Trail Boom: Books, Pacific Crest Trail Hiker Trends Unveiled!

If you've recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and noticed the increasing number of people, you're not mistaken. The popularity of these trails has surged in recent years, partly due to the influence of popular trail books like the PCT inspired "Wild" and "A Walk In The Woods" that created some buzz over the East Coast's Appalachian Trail.

The 1998 release of "A Walk In The Woods" resulted in a remarkable surge of over 50% in AT applicants within two years. The rise of hiker blogs and social media postings has equally contributed to this increase.


The number of thru-hikers went up dramatically on the PCT upon the 2012 release of "Wild." The book captured the imagination of the outdoor community of the glory and challenge of the Pacific Crest Trail.

I remember the huge event of "Wild" author, Cheryl Strayed gave a talk the Wenatchee Public Library.


The PCT runs from the US/Mexican border and makes its way up to Canada, through the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range.

Minutemen Break-Away Group Patrols California-Mexico Border
PCT's Southern Terminus - Campo, California (David McNew/Getty Images)

Data from the Pacific Crest Trail Association 2600-Miler list sheds light on how the book and movie likely influenced PCT hiker numbers.

Critically acclaimed with Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, the film "Wild" received far better reviews than "A Walk In The Woods."  "Wild" was released during the winter season, while the wide release of "A Walk In The Woods" didn't occur until after the through-hiker season was well underway.

If you're concerned about overcrowding on these trails, The Pacific Crest Trail Association says the next few years will be crucial.

The PCTA encourages us to help preserve the ecosystem and respect the culture surrounding these trails. If we can do this, we can collectively enjoy the delights of a through-hike without diminishing the enjoyment for others for future generations.

Learn more about the PCTA blogs and more by visiting here.


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