Pacific Crest Trail celebrates 50 years

Thirty-six and a half miles east of Lake Isabella is the historic route discovered by Joseph Rutherford Walker in 1834 known as Walker Pass. Because the pass connects the Great Basin and the interior of California, it was only logical that when a walking and equestrian trail extending from Mexico to Canada was conceived, Walker Pass would be a vital section of that path.

It was 50 years ago this year that the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) was dedicated as a national treasure by President Lyndon Johnson. Part of the trail has actually been around since the 1930s and was used by the Boy Scouts, the YMCA and at the beginning was supported by American photographer Ansel Adams. Today, the section of the 2,659 mile long PCT that goes through this area is known as ‘Section G’ and is maintained by the Kern River Valley chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America.

Fifty years ago, the founders of the PCT had hopes that their idea would be embraced by the outdoor enthusiasts of their time. Today, the trail is enjoyed annually by 200 to 300 thru-hikers, and countless other, partial trail hikers along with thousands of day hikers. Individuals and groups come from all over the country and the world in an attempt to conquer the trail.

Men and women come from thousands of miles away to add the PCT to their repertoire of difficult trails to traverse. Some even drive long distances just to walk the trail from Walker Pass to different destinations along the 50 mile stretch to Kennedy Meadows.

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