Travel Lane County
541.484.5307 · 800.547.5445 ·
Adventure Center/Visitor Information: 3312 Gateway St · Springfield OR (Open daily 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Downtown Eugene Visitor Center: 754 Olive St · Eugene OR (Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Mailing Address: PO Box 10286 · Eugene OR 97440 s

Pacific Crest Trail F.A.Q.s


Pacific Crest Trail Sign by Julia FrantzHow many miles of the PCT runs through Lane County?
From the the Summit Lake Campground to the Dee Wright Observatory there is 92.9 miles (149.50 km) of continuous trail.

Where/how does the PCT pass through Lane County?
In general, the Pacific Crest Trail follows the crest of the Cascade Mountains. The Cascade Mountains mark the eastern boundary of the Willamette National Forest and the western boundary of our neighbor to the east, the Deschutes National Forest.

What PCT sections are in Lane County?
Oregon sections D (roughly Diamond Peak Wilderness) and E (roughly Three Sisters Wilderness) of the PCT traverse Lane County.

What are the easiest trailheads to access?
Willamette Pass (Hwy 58), McKenzie Pass (Hwy 242) and Santiam Pass (Hwy 20/126). Hwy 242 closes seasonally due to snow. Local trailhead information.

Where can I get maps of the PCT Lane County Sections?
The Adventure Center in Springfield sells the official maps for the south (section D) and north (section E) portions of the Oregon trail. They also sell books with information about section hiking the PCT in Oregon. You can also order maps and guides direct from the Pacific Crest Trail Association.   

Who manages or stewards the trail through Lane County?
The U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Pacific Crest Trail Association all share management along the trail.  

When is it best to hike Oregon's section of the PCT?
Oregon's crest trail season is July through October. September is the best month. Hiking too early in the season may mean trekking through melting snow or swatting at mosquitoes. August is popular so the trail is busy. And while October is spectacular with fall foliage, you take your chances with early snow fall. No matter when you go, be prepared for all conditions. More weather information.

For day hikes, week days are preferable over busy weekends and mornings provide optimal wildlife sighting.

Where is the closest lodging?
For Lane County's section of the trail there are several first-come, first-serve shelters. Additionally, Oakridge (Hwy 58) and McKenzie River (Hwy 242 & Hwy 20 to Hwy 126) offer plenty of campgrounds, cabins, lodges, motels and hotels. Travel approximately 60 miles west to Eugene - Springfield for even more options.

Where are stores for supplies and food?
Oakridge (Hwy 58) and McKenzie River (Hwy 242 & 20 to Hwy 126) have grocery and general stores.

Is there shuttle service to PCT trailheads? 
Mountain biking guides based in Oakridge and McKenzie River can offer hikers shuttle service to and from trailheads.


Can anyone travel the PCT?
Yes, the PCT is open to the public traveling by foot or horseback. Some sections require permits and hikers are asked to be respectful of private lands. There is a group maximum of 12 people in Wilderness areas.

What is basic trail etiquette?
Stay on the trails, give animals plenty of space, be courteous to other hikers and practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace.  

May I hike with my dog?
Yes, dogs are allowed on the trail but they must be under voice control. For your dog's own safety, please keep your dog close. Dogs may not harass wildlife. Local dog resources.

May I ride my horse on the trail?
Yes, the entire length of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is open to horses and pack stock. For more information and planning, visit the Pacific Crest Trail Association's Equestrian Center.

May I ride my mountain bike on the trail?
Bicycle and motorized vehicles are NOT permitted on any portion of the trail or in Wilderness areas. However, the Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail (PCBT) is a 2,500 miles (4,000 km) route that runs closely parallel to the PCT on roads. Oregon is also home to Oakridge, known for its many mountain biking trails, and Oregon has many designated scenic bikeways throughout the state. 

What about snakes, ticks and poison oak?
These pests and plants typically don't exist above 3,000 feet so for most of the PCT in Lane County, they won't be an issue.

And mosquitoes?
Unfortunately, you'll need to be prepared. July is the worst month for them, however; anytime there is standing water in high-elevations mosquitoes may be present. Wear long sleeves, bring along repellent and pack a tent.

How do I know if there are current trail closures?
For trail closures check out the Pacific Crest Trail Association's Trail Conditions and Closures as well as the Willamette National Forest's Alerts.  


Do I need a permit for just a day hike?
Each section of the trail has different requirements. You can obtain a free Self Issuing Wilderness Permit at the trailhead if it is in a Wilderness area. Some parking areas or trailheads accept onsite payment by cash ($5 - $7) but as each payment system is different, we recommend a pre-purchased permit to avoid the disappointment and frustration of arriving at the trailhead only to discover that the necessary permit cannot be obtained onsite. The Obsidian Limited Entry Area within the Three Sisters Wilderness requires an advance online permit.

How and where do I get the permits?
It is advisable to purchase any needed permits prior to heading out. Many campgrounds and trailheads require a parking permit. Some parks or wilderness areas require additional permits. If you have questions, the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center or a ranger station (limited hours) can help you determine which permits you need.
For the Obsidian Limited Entry Area in the Three Sisters Wilderness you must obtain an advance permit through the National Recreation Reservation System online or by calling 1.877.444.6777. You will need to know the dates you are requesting to be in the area and how many people are in your group (limit of 12). The permit service fee is $6.


Can I camp along the trail?
Low-impact camping, dispersed camping is generally permissible. Please follow Leave No Trace and dispersed camping protocol by camping on durable surfaces away from water sources, roads, trails and developed sites. Permit requirements vary from section to section, so please make sure to check trailheads for requirements.

Can I have a fire on the trail?
Open fires are not permitted in most areas along the PCT, including near lakes or in backcountry. During fire season, campfires are not allowed. If backpacking stoves or campfires contained within campground rings are allowed, please use extreme caution. For more information on safe campfires, visit the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

Is there potable water available along the trail?
Access to water along the trail is unpredictable. Be prepared to carry water, plan supply stops and treat water. For more information on water safety, visit the Pacific Crest Trail Association.


Why is the trail called the Pacific Crest Trail? 
The name comes from the high crests of the Sierra and Cascades mountain ranges from which it generally runs.

When was the PCT established?
Congress established the Pacific Crest Trail as one of the original National Scenic Trails in the 1968 National Trails System Act.

How long is the entire PCT?
The entire trail from Mexico to Canada is approximately 2,650 miles (4,265 km), according to the Pacific Crest Trail Association. However, they state that the exact length is unknown.

How many people hike the trail each year?
It is guesstimated that 700 people set out to hike the whole trail each year with maybe 60 percent completing their journey.