How Expensive Is It to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail?

Woman standing rocks with hiking backpack walking sticks

If you are a backpacker or hiker, surely one of your greatest wishes is to enjoy the famous Pacific Crest Trail, which has a length of 2,650 miles.

If you ever looked into it, you’ll know that a lot of planning has to be done in order to make it from one end to the other. But all of this planning can not be done without thinking of one thing: the budget.

The average cost seems to be 6,000 US dollars, but you can’t see that as a fixed number. At the end of the day, many things can happen that will raise the sum up or even lower it if you’re really disciplined and you don’t encounter any setbacks.

Some people suggest numbers between 5,000 and 10,000 dollars. The Pacific Crest Trail Association is a bit more generous and approximates the costs at around 4,000 – 8,000 dollars. In these sums, you’ll have the price of gear and the end-to-end expenses that you’ll have across your journey.

Regarding the items that you will need for your trip, things like a Primos game camera or a tent may not cost too much and you may even have some of them at your place already, but when you add the cost of everything, you’ll understand why this trail is seen as a bit pricey by some.

How to budget for the hike

We created a list of things that you should keep in mind if you plan to go on this trip with some of them that haven’t even crossed your mind. For example, while you’re away, there are still bills to be paid (like the rent) so put some money aside for those expenses. Don’t forget to do some math for transportation to and from the trail back home.

In case you already have experience in backpacking, you’re probably not going to need to buy a lot of new things, but since this journey is so long, it’s not a bad idea to invest in some new gear if your old one is worn out and replace some other items in your backpack as well.

You’ll also have to consider food for the period of time you’ll be gone. The trail can last about 5 months, so that sounds scary! On the other hand, trail food is not as expensive as the food you’ll find in a restaurant and has enough proteins and calories to give you the energy you need to continue the trip.

The things you don’t expect

Expenses that you don’t account for when you start planning is that when reaching a town, you may start to splurge a bit, getting a more comfortable bed in a motel or going out for some beers with the new people you met on the trail. Such expenses can add up quickly on your adventure, so you have to be extra careful about them!

When making the plan, you also have to plan for the unexpected, as they say, as you can have detours on your trail, injuries (nobody plans to have them, but they still happen) or some fun activity that you come across like having the chance to ride a motorcycle, go to a festival in the town you’re staying in for the night, etc.

Getting back from the trail, you’ll most likely be exhausted and broke, so leave at home plenty of money to keep you afloat until you come back to the working world.

Keep in mind all of these things and you’ll surely make your trip much safer, at least, financially speaking.

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