The Pacific Ridge National Scenic Trail (PCT) is a 26,600-mile uninterrupted hiking trail that stretches from the California-Mexico border to the Washington-Canada border, traversing the most rugged environments found in western coastal states. The trail crosses 26 national forests, seven national parks, five state parks, and four national monuments, not to mention the entire John Muir Trail of Central California. It is easy to see why hundreds of travelers each year start at any border and try to “overtake” the entire PCT in one six-month window.
For those who can’t take six months, or are a little in awe of uninterrupted backcountry trekking, there are still ways to enjoy PCT, either backpacking the smaller sections of the trail or hopping on one of the great trekking options of the day below. Hiker beware, however, once you’re on the PCT and you feel like it’s stretching out in any direction across the country, it can be hard to get it out of your head until you’ve studied the entire trail.
The Southern California portion of the PCT stretches for seven hundred miles across arid landscapes filled with twisted chaparral and small interruptions in water, and while this vast terrain is often a challenge for hikers and daytime trotters, the Southern California section of the PCT has many highlights. There is no better example of what to find than the aptly named Eagle Rock, just over 100 miles north of South Terminus PCT.
If you’re looking to take a day hike in Eagle Rock, all it takes is a 6.5-mile round trip, starting on Highway 7 near the Warner Springs Fire Station. Follow the PCT markers off the road as the trail bends near Canada Verde Creek and the ravine for the first half of the ride, before continuing through arid meadows and sparse vegetation until you reach the unmistakable geologic icon that is Eagle Rock. Jump down this trail between March and May, before many of the hikers find in the area, and there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon a stunning display of wildflowers blooming along the way.