Congratulations to the 2022 Pacific Crest Trail Photo Contest Winners

1ST PLACE OVERALL WINNER: “Showy Sky Pilot” by James Townsend. (Click to view larger image.)

Every year, members of the PCT community donate their photos of the trail to us. Over the years, these photos have grown into a huge archive of more than 15,000 images of the Pacific Crest Trail and the people who travel it. We’re grateful for these images, because they serve an important role in our collective work to protect, preserve, and promote the PCT. When trying to describe the trail to others, many have said “You just have to see it to understand.” Your photos allow countless other people to fall in love with the trail’s awesome beauty—and share the experiences of those who have been there.

2ND PLACE OVERALL WINNER: “Mount Rainier” by William Campbell. (Click to view larger image.)

We’re happy to showcase the winners of this year’s Pacific Crest Trail Photo Contest. A panel of judges led by longtime PCTA volunteer and former board member Lee Terkelsen sifted through hundreds of submitted photos to choose the “best,” with quotes added because there were many other fantastic photos and the final choices weren’t easy. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Lee and the other judges who are listed below.

3RD PLACE OVERALL WINNER: “Goat Rocks Storm” by James Parsons. (Click to view larger image.)

How the Contest Was Judged

The six judges went through four rounds to determine the winners. The judges did not meet in person or online to discuss the results. In the first round, all 350+ photo entries were viewed. When a judge chose a photo for first place, it received five points, four points for second, three points for third, and two points for an honorable mention. The photos that received the most points were sent back to the judges for consideration until, after four rounds, the entries were narrowed down to the winners.

The Winning Photos

Click on the first photo in each category below to view a slideshow of the winners. Once the slideshow is open, click either side of the photo to view the next or previous photo. (Note: for some photos, you may need to scroll down to view the photo’s description.)

Overall Grand Prize Winners

1st Place: Showy Sky Pilot – James Townsend
2nd Place: Mount Rainier – William Campbell
3rd Place: Goat Rocks Storm – James Parsons

Human Spirit Category Winners

1st Place: Celebrating Completion – Thaddeus VanDenBerghe
2nd Place: Hiking in a Sea of Color – Lance Goehring
3rd Place: Party Lights – Lauren Rich
Honorable Mention: Tunnel Falls – Cait Bell
Honorable Mention: Top of the Pass – James Townsend

Flora and Fauna Category Winners

1st Place: Marble Mountain Wilderness Smoke – Zoe Tribley
2nd Place: Texture of the San Felipe Hills – James Parsons
3rd Place: Forbidden Pumpkin Pie – Tom Ogasawara
Honorable Mention: Dinner – C.J. Price
Honorable Mention: Mountain Goat – Benjamin England
Honorable Mention: Black Bear in a Golden Field – Rebecca Hamm Conard
Honorable Mention: Just a Goat on a Catwalk – Lauren Rich

Trail Majesty Category Winners

1st Place: Snow Cave by Goat Lake – Stephen McMillan
2nd Place: Alpine Glow on Mt. Rainier – Ted Weiss
3rd Place: Evolution Valley – Lance Goehring
Honorable Mention: Knife’s Edge Toward Mt. Rainier – John Meehan
Honorable Mention: Sunrise Snowdrift – Clinton Hart
Honorable Mention: Gossamer Tent Against Sunset – Chris Jones
Honorable Mention: Sunrise on Mt. Whitney – C.J. Price
Honorable Mention: Wildflowers and Mt. Rainier – Rebecca Hamm Conard
Honorable Mention: Lake Sally Ann – Don Denis

Equestrian Category Winners

1st Place: Horses in the Sierras – Ted Weiss
2nd Place: Make Way for the Hikers – Clint Hart
3rd Place: Eagle Rock Rider – Clint Hart

Old School Category Winners

1st Place: Mount Hood – Clint Hart
2nd Place: Gary With No Hat – Gary Porteous
3rd Place: The Flying Boat – Michael Touchstone

Trail Work Category Winners

1st Place: Solo Trail Repair in the Clouds – Clint Hart
2nd Place: Welcome to Canada – Lauren Rich
3rd Place: Forward Fire Fighter – Clint Hart

Photo Contest Judges

Randy Levensaler – A professional photographer based in Colorado, Randy has been a graphic designer, photographer and photo editor for many notable outdoor-related publications including Climbing, Trail Runner, Runners World, Rock and Ice,  Outside, and Backpacker. He hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1991.

David Velasquez – A professional photographer and videographer based in San Francisco operating under the name of Sequoia Skye, David is an avid outdoor hiker and photographer.

Roger Gong and Maddy Serpa – This duo operates Country Roads Studio based in Tulare, California. Though they specialize in weddings, portraits, and all things cars, you can also find them at any spare moments capturing images in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks.

David Thurber – David is a retired commercial photographer from Visalia, California. He has been a judge in all 30 PCTA photo contests and has been a volunteer trail worker in the Sierra.

Linda Wozniczka – Linda is a courier, not a professional photographer. But during her daily route throughout Central California, she always has her camera available for capturing interesting and inspiring images. She has published a photo book of those images and has been published in USA Today.

Lee Terkelsen – The coordinator of the contest, Lee began the photo competition 30 years ago when he was editor of the PCTA Communicator as a way to get more photographs to publish in the magazine.

Author: PCTA Staff

The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as a world-class experience for hikers and equestrians, and for all the values provided by wild and scenic lands.