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October
18

Pacific Crest Trail

Spanning 2,650 miles from the Mexican border in the south to the Canadian border in the north, the Pacific Crest Trail is to the West Coast what the Appalachian Trail is to the East Coast. Our brokers take a look at this iconic hiking destination that's within convenient distance of Bend homes for sale.

History of the Pacific Crest Trail

The first seeds of the Pacific Crest Trail were planted right here in Oregon. Fred Cleator, a supervisor in the U.S. Forest Service, first mapped the state's Skyline Trail in 1920 and started plans for a similar route in Washington.

At the time, the Boy Scouts, Sierra Club, and other organizations were floating various ideas for hiking trails. In 1926, Catherine Montgomery, a teacher in Bellingham, WA, became the first to propose a contiguous hiking trail through the three West Coast states. 

Mountain League of Los Angeles chairman Clinton C. Clarke was inspired to unite these groups into one cohesive effort when he organized the Pacific Crest Trail System Conference in 1932. The conference, which counted legendary nature photographer Ansel Adams among its committee members, led to Clarke becoming known as the father of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Finally, during President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, Congress passed the National Trails System Act on October 2, 1968. In addition to setting forth the administrative framework for a nationwide system of trails, this officially named the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail as the country's first scenic trails. 

Fun Facts About the Pacific Crest Trail

  • At loose ends after the death of her mother, writer Cheryl Strayed began a journey on the Pacific Crest Trail despite no previous hiking experience. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail details the highs and lows of her 1,100-mile journey. The memoir, along with the movie adapted from the book and starring Reese Witherspoon, created a spike of interest in the Pacific Crest Trail.

  • Anyone hiking or horseback riding 500 miles or more in a continuous trip must obtain a permit. While there is no charge for a permit, they are issued on a first-come-first-served basis and limited by quota. Day and overnight use permits are also required in 33 places along the Pacific Crest Trail, including Crater Lake National Park, Mount Jefferson Wilderness, and Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon.

  • How long does it take to traverse the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail? While some elite athletes have accomplished it in as little as two months, the average time is approximately five months. Expenses run anywhere from $4,000-$8,000, depending on how frugal or extravagant a hiker chooses to be.

  • While no formal statistics are currently kept, the self-reported "2,600 Miler List" includes 7,936 people, 100 of whom have completed the trail more than once. The annual number peaked in 2018 when 1,185 completions were reported. Total number of permits issued for all usage has grown from 1,879 in 2013 to 7,888 in 2019.

Pacific Crest Trail Hikes Near Bend

  • Experienced hikers who are up for a challenge are rewarded with spectacular views after reaching the summit of Diamond Peak, one of Oregon's Matterhorns. The 13.8-mile dog-friendly trail is described as a "scramble," which is the term for a route that's more difficult than regular hiking but not quite to the level of rock-climbing. Unlike most mountains that are relatively symmetrical, Diamond Peak has a jagged profile that's been compared to the back of a stegosaurus. 

  • Twin Peaks, more familiarly known as the Twins, is a volcano that gained its name from the dual summits formed by a gap in the crater rim. This 6.7-mile dog-friendly route crosses the Pacific Crest Trail on its way to views of both Twins along with Mount Jefferson, Mount McLaughlin, and other parts of the Cascades. The real showstopper is Waldo Lake, a popular Oregon attraction that's the second-largest natural freshwater lake in the state behind Crater Lake.

  • North, Middle, and South make up the Three Sisters that are the centerpiece of the eponymous Wilderness Area. Skirt the permit requirement by hiking the Scott Trail, a dog-friendly route marked by alpine meadows full of wildflowers. Along with the Three Sisters, the summit features views of Collier Glacier, the largest glacier in Oregon, situated between North and Middle Sisters.

The best part of any journey is returning to your dream home in Bend. Whether you're buying or selling a house, contact us at Coldwell Banker Bain for cheerful and professional help with Bend real estate.

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