Wanted: Your best PCT photos

Let me cut to the chase. Your photographs help the Pacific Crest Trail Association protect the Pacific Crest Trail, the surrounding landscapes and the hiking and equestrian experience. They are donations to the cause.

It’s no secret that 2020 was a challenging year for the trail and for our community. The pandemic upended the hiking and horseback-riding season and sidelined our volunteers. Wildfires and the subsequent widespread closures of the trail and surrounding national forests cut short even our ability to go out and enjoy the trail for a day.

But because of that, in many ways, we’re appreciating the trail and what it brings to our lives more than ever. The PCT is loved. It’s something we’ve always known, but are feeling more acutely.

Eagle Rock on the Pacific Crest Trail in San Diego County. Photo donated by Samuel “Frick” Martin.

This year, as I’ve scrolled through the PCTA’s photo archives looking for images to use in our magazine, on our blog or in our advocacy materials, I’ve often found myself lingering a bit longer than I normally would. I’m missing being out there. I’ll bet you are, too.

We thought long and hard about doing a photo contest this year, figuring most people did not make the trips they had planned. In the end, we couldn’t imagine skipping it. So, we added a new category called “Old School.” Let’s see your pre-2000 photos. The older the better. I’ll bet a lot of you have great photos you never shared. We want them!

Volunteering your creative work lets you give back to the trail you love. Put your photos to good use and help us protect the PCT by entering our 2021 photo contest. Visit our contest page to upload a photo, see guidelines, terms and a list of prizes from our generous sponsors at Uphill DesignsHydro Flask and National Geographic Maps.

Thank you for helping to further our mission through your photography.

Contest Categories

  • Trail Majesty — A photo that captures the beauty of the PCT.
  • Human Spirit — A photo along the PCT that shows hikers or riders and captures the essence of being there.
  • Equestrian — Any photo along the PCT that shows horses/stock and/or their riders in their PCT environment.
  • Trail Work — Photos of PCTA or other trail maintenance volunteers along the PCT.
  • Flora and Fauna – Photos of plants and animals along the PCT.
  • Old School — Anything on the PCT from before 2000.

Author: Mark Larabee

Mark Larabee is the PCTA's Advocacy Director. He is the former editor of the "PCT Communicator" magazine and co-author of "The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail" published in 2016. Larabee is a journalist, part of a team who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for The Oregonian newspaper. He hiked the PCT across Oregon for a 2005 series for the paper and has been with PCTA since 2010. He lives in Portland.