PCT Permit Process - Application procedure in preparation for the Pacific Crest Trail

are you thinking of hiking the Pacific

Crest Trail then here's my no nonsense

guide on how to get hold of a permit

from my own experience let's go

hello long-distance hikers and long-term

well travelers Russ here bringing you

the best tips and inspiration for hiking

around the world I did plan on through

hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail

this year but due to some family issues

I'm not going to be able to but I did go

through the entire process of getting a

visa and a permit sorted for the dates

that I wanted getting hold of your PCT

permit for the first time can be a

daunting prospect but with this no

nonsense guide I hope to give you the

best steps from my own experience to

guide you through the entire process I

made sure I have my PCT long distance

permit in my hands ready to go for my US

visa application which you all need to

do a film from overseas I'm going to do

a video on how to apply for a US visa

and what I did and my own experience

with that I'll put a card here for when

that's done so you can watch that as

well without further ado let's get into

the steps on how to get your first PCT

permit okay so step one and that would

be to make sure you have a start date in

mind between mid March and mid May most

people who are going northbound on the

PCT start between these dates because

the earlier that you start the cooler it

is in the desert the more snow you're

having the Sierras but the less snow

you'll have in Washington the later that

you start the PCT the hotter it's going

to be in the desert the less snow you're

going to have in the High Sierras and

the more snow you're going to have in

Washington I chose to start my Trek on

May the 1st because I wanted to have

less snow in the Sierras so I could walk

a bit faster and I knew I'd be able to

walk quite far start aiming for about 25

to 35 miles a day when I was really

getting into it so I knew that I'd be

able to finish the trick in time for the

snow in in Washington I've calculated

for the entire trek that I'd need to

average about eighteen and a half miles

a day but that's including zero day so

days that I was going to take off from

the trail in towns and also days that I

was gonna be walking a lot slower in the

Sierras so I really wanted as little

snow in the Sierras as possible I mean

I'm not doing it now but a lot of people

have said this is another high record

snow year so

maybe I would have been caught out in

the High Sierras with plenty of snow

anyway and missed my finish point okay

so now you've got a rough date in mind

it's now time for step two which is find

out when the PCT opens for applications

for long distant permits and do your

research you must choose a right permit

before you enter your application and

the one that you want is the 500 mile

plus long distance permit long distance

permit applications usually open in

November and then the following year in

the January for the resale okay let's

get on to step number three and that is

applying for your permit on application

day you'll need to log onto the PCT a

website and on the permit section there

should be a link to a waiting room the

PCT a now has a new system for applying

for permits so that when people log into

their website they're then placed into a

queue to wait to start their application

the queue can turn out to be thousands

of people long and you could be waiting

there for hours so what a lot of people

do is they actually book the entire day

off work especially the guys out in the

US they make sure that they get the

place that they want they say not to get

into that waiting room too early but I

went in there for about twenty-five

minutes before and I was very very lucky

I got placed into just number 300 and

something in the queue and I was only

waiting 20 minutes to start my

application and you have some people

getting put into place number 7,000 and

having to wait about six or seven hours

to start theirs which is absolutely

mental where you iron the queue is very

important because if you get put to the

front of the queue when you first log in

you're gonna have more chances and more

time to pick the date that you want when

you get onto the calendar the further

back in the queue you are in that

waiting room means that when you

actually get into the calendar system

there'll be less chances for you to get

the the date that you really want there

would have been many more people in

front of you going onto the calendar and

picking the dates that they wanted so

making it less likely that you'll get

the date that you want the harsh reality

of it is is there's nothing you can do

about whether or not you're gonna be at

the front or the back of the queue it's

just pot luck so they say okay so how to

start a squirt the PCT a actually offers

35 places per day for North bounders on

the 500 mile plus long distance hiking

permit what that means is per day there

will only be 35 people actually starting

the hike on that day what this does is

it ensures that the trail is properly

maintained it's not gonna get trampled

by thousands of people or starting on

the FIR

serve April which is what a lot of

people want or the second week of April

which is what even more people want they

want to kind of spread it out so that

different sets of people in different

groups are going to start and there's no

more than 35 once the 35 places on that

date have been booked that entire date

will be locked and you'll have to go on

the calendar and look for either for the

next date along the next day or another

suitable date that you wish if all of

the dates that you want are completely

locked when you get into that calendar

system you'll have to wait for the next

round of applicants which is in January

where they open up another 10 to 15

places so you can go back on that date

and add your place in there top tip I

would like to give to you is that the

later that you start the PCT the more

likely you are to get the date that you

want the reason for this being is that

most people want to start in mid-march

to mid April those are the busiest times

to start because it's cooler in the

desert and most of the community is

starting around that date as well so

people really enjoy meeting up with

people before their hike and asking

questions a lot of people like to hike

in groups and go with their friends so

that's why it's really busy at that time

of year as well but of course I went for

the first of May as my start date I got

in and boom there it was my calendars 8

was completely free no one had even

picked era I think maybe one person had

already picked that day so yeah maybe I

was like one of two people starting on

the first of May once you've locked in

your date and you've gone through the

entire process they asked you a

questionnaire how long you're planning

on doing the hike what dates you're

planning on going and what that does is

it enables them to calculate whether

you're actually for real and whether

you've actually done your planning right

if you've put in the wrong date or the

wrong timeframe that you're planning on

doing the PCT they'll be able to be like

ok this guy doesn't really know what

he's doing and they could actually

decline you from getting your permit so

before you go do your research know

exactly when you're gonna go know how

long you're gonna be planning on

trekking for know what your average pace

is gonna be for each day like what your

mileage is are and if you do everything

right it's quite a simple questionnaire

the likelihood is you're gonna get

accepted to get your permit once you've

gone through all of that they will take

you to a window saying that you've been

accepted and what they do I think is in

mid-january the following year after

you've done your application they'll

actually issue you out all of the

permits in a PDF format so that you can


print it out I think also if you donate

a little bit of cash at the end of your

application I think it's $35 I donated

they actually sent me an information

pack subscribe me to the PCT magazine

which is a really good addition to going

through that whole process okay so that

is parameter sorted so once you've got

your permits sort it and you know when

it's going to be coming the best thing

to then do is apply for us tourism be to

type visa and get an interview set into

place for after when your PCT permit

arrives the reason for this being as I

mentioned before is if you go to your US

visa interview with the PCT permit and

all of the documentation in your hand

you'll be much more likely to be

accepted for the visa and it will make

the entire process a lot easier

overall I found the process of getting a

PCT permit although it was a little bit

tedious I really like that they put

everyone in a waiting room yes I was

very lucky that I got put 300 and

something in the in the queue to get my

application up and running but I think

in previous years it's been much more

complicated and this new system

apparently has helped a lot of people

sadly I will not be doing the PCT this

year and I do have a permit ready to go

so I will be giving that back to the PCT

a to open up the spot for someone who

really wants it also on the PCT a web

site there's plenty of information about

the trail everything that you need to

know and how to get started lots of

advice on wildlife and on camping and

all the rules and regulations so go and

check out PCT a org they have everything

you need to know there okay guys thank

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