by Austin Campbell March 02, 2017

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These Books Will Make You Want to Thru-Hike the PCT

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

Whether you are currently prepping for a 2017 thru-hike or just dreaming about someday checking the PCT off your bucket list, we've collected 11 books about the Pacific Crest Trail to add to your reading list. The PCT runs 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada and draws thousands of hikers for day hikes and thru-hikes each year. If you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and loved it then these lesser known books about the Pacific Crest Trail will be right up your alley. Pick a couple or read all 11, and then at least go for a day hike on the PCT this summer or start planning your future thru-hike!

 

1. Girl in the Woods: A Memoir

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

Girl in the Woods is the true story of Aspen Matis. In 2008 Aspen was beginning her freshman year of college when she was raped by another student. Unfortunately, as is all too common her family and the school weren't providing the support she needed. That's when she decided to embark on a thru-hike of the PCT. Not to run from her problems, but to find the freedom and strength within herself. On the trail, Aspen found confidence, healing and even love as she hiked 30 miles a day for 5 months.  
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2. Dances With Marmots - A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure

Dances With Marmots - A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure

Dances with Marmots depicts a PCT thru-hike through the eyes of New Zealander George Spearing. Although he had never done any hiking or backpacking George decided to take 5 months off from his job as a firefighter to hike from Mexico to Canada. An easy read filled with humor and insights from the trail, as one review said, "you will not regret reading this book."
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 3. A Blistered Kind of Love: One Couple's Trial by Trail 

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

One Couple's Trial by Trail is two perspectives on the Pacific Crest Trail in one book. Angela and Duffy take turns writing chapters as they tell their story giving the reader insight into the unique experience of a PCT thru-hike as viewed by husband and wife. The Ballard's provide helpful information on their pre-hike planning with recommendations for gear, food, and a reading list of books to help plan a thru-hike. If you are a couple dreaming of a journey on the Pacific Crest Trail than this book is a must read.
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4. The Pacific Crest Trail

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

The Pacific Crest Trail is the classic volume on thru-hiking the PCT.  Sure it was probably published before you were born and since 1984 the trail has changed and gear is lighter, but it is still regarded by many as a must read for prospective thru-hikers. And best of all, used copies go for as little as $2.
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5. The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail

Unlike the other titles on this list The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail isn't a memoir or personal account but a coffee table book published with the Pacific Crest trail Association. A perfect gift for anyone who loves the outdoors this book is full of beautiful pictures, history, trail tips, and even a foldout map of the trail. And you don't have to be a thru-hiker, there is also plenty of info for day hikers.
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6. Halfway Home: The Story of a Father and Son Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

Halfway Home follows a father and son duo on their PCT hike. If you are a father who has always wanted to thru-hike with a son or daughter or a child who's dreaming of sharing an epic adventure with parents this book is one to grab. It also covers plenty of trail tips and strategies for a successful Pacific Crest thru-hike.
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7. Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

The author of Skywalker has written several books about his adventures thru-hiking not only the PCT, but also the Appalachian Trail and the Camino De Santiago. One of the best parts of his book is meeting the characters he hikes with along the way. It is full of hilarious back stories about individual's trail names and his own blunders on the trail.
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8. Journey On the Crest: Walking 2600 Miles from Mexico to Canada

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

Journey on the Crest is another classic from the 80s. The author begins her Pacific Crest Trail hike with the experience of previously hiking the Appalachian Trail. She soon discovers the PCT has many unique challenges to throw at her. Reviewed well by both thru-hikers and would be thru-hikers, Cindy's account of her time on the PCT is an entertaining read.
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9. Mile 445: Hitched in Her Hiking Boots

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

Mile 455 is a true story that sounds like a Hollywood romcom. Claire starts her thru-hike alone at the Mexico border but soon meets a handsome hiker with the trail name Big Spoon. It's love at first sight and by mile 445 and just 30 days into the hike they tie the knot.
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10. Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart is written by Carrot Quinn who is an experienced and successful thru-hiker. Her writing is unique and entertaining and after you finish the book you can head over to her blog for additional tips and info that can help you plan your thru-hike.
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 11. Hikertrash: Life on the Pacific Crest Trail

11 Books About Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail | CloudLine Apparel

The last pick on our list Hiker Trash is another book about a couple hiking the PCT. Erin and her husband Carl sold their home and began a life of adventure, first traveling abroad and then deciding to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The book includes helpful info on leaving no trace, their gear list, trail recipes and 6 detailed maps.
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Austin Campbell
Austin Campbell

Austin lives in the Pacific Northwest where he enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.


4 Responses

Kathy Schrenk
Kathy Schrenk

August 01, 2018

I adored “Girl in the Woods.” I also loved “I Promise Not to Suffer.”

Tim
Tim

July 02, 2018

+2 for The Cactus Eaters! I am reading it again for probably the 5th time. It never gets old and makes me laugh each time. I’m a PCT Section Hiker and I like to reread it after each section I hike. It’s gives me a new appreciation for Dan White’s genius.

Vic
Vic

February 27, 2018

“The Cactus Eaters” was the best book I ever read on the PCT.

Nick
Nick

August 26, 2017

Also check out “The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind- And Almost Found Myself-On the Pacific Crest Trail” by Dan White. This is a good, often humorous, look at a trail newbie who decided to hike the PCT with his girlfriend and how it changed their lives. I read it in California, mere miles from the PCT, while dreaming of the day when I’ll be able to do it too.

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