“A thru-hike is a slow process. It’s something that happens at 3MPH. That gives the experience time to sink into your bones.”

Left foot [jason benhaim] I thru-hiker, Author, aspiring micrologist


When people are doing long hikes…

They refer back to their life at home as ‘real life.’ I think, that’s a false dichotomy.

This is real life.

One of the things that a thru-hike does, is it distills down the essence of what life is. You have limited resources. You have limited time. Even though you don’t feel like it, you have to get up, and you have to keep moving forward.

In ‘real life,’ it’s exactly the same way. You have to keep moving forward. no matter what.

- BRENNEN BARTLETT I Thru-hiker, Timelapse Artist


“You get the support from other [thru] hikers that not only keeps you moving, it makes the experience more meaningful.”

double stuf | [first-time] thru-hiker


The value of national scenic trails

Outside national scenic trails’ ability to offer humans with the opportunity to connect with what’s wild, they also offer protections to wilderness that are effective tools toward its conservation. Below are a few examples of protections written into U.S. Forest Service management plans that these ribbons of trail influence because of the preservative value of their congressional designation.

1) No surface occupancy for oil and gas leasing activities and no common variety mineral extraction shall occur within the national scenic trail corridor.

2) To maintain the outstanding features of national scenic trails and be compatible with the surrounding environment, trail-related facilities and facilities within national scenic trail corridors should blend in with the surrounding environment. Where the trail leads to an outstanding destination feature, the qualities of that feature should be preserved.

3) To maintain and protect the scenic qualities of national scenic trails, management activities should be consistent with the scenic integrity objective of high to very high.

The Pacific Northwest Trail


The lower-48’s most challenging THRU

The Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) is a 1,200-mile continuous path from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. The PNT is a unique pathway that travels through some of the most spectacular and scenic terrain in the United States while connecting people and communities across the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, it was designated by Congress as a National Scenic Trail. 


The PNT offers a diverse experience, from wilderness to working landscapes to historic downtown Main Streets. Along its east-west route, the trail climbs major mountain ranges and descends into pastoral river valleys and small rural communities. The trail includes a ferry crossing of Puget Sound (the only saltwater ferry crossing on a National Scenic Trail).  PNT users experience the best of the Pacific Northwest: panoramic views of the Rockies, rolling grasslands in the Okanogan Highlands, volcanoes and high-country meadows in the North Cascades, farming and fishing communities on Puget Sound, and mossy trees and sandy beaches on the Olympic Peninsula.



Explore and discover the opportunities available at the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.