2021 PCTA Photo Contest

The Pacific Crest Trail is stunningly beautiful. Help us share that beauty.

Our PCT photo contest is open until March, 2021.

You’re welcome to submit more than one photo. Your contact information will auto-fill after your first submission to save you time. Please read the Guidelines and Terms of the contest before entering. Basically, you’re giving us permission to publish your photo. Thanks!

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Krissy Eizenhoefer, Ethan Clavecillas, and Nelson Shivel hiking the Knife’s Edge in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Photo by Kevin Quach

2021 PCTA Photo Contest

Well, it’s clear to everyone this year that the Pacific Crest Trail is well loved and beautiful—and appreciated more than any of us might have realized. We are surely missing it. While some people ventured out during the pandemic, most did not.

We thought long and hard about doing a photo contest this year, figuring most people did not make the trips they had planned. Every year you submit thousands of fantastic photos taken during your time on the trail. And they become the foundation of our advocacy, promotional and fundraising illustrations. This year is different.

Still, we didn’t want to skip the contest, so let’s dig into your archives. The older the better. I’ll bet a lot of you have great photos you never shared. We want them!

Think about photographs that would look great on the cover of the PCT Communicator, in our annual calendar or in our trail protection materials?

Volunteering your creative work lets you give back to the trail that you love. Put your photos to good use and help the trail. Please enter our 2021 Photo Contest.


This year, we are awarding prizes for the top three overall winners. Judges will pick three winners in each category and then choose the best three of the entire show. Winners will be announced in the spring/summer 2021. Winning pictures will be published on the PCTA website.

  • 1st place — Uphill Designs leather and canvas goods (including a camera case, a minimalist wallet, a small leather notepad cover and two tree notepads); a Hydro Flask hydration pack; and a set of NatGeo maps — value $500
  • 2nd place — a Hydro Flask hydration pack and a set of NatGeo maps — value $290
  • 3rd place — a set of NatGeo maps — value $125
Many thanks to our partners at Uphill Designs, Hydro Flask and National Geographic for their contributions to our work.

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.


  • Digital images must be submitted online at www.pcta.org/photo-contest/
  • Submission deadline is March 1, 2021.
  • Photos can be color or black & white digital images of any location along the Pacific Crest Trail
  • JPEG or TIFF files are allowed but must be in a high resolution (at least 300 dots-per- inch or approximately 1000×1500 pixels for a 3×5 photo).
  • If you ’d like your photos to be considered for our annual calendar or magazine covers, they should be at least 8.5×11 inches at 300 dpi or approx. 2500×3300 pixels in size.
  • Each photo must include a working title, location and a detailed caption.
  • Photos can be horizontal or vertical. Please upload in the proper orientation.
  • You can enter up to 10 photos per category.

Questions? Contact: Daniel Carmin at [email protected]


Your photographs help the PCTA protect the Pacific Crest Trail, the surrounding landscape and the hiking and equestrian experience for future generations. Thank you for helping to further our mission through your photography.



No purchase is necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited. By entering this contest, you agree to the terms and conditions relating to this contest and you are responsible for understanding your rights.

Photos entered are considered licensed to the Pacific Crest Trail Association in perpetuity. By entering the photo contest, you are giving the PCTA the right to use your photos as we see fit to promote the trail and its protection.

You will retain copyright to any photograph you submit. You only grant the PCTA rights to your photograph royalty-free, in perpetuity, nonexclusively to:

  • Reproduce, distribute, transform, display and/or to perform your photographs in all print and electronic mediums at any size.
  • Use your photos worldwide.
  • Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for non-commercial use, such as in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, and the like.
  • Archive in electronic forms so that your photos can be used to support our mission.
  • The PCTA may request additional permission to use your photo for Commercial and Editorial uses that directly benefit the PCTA and the trail.

Whenever possible, the PCTA will provide attribution in the form the photographer’s name and/or photographer’s website URL per PCTA’s discretion. Attribution will appear next to the photo or in the credits of the work product.

By entering, participants agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the PCTA, its respective subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents and representatives, from any and all third party liability for any injuries, loss, claim, action, demand or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the competition (collectively, “Losses”), including without limitation any third party claim for copyright infringement or a violation of an individual’s right to privacy and/or publicity right. The Contest is void where prohibited by law.

Contest entrants are responsible for ensuring that he or she has the right to submit the photos that he or she submits to the contest.

Check out our past winners

Get published by PCTA

You’ve got a fantastic story, beautiful photos, a video, song or piece of art. We’ve got a huge audience of passionate Pacific Crest Trail lovers. Let’s connect the two.   Get published by PCTA.