Redesigned Wilderness Press guidebooks show how to travel the PCT in new ways

When I hiked across Oregon as a newspaper reporter in 2005, the Wilderness Press Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington guide was the key to success. I bought two copies of the book, one which my hiking partner and I ripped into “carryable” sections and mailed with our food drops. I have the other on my desk to this day and use it frequently in my work for the PCTA.

I have since used the Wilderness Press PCT guides and data book to plan hiking trips, see where PCTA volunteers are working or simply daydream about the next adventure. As much as I loved these tattered pages, I was excited when I learned a couple of years ago that the next version of these wonderful books was in the works. I was flattered when the publishers asked me to write the foreward.

I recently received the new edition of the guides, and they’ll facilitate a lot more daydreaming. They are as easy on the eyes as they are beautifully designed, have great color maps and pictures, and are much easier to use.

Wilderness Press PCT Guidebooks

Originally published in 1973, The Pacific Crest Trail, Vol. 1, California spawned this successful series of books that cover the entire 2,650 miles of the trail. For more than 45 years, a group of expert authors have maintained and updated these books. Now, the beloved guides have been completely overhauled for PCT travelers in 2021 and beyond.

I recommend you update your guides.

Wilderness Press worked hard to get it right, consulting with the Pacific Crest Trail Association throughout to ensure information was up to date, Leave No Trace principles were followed, and the trail was protected.

The new guides include new ways to use the trail, even in today’s challenging times. They’re not just about thru-hiking. They’re great planning tools for section and day hikers as well. The books offer rich descriptions, tips on logistics and information on the various regions. The full-color maps of the entire PCT all are drawn to the same scale. Brilliant!

Over the years, these books have had a lasting impact on the trail and its users. As one example, the tradition of identifying sections of the PCT by letters began with this series.

Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California starts at the Mexican border and guides you to Yosemite’s beautiful backcountry. Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California takes you from Yosemite National Park’s Tuolumne Meadows to the Oregon border. Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington brings you to the edge of Canada. The Pacific Crest Trail Data Book presents bare-bones information about the entire trail without any long, detailed descriptions.

The guidebook authors Jordan Summers (Northern California, Oregon and Washington) and Laura Randall (Southern California) are experts. They are local, they are travelers, and they are outdoor explorers. They present reliable, first-hand information because they’ve hiked the hikes, seen the sights and have been where they are leading you.

These guides will be your truest companion. They are available now, and 2% of your purchase price benefits the PCTA.


  • Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California, 7th Edition November 3, 2020 • $29.95
  • Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California, 7th Edition November 3, 2020 • $29.95
  • Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington, 8th Edition November 3, 2020 • $29.95
  • Pacific Crest Trail Data Book, 6th Edition November 17, 2020 • $12.95

Author: Mark Larabee

Mark Larabee is the PCTA's Associate Director of Communications, Advocacy and Government Relations. He is editor of the "PCT Communicator" magazine and manages the association's Congressional advocacy efforts. He is 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.