This is a copy of my resupply strategy for hiking the pct hike. On route the trail passes through or near towns which I will use to re-supply. I prefer to buy my food from the local towns on the trail where possible. It may narrow my choice of foods and might cost me more but I’d prefer to support the locals where possible. I did the same on my cycle tour last year from Alaska to the Mexico border. There will, however, be times where it is more prudent to post food ahead to more remote sections of trail that are harder to resupply from.

The following is my resupply strategy for hiking the pct. It will almost certainly change while on the trail. I also will post a box containing my computer and other assorted things I may need while on the trail. This is called a bounce box. It will mainly be sent to places where I plan to have rest days. I may have as many as 20 rest days on this hike at various towns along the way. If I choose to not to pick up the bounce box at the post office I can forward it to the next destination free of charge, hence the name, Bounce Box! I have not decided where I’ll send the bounce box yet, I’ll make it up as I go. First destination will probably be Warner Springs (Mile 109), then posted forward to Idyllwild (Mile179).

The schedule below will have me finishing the trail in about 24 weeks, including rest days, hopefully.

Resupply strategy for hiking the PCT

B = Buying food in the towns / resorts / gas stations that I pass through or are near the trail.
M = Mail. I’ll pick up my supply from the post office or other location I use to mail food to myself.

Section Days Distance (mi) Total Distance (mi) Resupply
Campo to Mt. Laguna 3 42.9 42.9 B
Mt. Laguna to Warner Springs 4  66.6 109.5 B
Warner Springs to Idyllwild  5 69.9 179.4  B
Idyllwild to Big Bear City  6 95.6 275  B
Big Bear City to Wrightwood  6 94.5 369.5  B
Wrightwood to Agua Dulce  6 85 454.5  B
Agua Dulce to Tehachapi or Mojave  6 112 566.5  B
Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows  8 135.5 702.2  M
Kennedy Meadows to Independence  5 86.7 788.9  B
Independence to Tuolumne Meadows  9 153.6 942.5  B
Tuolumne Meadows to South Lake Tahoe  9 152 1094.5  B
South Lake Tahoe to Sierra City  5 103 1197.5  B
Sierra City to Belden  5 92 1289.5  B
Belden to Chester  2 45.2 1334.7  B
Chester to Burney Falls State Park  4 88.8 1423.5  M
Burney Falls State Park to Castella  4 83.1 1506.6  B
Castella to Etna  5 100 1606.6  B
Etna to Seiad Valley  3 55.5 1662.1  B
Seiad Valley to Ashland  3 63.9 1726.0  B
Ashland to Crater Lake Post Office  5 103.3 1829.3  M
Crater Lake Post Office to Shelter Cove Resort  4 83 1912.3  M
Shelter Cove Resort to Sisters  5 89 2001.3  M
Sisters to Timberline Lodge  5 106 2107.3  M
Timberline Lodge to Cascade Locks  2 47.7 2155.0  B
Cascade Locks to White Pass  7 148 2303.0  M
White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass  5 99 2402.0  B
Snoqualmie Pass to Skykomish  4 74 2476.0  M
Skykomish to Stehekin  6 104.2 2580.2  M
Stehekin to Manning Park  5 88.6 2668.8  Finished
Totals:  146 2668.8

15 Responses

  1. Brian Watt

    VVR is also hard to get to. Lake Edison has been drained and you need to walk about 2 additional miles to where the boat can pick you up. Also I think they only do one pickup/drop off per day – this past year I was lucky and they took me back out later in the afternoon. Then it’s 2 miles back to the trail, argh! Overall I would verify everything I’ve said and if true I would consider another resupply spot. Overall, on my thru-hike this passed year I got really spoiled whenever I had to go very far off trail – so, having to get to VVR was, to me, a pain in the ass that I hadn’t expected until I got there. Sincerely, Tartan PCT 2014.

