In 2017 I hiked from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean along the Pacific Northwest Trail.
After returning from the CDT and finally settling into a stable job, rumours were brewing among my trail family regarding the Pacific Northwest Trail. I quickly committed to the idea and was able to secure a two month leave of absence from work. Time to get back on trail.
As for the 'trail' itself, let's just say the PNT makes the CDT look like the PCT. If I had to pick a trail to compare it with I think the closest is New Zealand's Te Araroa - variety is the name of the game. Between the crest of the Rockies and the Olympic Coast you'll encounter mountains, rivers, forests, fields, and beaches. The east-west orientation of the trail also adds a challenging element to the route, as all the mountain ranges run north-south and must be crossed abruptly from one side to another. This creates a familiar pattern for the first half of the trail which involves a roadwalk out of town, big climbs up into and over the next range, followed by a long descent and roadwalk into a town in the next valley to resupply. The PNT also requires some true bushwhacking. I'm not talking about easy cross-country navigation in alpine zone, this is more like crashing through thick forest and vegetation where 1mi/hr is considered very good progress. Luckily these stretches are short and few, and can mostly be avoided by taking alternates. Some of them do lead to some of the best and wildest ridgewalks of the PNT though, so choose wisely.
PNT thru hike video below.
(May take a moment to load)
I'm hoping to put together a longer video eventually. Join the mailing list to know when it's done!
By the Numbers
Length: 1200 miles (Variations are possible, our route was closer to 1100 miles)
Start: July 13th (Chief Mountain Trailhead)
Finish: Sept 13th (Cape Alava)
Average Pace: 17.7 mi/day (Including rest days)
Longest Hiking Day: 38.5 miles
Shortest Hiking Day: 6 miles
Longest Bushwhack: 10+ miles (Lion's Head Crest Alternate)
Practical PNT Info and Resources: