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Thread: PCT Start Date

  1. #1

    Default PCT Start Date

    Hey all, I was just wondering if you all think it would be too early to start (Nobo) the PCT in March of the year that the thru hike would be completed - assuming the snow was average that year ) Thanks y'all!!

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Upper East Side of Texas


    Need more input. Your pace/mpd? How often you Zero?
    This year the 50 person per day limit was filled most of March.
    Try for a March permit. Take what you can get. Like your start date.
    Even in an average year, be prepared for snow without being stupid light.
    Good luck.
    Oh, check out Homemade Wanderlust videos and NOBO HOBOS blog. They are on the PCT now.

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    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."

  3. #3


    You will have to deal with snow until mid-June at the earliest all along the trail unless it is a really low snow year. So the question is how long you want to carry an ice axe and trudge through snow. Ideal is starting at the end of April so you enter the high mountains at the middle to end of June. The earlier you start, the more snow you will have to deal with. Skipping the Sierras isn't really much help because the farther north you go, the more snow the mountains get, but river and creek crossings aren't as much of an issue as they are in the high Sierras.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    On the trail


    I would try to hit Kennedy Meadows right around June 15th. So, back your expected time to hike 700 miles and you have your start date. Be careful with advice from hiker that hiked the last few years about being able to go into the Sierra in late May and early June. It worked OK with the very low snow years of 2012-2016 but caused a lot of flipping and skipping, often multiple times to find conditions that the hikers were willing and capable of hiking. Even with an average snow year early Sierra entry is usually counterproductive.

    I suspect since you are asking this question that you have limited to no long distance hiking experience so you may not know what pace to expect coming out of the gate. If that is the case then you will have to give a bit more information about your experience, pack weight, motivations etc before anyone could give you any better answer. (the only answer you usually will get is their personal experience which doesn't help a lot.)
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  5. #5
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Erwin, TN


    I started April 21, 2014, and left Kennedy Meadows and hiked into the Sierra on May 23rd - low snow year but for a guy from Tennessee I was blown away at all the snow. I thought hiking under those conditions sucked quite a bit and of the entire PCT the Sierra was my least favorite part. I was really glad to get to Sonora Pass.

  6. #6


    Keep an eye on the snow, and work backwards. Also, you will need a permit, so be prepared to not start on your "perfect" date if you can't get a slot. Some references:

  7. #7


    Thanks you guys so much for the input!!! I appreciate it a whole lot and am so grateful to have access to a page with such wonderful people! I am not 100% sure of when I will get to do a thru hike, but I just thought I would post this to see what you guys thought! I probably won't be able to do my hike for a few years because of school, but I thought by posting this and getting some answers I could kind of plan for the future! Thanks again you all!!

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