Pacific Crest Trail stretches 460 miles across Oregon; do these 15 best day hikes

It’s the dream hike, all 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Or, maybe, the nightmare hike, when things don’t go quite right. Either way, that long-distance trail gem, from Mexico to Canada, is etched in the minds of many American hikers, especially those who live in the states the Pacific Crest Trail crosses _ California, Oregon and Washington. Signs posted at junctions along the way, with PCT either blazed in wood or on familiar metal triangles, send chills down the spine.

The number of hikers has increased among those clicking off miles on shorter sections of the PCT, rather than the entire length, or just hiking a mile of two on the PCT en route to another destination.

That may be the best way to experience the PCT anyway: short and sweet, on a day hike, or maybe a backpack trip of a few day’s duration. That tends to fit an average hiker’s time better. And not every mile of the trail is a scenic gem, as the name applies.

While the trail passes through miles of thick, viewless stands of lodgepole pines, it also passes near the best scenery in the Oregon Cascades.

Following are the best day hikes along the PCT, five each from the southern, central and northern Oregon sections of the PCT, in the order that through hikers on the trail usually encounter them: south to north.

 

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