There are many books, articles, movies, podcasts, songs, and webcams out there about thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
You can use them to help plan your hike, or just keep you pumped up about your upcoming adventure.
Here we list the ones that we think may be of interest to PCT thru-hikers. If you know of any others that you'd like to see here, let us know.
"Pacific Crest Trail Class Videos"- Class of '03-'15. The Pacific Crest Trail Class DVD series combines the photos
and video contributions of several dozen hikers from each season. The movies are not for sale, but can be downloaded and burned to DVD. To download the videos, click here.
"Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail" - Basic Information. This is a free, must-watch video that serves as a great introduction to what it takes to hike the PCT.
"Three Second Thru-Hike". This is a fun 7 minute film that captures some of the most beautiful parts of the Pacific Crest Trail. If this doesn't make you want to get out on the trail, nothing will.
"Wild". Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line) stars in this extraordinary true story from the director of Dallas Buyers Club and based on the best-selling novel.
"How to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail". Twenty-two successful thru-hikers share their hard-won wisdom on these two, recently updated instructional videos. This two video series is available only on DVD. This is a very helpful video for anyone in the planning phase of their thru-hike. To order a copy click here..
"Walking the West". This is an award wining documentary about two dreamers who quit their jobs, cashed in their savings, and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. You can watch this online, for free, or you can buy the higher quality DVD version. The DVD version can be purchased from either their website or (cheaper) from Amazon.
"Six Million Steps". A documentary project following thru hikers on their physical, mental and emotional journey along the 2,653 mile long Pacific Crest Trail. You can watch the trailer by clicking here.
"Walk" by Scott "Squatch" Herriott. This is the first in a four volume series about the Pacific Crest Trail and those brave, intrepid souls that hike its 2650+ miles full of scenic lands, dangers and personal triumphs. You can buy the DVD at Amazon, or (cheaper) from Squatch's website. You can watch the trailer here.
"Walked" by Scott "Squatch" Herriott. In his fourth and probably final installment of the "Walk" series, Squatch attempts to finish the 1,700+ miles left for him to complete a continuous path from Mexico to Canada. Over 100 new hikers interviewed along with some of your favorites like Teatree, Roni from Israel, Nabor J, etc. You can buy the DVD at Amazon, or (cheaper) from Squatch's website. You can watch the trailer here.
"Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking". Synopsis: "The all-trails version of Jardine's PCT Hiker's Handbook - a more complete explanation of what's becoming known as The Ray Way in hiking circles."
"Backpackers Poetry. Synopsis: "This book contains a collection of classic poetry aimed for the backpacker, hiker, or adventure traveller. Great poets such as Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Alexander Pope, Robert William Service, and many many more are included. These poems were selected with the hiker or adventure traveler in mind. The poems have a general theme of nature, the joys and travails of travel, and the spirit of adventure. The proceeds of this book are being donated to the Pacific Crest Trail Association."
"A Blistered Kind of Love: One Couple's Trial by Trail" (Barbara Savage Award Winner). Synopsis: "They're not sure which came first - falling in love with each other or falling in love with the idea of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (Mexico to Canada). At the trailhead, they were warned that there would be tears, that each would have to find their own separate pace, and that at times the tent would seem awfully small for the two of them. They were told that their biggest obstacles to success would be...each other. Their first surprise: freeze-dried meals do funny things to your GI tract. Their first fight: when Angela noticed that Duffy's long legs propel him along the trail faster than she can muster. But on they pressed - encountering snakes, bears, and fellow thru-hikers with trail names like Crazy Legs and Catch 23. They baked in the deserts of Southern California, gazed Awestruck at the snowy, serrated peaks of the High Sierra, and attempted to hide from Northern Washington's seemingly incessant rain. One hundred thirty two days later, they made it - blisters and all.
"The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind-and Almost Found Myself-on the Pacific Crest Trail". Synopsis: "The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, a distance of 2,650 grueling, sun-scorched, bear-infested miles. When Dan White and his girlfriend announced their intention to hike it, Dan's parents - among others - thought they were nuts. How could two people who'd never even shared an apartment together survive six months in the desert with little more than a two-person tent and some trail mix? But when these addled adventurers, dubbed "the Lois and Clark Expedition" by their benevolent trail-guru, set out for the American wilderness, the hardships of the trail - and one delicious-looking cactus - test the limits of love and sanity.
