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When a few dozen people camp at the same water source, the number and size of their campsites increase. By hiking southbound, you’re choosing to hike in less popular times and locations.

Also, during surge periods – such as Southern California in the spring – hotels, stores, restaurants and trail angels can become quite busy.

What’s nice is that they can slow down and have a truly leisurely pace (water scarcity aside) once they pass Mt. With fewer opportunities to socialize and less reason to spend extra time in town, it might not be such a big deal to have a tighter hiking window.

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If the road the Hart’s Pass remains blocked, that’s a sign of difficult conditions on the trail. If there is still snow on the ground, it is a serious danger you should not underestimate.

It’s not a place for those inexperienced with traveling across steep snowfields.

Jumping around and piecing together sections as you desire, perhaps over several years, is an absolutely fantastic way to experience the PCT. The regular Sierra resupply points may already be closed, but the first significant snow storms usually start hitting the Sierra in early to mid-October. Being in the mountains during an early season snowstorm can kill you.

Very experienced hikers have learned this the hard way.

Imagine months out in nature, mostly with your thoughts and the sights and sounds around you.

We think that you’ll develop a deep connection to the land and the trail.

There are many great reasons to go in this direction.

The opportunity for solitude and reflection are greater, towns won’t be busy with hikers, you will experience most of California without mosquitoes and your walk through the desert will be during late fall when days are cooler.

Starting a southbound hike is a bit of a logistical problem as it’s illegal to enter the United States from Canada via the PCT. You’re likely going to start your hike in the United States from Hart’s Pass.

From Hart’s Pass, you will hike north to the Canadian border and then start your southbound journey from there.

A southbound thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail is an outstanding experience and an immense challenge.

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