The Appalachian Trail Versus the Pacific Crest Trail: How to Pick Your Pleasure, Part Four
They weren’t designated the first National Scenic Trails for nothing. These two premier hiking trails are designed specifically to impart the beauty of their landscapes (seriously, trail builders think of these things).
Both are excellent choices, so whether you’ve finished hiking one of them and are ready to take on the next, or are simply deciding which one to hike for your first-ever thru-hike, here are some discernable differences that make each unique.
Town Stops & Resupply: While this won’t make or break a decision to hike one of these trails over the other, resupply is an important component of a long-distance hike, and these two trails are really different when it comes to resupply.
|A hitch in Maine|
|The long wait. The hitch into Mojave finally ended with a ride in the police car. Thankfully the patrolman looks out for hikers in need of a ride so they don't become casualties of the intense roadside heat.|
Even if hiking solo, hitchhiking to towns in pairs is the safest approach. I take this precaution seriously as a female hiker. While it’s not always possible to hitchhike with others, the fact that more people hike the A.T. means that there are generally other hikers around when you get ready to hitch to town, or back to the trail. In all cases, use your gut. If someone seems odd, by all means, find a reason to get out of taking them up on their offer for a ride ("Oh, I just remembered that I think I left my camera back at my last stop on the Trail...Gotta get it. Thanks anyway!")
Trail Guides: When planning and hiking, here are my recommendations on the best resources for each of these trails. I would use them in these combinations.
Pacific Crest Trail
Water report (I'm not sure about the future of this site as the person who compiled the information passed away in August. Hopefully another PCT enthusiast will undertake the effort in his absence.)
Part One: People
Part Two: Elements
Part Three: Trail terrain, views, snow
Part Four: Resupply
Do you have experience with both of these trails? What do you think are the biggest differences?