NoBo vs SoBo Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hiker – What’s the Difference?

One of the big decisions PCT thru-hikers have to make before choosing a start date is which direction they want to travel along the trail in. PCT thru-hikers are known as either a NoBo or SoBo hiker.

“NoBo” is short for northbound. A northbound PCT thru-hiker will start from the southern terminus at Campo, California along the US/Mexico border and hike north towards Canada. On the AT, NoBo hikers travel from Georgia to Maine.

“SoBo” is short for southbound. A southbound PCT thru-hiker will start from the northern terminus at the US/Canadian border in Washington and hike south towards Mexico. On the AT, SoBo hikers travel from Maine to Georgia.

The direction in which a thru-hiker travels along the PCT all depends on the type of hike they want to have. If a hiker is looking for a more traditional and social hike, they’ll want to travel as a NoBo hiker. If the hiker wants to escape the crowds and have a more solitary experience, they’ll often choose to travel SoBo.

There are many factors to take into consideration when a hiker is choosing the direction of their travel along the PCT. Hikers have to consider things like their desired start and finish date, weather, their hiking skill level, water availability along the trail, resupply stops and access to the Canadian border.

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