My personal list, plus notes, of the trail towns that I visited to resupply in while I was on my southbound thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Available as a PDF download for your printing convenience or smart phone use.
At the request of several readers, I’ve decided to take a pause from catching up my trail journals and create a list of the towns that I went to for resupply on my PCT southbound thru-hike this year. I know that a lot of you are currently in the throes of planning next year’s adventure, so I hope that this list might be of some help to you.
Things to take note of:
This list is only of towns that I either bought a resupply in or sent a box to. I sent the majority of my resupply in the mail. If I mailed a box there, it was shipped via USPS Priority Mail unless otherwise noted. You can read my post about resupply boxes and the United States Postal system here.
If you’re looking for a detailed list of all the towns along the PCT, I highly recommend purchasing the Guthooks App for your smart phone. It’s user contributed and immensely helpful for when you’re actually on the trail. I have my own PDF town guide, but it is admittedly outdated (at the moment). I hope to do some edits and updates within the next few weeks with my new knowledge of these places. You can read/download that here.
My strategy was to get in and out of towns in a timely manner to avoid spending too much money there, keeping my budget in check. I tried to only take a zero about every 500 miles so I wouldn’t be spending a lot of money on motel rooms. You can read about my SOBO PCT Budget here. I will do a follow-up post soon regarding this area of my thru-hike.
All mileage in this list is based on Halfmile’s maps.
I started my SOBO thru-hike on July 5th from Harts Pass, in Washington State and then headed north for thirty miles until I tagged the Northern Terminus on the Canada border. This is what almost all southbounders do, as the United States does not allow hikers to enter the country via the PCT, as Canada does with the NOBO hikers. The mileage on my list is from the Northern Terminus, going south.
The High Sierra Sections:
When I started my thru-hike in July, one of my main goals was to reach Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park before it closed for the season, in late September, which I thankfully accomplished. This is for convenience, since it’s an important stop for resupply. If you don’t get there before the season ends, you may have a large food carry from Sonora Pass to Reds Meadow. This may or may not be a big deal, but the store at Reds Meadow can be pretty picked over by the end of the season (something I experienced) and the hiker shuttles into Mammoth Lakes are limited to only the weekends after the Labor Day holiday. It’s also incredibly expensive to send a resupply box there, as they charge an exorbitant holding fee.
Yosemite posts an approximate closure date for Tuolumne Meadows on their website every year.
Bear Canisters are required by law through Yosemite National Park and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. This is to protect the bears, not you. If you’re caught, you face being fined. Like most SOBO hikers, I sent mine full of food to Kennedy Meadows North at Sonora Pass for collection. You can also buy used or new bear canisters from Sonora Pass Resupply, with the option of buying food to go in it too. Then you can avoid hitching into Kennedy Meadows North and paying the fee; simply pick it up from the truck they keep parked at the pass. You can sell your bear canister to Triple Crown Outfitter in Kennedy Meadows South once you arrive. This is good for people who live outside the U.S. and have no use for a bear canister once they go home.
Because it was late in the season, I did not resupply at Vermilion Valley Resort or Muir Trail Ranch. These are two popular resupply points among the JMT crowd. VVR is expensive, as you have to take a ferry to get there. They also charge a ridiculous holding fee for packages. MTR is even more ridiculous, at $80 to hold a package for hikers (at the time of publication). I hear the hiker boxes are good at MTR, but they closed before I made it in time, so I can’t say first hand. Both of these locations usually close around the same time at Tuolumne Meadows.
Again, this list is only to act as a guide and in no way am I saying that this is what you should follow. If you’re interested in going to a certain town that I haven’t mentioned, then by all means go there.
If you have any questions regarding resupply locations, please feel free to ask in the comment section, or send me an email.
Click the link below to download and view PDF.
Artemis Hikes SOBO Resupply
I flip-flopped on my thruhike and went through the High Sierra in the end of July/beginning of August. The hiker boxes at every stop were overflowing with food and gear.
The hiker boxes at Muir Trail Ranch were the best I’ve seen in my life. I stayed an extra day there just because of all the free food: starbucks coffee, homemade beef and bacon jerky, imported sausage… I know it’s hard to rely on the hiker boxes, but something to keep in mind if you hit Sierra at the right time.
Thanks for the info. As a SOBO hiker who went through the Sierra in late September, nearly all resorts (MTR, VVR) were closed for the season, as mentioned in my notes. Going through this section as a NOBO in 16′ (June), the hiker boxes were abundant. It’s amazing what a difference a few months can make.