"Dances With Marmots - A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure". Synopsis: "The inspiring account of a 2650 mile solo hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Despite never having hiked before, George Spearing decided to take 'leave of absence' from his job as a firefighter in the New Zealand Fire Service and walk the length of America."
"The Fastest Hike: Quest For The Pacific Crest Trail Record". Synopsis: not available.
"The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on foot". Synopsis: "The journal book by Eric Ryback about his 1970 hike on the PCT from Canada to Mexico that fired the passions of hundreds of hikers in the 1970s to go hike the trail also."
"Journey on the Crest: Walking 2600 Miles from Mexico to Canada". Synopsis: "A compelling narrative of a young woman's journey on the rugged Pacific Crest Trail."
"Natural History of the Pacific Crest Trail System". Synopsis: "A descriptive list of the typical species of the trees, animals, birds and flowers living in the High Mountains of Washington, Oregon and California : identified to location on the P.C.T.S. route."
"One Hundred Mile Summers: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada". Synopsis: "The story of a woman backpacker's journey from Mexico to Canada (or from the Mexican border to the Canadian border) on the 2,638 mile Pacific Crest Trail. The story includes many adventures: snowstorms in southern California in May, resident's pet dogs deciding to come along, river crossings where bridges had been washed out, being awakened at night by the voices of mysterious animals, and being tracked down by a Ranger with a message to meet a hiking friend who volunteered to accompany her to celebrate the completion of the trail journey at Monument 78 at the Canadian border."
"A Pacific Crest Odyssey: Walking the Trail from Mexico to Canada". Synopsis: "Through photographs, excerpts from his journals, and post-trek recollections, the author describes the trail and his experience of it, inviting you to share in the harvest. It is not strictly travelogue, nor simply an adventure story. It is a tale of the poet more than the pioneer. Nature wasn't conquered - nature never is - yet there was victory: 'It is an acutely personal triumph, for only I know the game that has been played these several months,' wrote Green."
"The Pacific Crest Trail: From Mexico to Canada on Foot". Synopsis: This is a full color book published by Cicerone. It covers the basics and includes maps, town info, etc. It is also full of very helpful hints on planning. Like the WP guidebooks, the maps shouldn't be used for on-trail PCT navigation, but rather for pre-trip planning. If kept updated, this guidebook could easily come to replace the WP guidebooks. We just wish they listed PlanYourHike.com in the appendices. ;)
"Pacific Crest Trail Data Book: Mileages, Landmarks, Facilities, Resupply Data, and Essential Trail Information for the Entire Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada".
Synopsis: "Whether you're thru-hiking the entire 2,663 miles or taking it on a section at a time, this fact book will help you plan and prepare."
"Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook: Innovative Techniques and Trail Tested Instruction for the Long Distance Hiker". Synopsis: "The title says it all. This is 'Beyond Backpacking' revamped. An even newer version, entitled 'Trail Life', can be found below."
"The Pacific Crest Trail, Canada to Mexico". Out of print. Synopsis: not available.
"The Pacific Crest Trail: A Hiker's Companion". Synopsis: "A narrative field guide to the unique plants, animals, history, and landscapes of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. [...] They describe the plants and animals hikers will see, tell stories about local history, explain plate tectonics, and in a thousand other ways enrich the experiences of the journey. In addition, Berger and Smith draw on their tremendous experience - together, they have logged more than 12,000 miles on the PCT - to give tested advice to long-distance hikers on trip planning, gear and safety, seasonal considerations, trailheads and resupplies, permits, and much more."
"Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California". Synopsis: "From Tuolomne Meadows to the Oregon border, this portable guide helps you navigate the Pacific Crest Trail."
"Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon and Washington". Synopsis: "From the Oregon border to Manning Park, this portable guide helps you navigate the Pacific Crest Trail."
"Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California". Synopsis: "From the Mexican border to Tuolumne Meadows, this portable guide helps you navigate the Pacific Crest Trail."