  2. briandwatt

    P.S. BTW, I went over Kearsarge Pass which in a very very long way off trail (about 8 miles with a 15 mile hitch) into Independence CA where I took a zero and went to Bishop CA by bus. So for me it was KM to Independence to VVR to Tuolumne Meadows.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Tartan, thanks for the tips. I was trying to avoid the longest of detours, if possible, so VVR looked like a good option. I’ll call them while on trail later this year to get the latest info etc. I’m familiar with all the towns on the eastern Sierras as I cycle toured there last year. Great towns with everything I’ll need and transport between towns but I was trying to avoid, Lone Pine, Independence, Bishop and Mammoth if possible. Time will tell what I eventually decide. I’m hoping for only 1 re-supply between Kennedy Meadows and Tuolumne Meadows.
      If you would do it again where would you re-supply and why?

      • briandwatt

        Since I am not a multi-time PCT hiker, nor do I live in the area, I can only talk about what I did. Looking at Craig’s PCT Planner (pctplanner.com) I see that the only options from Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows is: (1) Lone Pine, (2) Independence, (3) Muir Ranch, (4) VVR, and (5) Reds Meadow/Mammoth. The overall mileage is 239.9 which is too far to go in a single hike. As I said I broke it into KM to Independence (87.4 miles), Independence to VVR (87.0 miles), and VVR to Tuolumne Meadows (65.5 miles). Recently I’ve heard on the PCT mailing list and/or Facebook pages about using Muir Ranch which is 1.5 miles off trail (per Yogi’s Handbook), however, the Handbook says they don’t have any resupplies there, whereas, VVR is further off trail, but does have a store where you can buy things. The choice is yours. Sincerely, Tartan

  3. Packman

    When you get to Sisters, Or., there is a huge food market, “Rays”. Everything you could want, and then some. Of course Sisters is an 18 mile hitch from Santiam Pass but is really the last worthwhile resupply until you get to Mt. Hood which will require a mail drop. Also, Sisters is one of those tourist traps, if you need a break and like looking at art galleries and such.. Lots of rv’s and fat Americans. On the west side of town just passed Rays is nothing but wide open forest. A short hike in and you can stealth camp.
    My suggestion for the high sierra is KM then Muir Ranch then Tuolumne. MR is charging a whopping $70, but that is cheaper and easier than a motel in Independence. Also, don’t plan on 20 mile days in the high sierra. That’s tough given rocky terrain and high altitude. What’s more, it is the best part of the whole hike. Gotta savior the moment.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Thanks Pacman. That’s so far in the future. My planning is more tha a week or so in advance, I’ll refer back to this when I get closer, thanks for the info.

  4. lovedandlovable

    How long did it take for you to prepare for PCT? I am also from Australia, I have no idea what to do first… & still don’t know if it is something I should do soon or in the future?

    • BikeHikeSafari

      It took me about 12-14 weeks to plan. That’s from the time I made the decision to hike till the time I set foot on trail. If you need any specific advice on hiking the PCT as an Aussie I am willing to help out with all the info you will need and answer any questions you might have. If you want further info send me a message on my ‘contact me’ page. I can help you after I have finished hiking the CDT mid September. I will be helping/mentoring several hikers next year.

  5. Sarah Broyles

    How much did your resupply change once you were on the trail? Are there any changes you would make to the schedule you created above?

    • BikeHikeSafari

      I made a couple of changes. I tried to buy food locally if I could. I only sent packages to Kennedy Meadows, Burney Falls, Crater Lake, Shelter Cove and Sisters. I was able to get a descent resupply at all other places, even the places in Washington where everyone said it’s not possible.
      I also made a stop at Mammoth Lakes after Independence/Lone Pine as I was hiking with an awesome group who planned to go there, so I bought less food in Lone Pine. If I sent packages all the way along the trail I would have lacked the flexibility to do such a thing.
      On some sections I hiked faster than the days I thought it would take. I planned 146 days and took 147.
      If I hiked the trail again I would make few changes. Just the stop at Mammoth Lakes that I mentioned.
      Good luck with your hike.

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