This is the third and final part in a multi-part blog series about my hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650 mile hike through California, Oregon and Washington from Mexico to Canada. In this final blog post I will focus on the last 1,500 miles of the trail, which are mostly in the Cascade Mountain Range.

After leaving the high sierra mountains, the trail returns to a lower elevation and massive mountains give way to seas of trees. The trail gets a lot flatter, and 30+ mile days become much easier. However, there is also a lot less scenic variety and many hikers get bored and quit the trail in this section.

mountain woods

Pretty soon into northern California, hikers reach the halfway point of the trail. At this point it is 1,325 miles to Canada and 1,325 to Mexico. From here on out the distance ahead will be less then the distance behind. Knowing this gave me a huge mental boost.

travel woods
mountain range

Soon after the halfway point, the trail gets a lot more interesting. Mt. Lassen comes into view and then Mt. Shasta is in sight for the next 200 miles. Mt. Lassen is the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range, which stretches all the way into Canada.

At mile 1,424 hikers reach Burney Falls, which is a spectacular 100+ foot waterfall in northern California. I had visited this waterfall before but after walking for hundreds of miles, through hot and dry forest, I appreciated how geologically unique it was even more.

mountain range

Unfortunately, in northern California there were two large fires, the Hendrix fire and the Klamathon fire. Both of these were very close to the trail and resulted in an 80 mile closure, closing the last 30 miles of California and the first 50 of Oregon. Up until this point I had walked a continuous path from the Mexican border, so it felt like cheating to skip these 80 miles. I considered walking on a road to get around the closure, but I decided against it and ended up hitching around into Ashland, Oregon. On the positive side, this let me catch up to some friends that had gotten a few days ahead of me on the trail. A day later, I was back on trail in Oregon, heading north.

people exploring

beautiful lake
hiking adventure

The smoke was thick in southern Oregon from the fires, but as we got further north it began to clear. I began hiking with a group of friends that I had met on the trail, which made the miles pass by much quicker. Together we decided to attempt a 60 mile day. The whole state of Oregon is pretty flat, but there is an especially flat stretch in northern Oregon, between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. We set our sites on this section as a good section to push for 60 miles. When we got to this section, we set our alarms for 2am and planned to hike for 20 hours at 3mph. It was a long and difficult day, but overall one of the most memorable on the whole trail. 20 hours and 4 minutes after we started, we reached 60 miles, elated but also exhausted.

mountain hike
my hood

mt jefferson

The Oregon-Washington border is delineated by the massive Columbia River, and at 170 feet, it is also the lowest point on the trail. It was very exciting to make it to the Bridge of the Gods and enter the last state on the trail, Washington.


bridge of the gods

mountain range

forrest mountain

sunset mountains

Washington was quite beautiful but it got smokier as I progressed north. I was also quite exhausted and it became more and more painful to hike. The end of the hike was near though and I pushed on north.

rainy pass picnic area

Unfortunately, when I got to within 60 miles of Canada at Rainy Pass, I found out that the trail was closed north of the pass due to fires. There was no alternate so I had to hitchhike into Canada. It was not the ending I had hoped for, but it was satisfying nonetheless. Once in Canada, I hiked 8 miles south to get to the US-Canadian border, where a monument marks the end of the Pacific Crest Trail.


Overall this summer I hiked around 2,550 miles in 100 days. There are still 140 miles of the trail that I have not completed due to fire closures, which I will hopefully go back and make up next summer. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was definitely the most ambitious adventure of my life, and it has shown me that I am capable of accomplishing lofty goals. The day after I reached the monument, I flew home from Vancouver and returned to Berkeley where I am currently studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. The transition was quite jarring at first but I quickly eased back into “normal” life. I have been on some shorter hikes since, but I really want to do another long hike at some point in the future. I have my sites set on hiking the Continental Divide Trail, a 2,700 mile or so trail that parallels the PCT in the rocky mountains, in the next few years.

Anthony Ottati