"The Pacific Crest Trailway". Click here for online version. Synopsis: "The Pacific Crest Trailway was one of the first books ever published about the Pacific Crest Trail. This book was compiled by Clinton C. Clarke and published in 1945. As Mr. Clarke notes that this material "was obtained through 13 years of research and exploration by officials of the National Park Service and the National Forest Service, scientific and nature organizations, and capable explorers who covered all the regions of the Pacific Crest Trailway."
"Piper's Flight: A solo woman's journal on the Pacific Crest Trail". Synopsis: "In the Spring of 2008, Diane traded in her cold, gray cubicle and answered a call to live among the birds, flowers and other pilgrims on the Pacific Crest Trail. She adopted the trail name Piper in kinship with the birds and because she played a pennywhistle. Starting at the Mexican border, she watched the State of California pass beneath her feet as she hiked solo to the 1500 mile mark on the trail. Through the joys and hardships of life on the trail she experienced freedom. Each night alone in her tent she recorded her daily experiences. This book is her trail journal."
"Six Moon Trail: Canada to Mexico Along the Pacific Coast". Synopsis: not available. Interesting note: Marshburn went on to become an astronaut!
"A Thru-Hiker's Heart, Tales of the Pacific Crest Trail". Synopsis: "On May 15, 2006, long-distance hiker "No Way" Ray Echols was killed when he fell from a 200-foot cliff along the Pacific Crest Trail. He had 50 years experience in the high country. In the previous year, he had completed the 2,650-mile trail from Mexico to Canada, and was hiking it again. He left behind these tales of the experience of this amazing trail."
"The Trail Home: Along The Pacific Crest". Synopsis: "The Trail Home describes my 2,650 mile trek on the Pacific Crest Trail and the internal transformation that occurred along the way. Starting in southern California and heading northward, I spent six months journeying through some of the most spectacular landscapes in America, from the arid deserts of the southwest to the High Sierras and the Cascade Mountains. Ultimately, I would arrive at the Canadian border in mid October, but I was no longer the same person as when I began."
"Trail Life: Ray Jardine's Lightweight Backpacking". Synopsis: "Jardine is back with a revised and revamped book in which he revisits many of the principles in Beyond Backpacking and touches on new information as well."
"Trekking Along the Pacific Crest Trail Through Southern California". Synopsis: "In narrative style, author Margolis describes his trek along the first 700 miles of the PCT, from the Mexican border to Kennedy Meadows in the Southern Sierra. Flora, water issues, safety, and other topics are covered in detail."
"Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail". Synopsis: "An Oprah's Book Club winner, this book was made into a movie by the same name. This true story presents one hiker's trial-by-fire on the PCT. It's a great example of just how healing a long hike can be."
"Yogi's PCT Handbook". Synopsis: "A PCT thru-hike can be overwhelming. There's much to learn: how to resupply, what gear to buy, how to survive in the desert and snow, what books to purchase, etc. Yogi's Handbook answers these questions and more."
"Zero Days: The Real Life Adventure of Captain Bligh, Nellie Bly, and 10-year-old Scrambler on the Pacific Crest Trail". Synopsis: "In April 2004, Barbara Egbert and Gary Chambers and their precocious 10-year-old daughter Mary embarked on a 2,650-mile hike from Mexico to Canada along the famed Pacific Crest Trail. This the well-told tale of their epic adventure, which required love, perseverance, and the careful rationing of toilet paper. Six months later, Mary would become the youngest person ever to successfully walk the entire trail. The trio weathered the heat of the Mojave, the jagged peaks of the Sierra, the rain of Oregon, and the final cold stretch through the Northern Cascades. They discovered which family values, from love and equality to thrift and cleanliness, could withstand a long, narrow trail and 137 nights together in a 6-by-8-foot tent. Filled with tidbits of wisdom, practical advice, and humor, this story will both entertain and inspire readers to dream about and plan their own epic journey."
The following list of recommended thru-hiking songs was compiled from the many suggestions of thru-hikers on the PCT-L. You can see the list and listen to the songs by clicking the image below. Then you can scroll down the list and sample all the songs. This little widget is powered by Amazon.