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  1. #1

    Default Recommended guidebook for PCT

    I'm researching both the PCT and AT with a view to deciding which one to thru-hike in 2015 or 2016. I've ordered two books on the AT but am struggling to decide what to buy for the PCT. I'm not looking for maps of the PCT at this stage, that will come later if/when I choose this option. From a search of the interwebs the best I've come up with is the Jeffrey Schaffer trilogy but as far as I can tell there hasn't been an updated version published since the 2003 originals - over 10 years ago! Is this still the best option for an overview of the trail? Or is there something more recent that is equally comprehensive?

    Also if anyone has copies they want to sell (either Schaffer or a more recent publication) please let me know.


  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Los Angeles


    As of 2013 Halfmiles app/maps/water report are the best day to day guidebook. You can load them all on a smartphone for ultralight ease and they cost 0 dollars. Yogi's guide is helpful for town stops and little else. It's a shame you have to pay $40 for the small useful fraction of what Yogi sells. You could probably do it with just Halfmile.

  3. #3


    Yogis guide is very helpful though I could do without the useless opinions and preachyness.

    The water report is a must.

    Backcountry navigator with Halfmiles waypoints is essential IMHO.

  4. #4
    Registered User quasarr's Avatar
    Join Date
    North Carolina


    If you are still trying to decide which trail is right for you, I think Yogi's book is a good choice despite the price. Like others have mentioned, this book has a lot of opinions and hiker chitchat that can be taken with a grain of salt. (I got a little tired of it to be honest ... ok who cares what "Cookie" thinks about wet wipes??) But there is a section on differences between the AT and PCT, and a lot about thru-hiking in general. She also updates the book every year. And I think the town advice is really valuable. It has a map, list of hotels and prices, restaurants, and resupply for each town. Sure you could look this stuff up on a smart phone (if you have service!) but IMO the amount of hassle you save for a potential 5 month trip is worth $40.

    Like the others have mentioned, Halfmile's pdf is free, and usually more detailed for on-trail information. But the town descriptions are sorely lacking, and it will also not help you with deciding whether you want to try the AT or PCT. If you choose the PCT, Halfmile's notes are very valuable for hiking but not so much for planning.

    Here is Yogi's book (not sure about international shipping, I see you are in the UK)

  5. #5


    Thanks everyone for the helpful replies. The upshot is I'm going to use mainly online resources until I know which trail I'm going to hit - if it turns out to be the PCT I'll fork out for Yogi's book and also (hopefully) get the Halfmile maps - the links to download the zip files don't work at the moment.

    Cheers and happy hiking.


  6. #6
    Registered User handlebar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Youngstown, OH


    I'd suggest you read some trail journals to get a feel for the differences between the two trails. The AT is harder, more social (more people), spends a lot of time in the "long, green tunnel:, and is shorter, but will probably take you longer. The PCT is somewhat easier since it's graded for stock use (horses, etc.), has fewer people (but they are pretty concentrated together due to the limited time frame for completing a thru hike), spends much of its time above tree line offering expansive views, and will take you a bit less time for a trail that's 300 miles longer. You can access journals at or They often have pictures and will give you an insight into hikers' experiences.
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

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