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The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

The Pacific Crest Trail in Mount Laguna near Julian, CA.

In early spring, just as the flowers are starting to pop up everywhere, so do the hikers making the 2,659-mile trek from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. These adventurous trekkers begin their journey just southeast of Julian in Campo. They make their way up to Mount Laguna, then down into the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park at Scissors Crossing before heading towards the San Felipe Valley. Oftentimes hikes take a small detour at Scissors Crossing, hitchhiking their way up Banner Grade to Julian. Here they stock up on food and water, maybe getting a shower and a piece of pie to go.

It's an all-hands-on-deck effort to help these warriors on their journey. Local Trail Angels bring homemade snacks, water, and supplies to hikers. They also help transport them up and down Banner Grade. Mom's pie helps provide hikers lunch at a discount price. The Cider Mill, Jack's Grocery, and the Julian Market & Deli all happily carry great hiking food.

While hikers see some of the most beautiful and scenic parts of the west coast, they also face many challenges along the way. To begin with, they are on a very tight budget. It often takes years to save enough money to get them through the five-plus month trip. Along the trail, they face weather extremes, wildlife, and unexpected injuries.

If you happen to be coming through town and can lend a hand, that is wonderful! Hikers are often in need of toiletries, lightweight and non-perishable food, and rides to various places. Stop in the Chamber Office for direction and information. Hikers are often found near the Post Office as well.

You don't have to commit to hiking all 2,650-miles to enjoy the experience. Hikers can pick and choose the portions of the trail to hike. You can backpack some or all of the 133 miles of the PTC in San Diego County. Better yet day hikes do not require a permit.

The W.E. Cole Building, in downtown Julian, has a hiking store that caters to PTC hikers.

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