Explore PCT - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.


I did small potion only 13 mile of the trail , it was great weather today 10/21/18 and fantastic view

Just spent the weekend on this trail. Fishing was amazing at the Kearsage Lakes! Hiking in from onion valley was rough but a huge accomplishment when we reached the top of the pass. The decent into the Kearsage Lakes from the pass is very fast. When we packed out it only took us 3 hours because most of this 11 miles is down hill on the onion valley side. This was my first time backpacking in the Seirras and coming from the east coast this trip was a real eye opener. I would recommend this trail to anyone that thinks they can tough it out. Weather is getting a bit cold this time of year now. Low’s were in the teens at night and there was some snow at about 10,000 feet.

One of my favorite hikes!

AMAZING! Pack warm though. We actually got snowed on. By far one of the best backpacking trips I've ever done.

Day hike to Kearsarge Lakes after three inches of fresh overnight pow. The trail is super gradual and easy on the knees as you climb to Kearsarge Pass (compared to other high elevation trails in California). Don’t stop at the pass! Descend to the lakes and be treated to the reflection of the mountains towering above you. Definitely in my top three favorite hikes.

Hiked it in sections on the weekends. It took 8.5 days, 2 3-day trips, 1 2 day trip and a half day to Cajon Pass from the 138. The highlight was seeing a bear just before we dropped down to White Water Preserve. Water is scarce on the North side of Big Bear Lake. We did a water drop at our half way point. It was sad to see Deep Creek so full of trash and graffiti.

extremely beautiful and moderate traffic. plenty of water along the way. most of the trail is hardpacked and easy terrain. everyone on the trail was very friendly.

We loved this hike!!! My Hubby and I set out for a 5 mile hike so we only went to Flower Lake

Not sure if this is the right forum for this or not but I'm curious about water supply. I'm going to be hiking the first 70ish miles of section C (getting off in Big Bear) in late October. Any tips on how much to bring at first?

High level of difficulty. Good water sources for the first half, but farther apart in the end. Record heat this year. Amazing views!

outstanding. hard workout

I hiked southbound July 13th in two days. Started at 6 a.m. and set up camp at Deep Lake around 6 p.m. Decided last minute to take the Goldmyer Alternate route and finished up at Alpental late in the evening in day 2.

I do this Section a couple of times each year and am amazed at the great condition of the trail. A great big thank you to all those volunteers that do the hard work keeping the PCT safe and in good condition.

This was the earliest I have done this section and the snow was present in many areas, but very manageable. I also tend to camp at Deep Lake each time out and tolerate the mosquitoes. Lot’s of bug spray and am thinking of passing by next time to avoid them.

Great couple of days of solitude. Just what I needed.

Spectacular views of Glacier Peak.

Starting off just south of the timberline lodge and finishing at the locks is a really fun trip! We definitely had plenty of water sources along the way. The only stream crossings to worry about are the Sandy River and Muddy Creek, both are easy to pass even with a full pack. Since we only did this section we were still able to meet other Thur Hikers for the PCT both going north and south.

I recommend this section for anyone who has some experience, even the novice sort can make this a doable trip.

Would love to do it again right away, but I will definitely pack lighter and move faster!

A beautiful hike that rewards you with solitude at Kearsarge lake. Whatever you do, don’t stop at the pass. Keep going until you reach the lake. It’s definitely worth it!

Love this trail. Easy to follow. Challenging enough :-)
Beautiful views of the lakes

3 months ago

I solo hiked this section going SOBO in early July. With luck I had amazing weather each day, but still had to cross several snow fields even in July. This section offered lots of ups and downs with many switchbacks, scree with several stream ford crossings.

Unbelievably beautiful. Lakes, waterfalls and views throughout the entire hike. The upper half of the hike was completely covered in snow (early July) so bring a map and know where you are going! The snow was difficult and made the hike long and challenging, however we were able to slide down the side of the mountain on the way down and felt like we were kids again. The views at the top are very rewarding. This hike took us 7 hours with the snow being a major factor. I was wearing tennis shoes and regretted it. Wear water proof boots if you have them. Lots of snacks and water are a must.

-the boosk

off road driving
3 months ago

July 6th and 7th, 2018.

Awesome backpacking trip! Camped at Flower Lake the first night, summit Kearsarge Pass the next morning, made it back down to Onion Valley trailhead by noon. Very buggy, so don’t forget to bring your bug balm!

JULY 4, 2018: accidentally did this hike with two of my friends. we were trying to hike the Rainy Lake Trail, but ended up on this one. Realized what was happening, then turned around after about 3 miles.
Trail was good, lots of different terrain. YOU NEED WATERPROOF BOOTS! lots of creeks to cross, which made it fun! some shade, but would definitely recommend going early in the morning to beat the heat.

4 months ago

Beautiful trail, especially after you pass the the water flow area following the first climb out. There were surprises every turn. Lots of wild flowers blooming everywhere.

Attempted a SOBO training hike this past weekend and had to turn back despite my spikes. Hopefully the sun this week will help

Beautiful trail, clear lakes and springs . The elevational gain isn’t hard per se (est 2.5k) but I saw it sneak up on people.

Hard, and hot! And the bugs are out for blood, be warned, but so beautiful!

Rugged beautiful agree w the hard rating but love it here !

Words can't describe the overwhelming wow factor of reaching the top of Kearsarge Pass and seeing the view that lays beyond. I was so focused on getting up there and stopping to enjoy the wonderful scenery along the way that I didn't think beyond the goal. What awaits is glistening lakes and even more majestic peaks stretching in all directions. Lordy, this region is vast! But backing up... I am a 55+ female in pretty good shape, one knee that annoys and a back that can suffer if I push it. I am experienced with long hikes but rarely do any at elevations above 5000 feet. The drive up to the trailhead was long for my 4 cyclinder Forester but we plodded along using the manual gears. We started the trail at about noon. The parking lot was maybe 60% full. Most of the other hikers were backpackers, many were doing the PCT and came to the trailhead with hopes to find a ride into town to get some supplies (and good luck for that, Independence doesn't have too much in the manner of retail establishments). Anyhow, I had one treking pole and an 8 pound dog and a day pack. The trail was always clear and easy to follow. There were wildflowers along the way and even a wily marmot. I loved seeing all the people (mostly young, but not all!) who told me they were on extended hikes (goes from Mexico to Canada!). Lots of foreigners as well. The trail was challenging for the oxygen supply;) I had planned to reach the top at 3 hours in or so but it took me four. I stopped alot to take pictures and at one point to make a sling from my windbreaker for my little dog to give him a rest. We gladly stepped aside for the backpackers. Hiking alone allowed me to keep a pace that felt comfortable- I am no fan of 'arduous'. The last stretch, however, took a deep sigh of resolve- I had vowed to turn back after 4 hours no matter where I was and I was closing in on that. Huffing a bit, I got to the peak at 3:58 p.m. There were about four people up there and they took my picture for me. I took their picture too, they looked like a Patagonia ad! I literally felt overwhelmed by the beauty of the view on the other side of the pass. For certain the hike up revealed beautiful trees, the bluest sky, colorful rocks, wildflowers, a roaring creek and waterfall, and a couple small lakes with water like a fantasy. I was happy with that, so here was this extra visual reward for having made it. I watched the backbackers head on down towards it all. Dogs aren't allowed at this point so if I were to make this a two day overnight, the dog would have to stay home. Anyhow, I started my descent at about 4:15 and it took me three hours- downhill! Blame the knee for that. It convinced me that two poles is the way to go in the future. If I didn't have the dog I might have jogged a bit on the parts without rocks. Once at the parking lot I gave two backpackers (both well over the age of 60 and on a month long trip) a ride into town. I was wiped out. I camped at Independence Creek campground and slept well.

Completed small section from Humbug Summit Rd to Humboldt Peak. Beautiful views and clear trail.

Update from previous review on May 8, 2018:
2nd attempt. Trail completed on Monday, June 11, 2018, start time 0915 hours, Onion valley campground temperature @ 76°, starting elevation @ approximately 9200 ft. Highest altitude reached per established sign stated 11760 ft, AllTrails (AT) indicated 11878 ft., difference of 118 feet? For story telling purposes I like the sound of AllTrails. End time was at 1700 hours, with an ending temperature at 77°, total miles 11.9.
The scoop in between start and end is very much an individual experience, but this was mine....
This date, the trail was loaded with backpackers both coming in and going out, very few day hikers; it was a constant stop and move out of the way experience from start to finish. At one point I was kind of dreading it- the smell of hard work (sweat) is not the most welcoming and Ew. Little did I realize that fast forwarding a few hours that would be me, I only say that because there was no one else around to blame. The first mile is awesome, lots of elevation gain that the very well maintained switchbacks disguise. The scenery is dramatic! Mile #2, you climb up to approximately 10367 ft., on rocks, this little stretch was not fun, I was not comfortable using my trekking poles and should have put them away. There is a lake you have to stop and check out, very picturesque. Towards the end of mile #2, my heart was ferociously beating and my quads were on fire (again individual experience). Mile #3 is Barron, hot, and dry. It was a gradual but loooong hike up. You see your destination the entire way, and it never felt like I was getting closer! The sound of crashing, falling boulders with a sprinkle of a mini avalanche is -stop you in your tracks frozen scared, kind of terror! I have never witnessed or heard such a terrifying sound before. At around 3.9 miles you come across a beautiful lake, this time around it had a thin layer of frozen ice over it, unbelievably spectacular! According to AT, you are situated at approximately 11466 ft at this point. Mile #4 is long, bare terrain, mentally I felt like I was falling apart. At 4.5 miles you reach the Kearsarge Pass, you can easily identify it by all the hikers resting on this tiny bit of rock space. As a matter of fact, I felt like a walrus trying to move around and among an overcrowded small rock full of other walrus with their trekking poles also. From the pass to the lake valley Mile #6 marker, you have to understand what you hike up or down, you will have to do it again. I was not mentally prepared for this, and only for the playful and God forsaken commentaries of a friend, I knew I had to finish it! And that's where my story ends, the rest was an emotional and physical experience that killed me out there.
I left the valley floor at approximately 1345 hours, with plenty of daylight to burn. For the first time hiker, you got this. For the less conditioned hiker, slow and steady- just keep climbing.
***not sure if jumping in those lakes is permissible, but my fingertips convinced me not to baptize my own self. The lakes are far too inviting!***

Load More