if anyone has done the trail themselves? How far ? what type of Training did you do before hand ?


  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    I volunteer with PCTA to do maintenance between Grasshopper and Harts Passes, in Washington. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The usual advice is to train for thru hiking by walking up and down hills with a moderately heavy backpack. Ideally the one you'll hike with. This is called "specificity," the idea being that almost any exercise will help you, but the closer it is to what you actually need to accomplish, the more beneficial. Hiking is probably different from what you can do near home because you'll have uneven ground with rocks, roots, and fallen trees to deal with.

    I'm assuming you already hike and camp. If not, you'll also need to get used to sleeping on the ground. You're probably going to use an air mattress and this may take some getting used to.

    What section are you going to hike? Do you have your dates planned yet?
  • Psychgrrl
    Psychgrrl Posts: 3,167 Member
    Train for it, the time to find out your physical fitness doesn't match the distance or terrain is not while you're on the trail. You don't mention your hiking experience. If you're new to hiking, this might not be the best first Big Hike. I've never done it, but folks in my hiking group have. I'm also an experienced hiker.
    • Determine the part of the trail and determine if you need to apply for a permit. The registration helps with safety (rangers know where you plan to be when). There are day hikes (not just PCT) in SoCal where permits are required.
    • Last June when we did San Gorgonio, when we came back down, folks on their way up said Rangers were holding folks at the start of the trailhead due to too much traffic on the trail.
    • Figure out what gear you need. Be sure and consider water availability and needs, as well as where you can send and pick up supplies, or buy them.
    • Emergency plans, such as satellite phone/emergency beacon, where your medical insurance is viable, etc.
    • Develop a safety plan and check-ins.
    • Train with the weight equivalent for the miles/day you'll be hiking (build up to that). Be sure and consider altitude, and weather at altitude. I used a stair climber to help with San Gorgonio, I am physically/aerobically fit and it was a 20 mile hike with peak elevation at 11,600 feet. I had a lot more water than usual and water is heavy. I had an empty bottle with built-in filtration I used as well.
    • We hiked Cucamonga Peak last year (Memorial Day weekend) and the Ranger was warning everyone as they started there was snow the night before. The trail from the saddle to the peak was always kind of sketchy, and it was even more so after the fires. That hike was our first one back on that trail since the fires (it has been closed). But, none of us had our microspikes with us.
    • Check maps/blogs/etc. for trail closures/damage due to fires. It's a thing, at least in SoCal. Figure it could be an issue up and down the west coast.

    Combo fitness/trail prep post. :smile: Good luck!!!
  • Theoldguy1
    Theoldguy1 Posts: 2,270 Member
    I am looking to do a section of the PCT later this year, (Sept.) I am unable to do full length of the trail, I need to work on Fitness & eating healthy, I am overweight & out shape.

    Curious if anyone has done the trail themselves? How far ? what type of Training did you do before hand ?

    So when you say "overweight and our of shape", what in general are we talking? Can you walk 10 miles on a flat surface without a pack or does a mile get you out of breath? Makes a significant impact on how your question about training is answered.
  • 2006platform17
    2006platform17 Posts: 4 Member
    I have lived in Oregon 3/4 of my life, 1/4 in Washington...I have Camped/Hiked alot in younger years.b4 kids.. I'm used to sleeping in tents & on ground, I prefer to actually camp ..not one to worry about curling irons or blow dryers ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
    It has been about 12 years for any camping or hiking.. mostly lack of time or money
    Hiking experience would now be considered beginner.
    I'm about 40 lbs overweight.& 54 years old I work in an assisted living facility,2 floors & I take stairs most of time.I am fairly active, I just work hellish hours. ๐Ÿ˜
    I do plan to refresh some Old skills..๐Ÿ˜Š. & gain new ones as well..
    Was looking at September, early on. just a section at this time fairly short..
    In Oregon,most likely from Mt. Theilson are head north to Santiam pass. ..that's about 60 miles ? Hoping to do in about 3-4 days , going with friends as well.
    I can walk 10 miles without a pack ..yes.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
    but then also brings up this whose pace am I going ? Each person walks or hikes at different paces.I am more in-between..I can shift to high gear if needed..or slower. the higher pace doesn't last as long as I would like .....for now...that's why I want to train some before I go..๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ŠI appreciate your comments & will take them under advisement... Thank you
    Would appreciate it if any other Advice is given ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  • 2006platform17
    2006platform17 Posts: 4 Member
    I drive my Husband nuts during the Summer..๐Ÿ˜I sleep in backyard on ground watching stars.(Weather permitting ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜)
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,903 Member
    Do you have the elevation profile from Theilson to Santiam? ๐Ÿ™‚
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,379 Member
    That's not a very exciting section of the PCT, but it isn't all that difficult either. Lots of horses, IIRC. Lots of little lakes but not much in the way of views. The area in the Three Sisters Wilderness is a more scenic part of the PCT in Oregon, but it also gets very crowded.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,888 Member
    I did a little section in Oregon years and years ago. We did a loop in section D starting and ending at Shelter Cove. My buddies and I were fairly avid backpackers and hikers at the time and it was pretty easy hiking. We were mainly looking for a relaxing long weekend of hiking and camping and beautiful scenery rather than a huge challenge. There were plenty of opportunities for water and good camping and not a whole lot of up and down elevation changes...just a really nice long weekend traversing a beautiful area. We looped back to Shelter Cove on the OST. As I recall, it was about 50 miles round trip and we were out for four days with three nights of camping.

    I did this with some buddies of mine. We were all pretty avid weekend hikers with plenty of local hiking opportunities here in New Mexico. A lot of the hikes here involve a lot of elevation change and are very difficult, and prior to our Oregon trip we had been tackling 14ers in Colorado. I was also relatively fresh from discharge from the Marine Corps, so I was in pretty good shape in general and well versed in long rucks. We also kept it pretty mellow at around 10-12 miles per day or so. I still do enough hiking that I likely wouldn't have any problem with that section now other than I haven't packed in quite a number of years now so I'd need to do a bit of training with a full pack. I want to go packing. I should talk to my wife, we've been talking about getting back into backpacking some now that our kids are a bit older and capable...they are however spoiled as we do a ton of camping, but they've never known anything other than our little single axle travel trailer.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,621 Member
    You can pick up a bunch of Don'ts from "Wild" :lol: