This post is just meant to document the towns I stopped in, whether to resupply, just go get food, or the right timing just happened so I went to town. For me, as much as the seclusion and wilderness aspect of the PCT pulled to me, a huge part of the experience I knew would be in the towns. It is where I get a whole different kind of experience and can meet and interact with people who help make the trail what it is. Getting to spend time with locals and trail angels was one of the most beautiful parts of the trail. I do have to say that I cannot put into words how helpful and amazing people were in these towns. Whether it is giving rides, buying meals, or just encouragement. The towns allowed me to see that there is so much beauty and kindness in the world.
As far as for information on the towns themselves I would recommend checking out As the Crow Flies. Her blog was like the Bible for me on the trail. It has the best info out there on towns and what they have to offer.
List of towns stopped at in order from South to North:
Julian @ mile 77 – definitely don’t skip! The apple pie is sooooo good. Unfortunately Carmen sold her place so I am not sure what is going on with it, but if the new owner makes it anything like Carmen did, it is a highlight of the trail.
Warner Springs @ mile 109 – great place and the people at the community center are extremely helpful and kind! Be sure to clean yourself and your clothes with the bucket set up in the back!
Paradise Valley Cafe @ mile 151- A MUST GO! Killer food for vegetarians! Nothing was bad here!
Idyllwild @ mile 178- Super cute town and great because everything is so close together. The campsites are the cheapest option and nice. It has a bathroom and showers. Seemed to be more of a party crowd here though! Also, if you’re there on a Tuesday go to the $1.25 tacos down the street at La Casita! The vegetarian tacos were so legit!
Big Bear Lake @ mile 265 – Too big in my opinion. On 0 days we were still walking 5+ miles to resupply. But a cool town.
Cajon Pass @ mile 342- MOST EXPENSIVE MCDONALDS EVER!
Wrightwood @ mile 369 – We got there during a storm and all the trail angels were packed up and all the hotels booked so finding a place to stay was hell. But great town, do yourself a favor and go to the bakery. If you get there on a weekend get a Sticky Bun. The mexican restaurant also has an amazing Vegan Burrito. It has french fries in it!
Agua Dulce @ mile 454- Hiker Heaven is a key part of the trail! Take time to talk to the hosts, the Saufley’s. It is such a fun place, especially if you love animals. If you go to the local grocery store, take a look at the discounted baked goods. We found apple pies for $2.50!
Casa De Luna @ mile 478- aka the Andersons! You get to camp in a majestic fairy land. Had an absolute blast here! All you can eat mexican nachos for dinner and all you can eat pancakes for breakfast! If you help cook, you get first dibs! And be ready to dance your ass off!
Tehachapi @ mile 558- I loved this town. A bit tough to get around, but locals offer hitches. Local farmers market during the week that is super cute. And the movie theatre offers some good deals online sometimes!
Ridgecrest @ mile 652- Stay with the trail angel Erica if you can. She is super rad and just lets hikers hang around her house all day. She also has multiple dogs, chickens, turkeys, and the best of all baby goats!
Kennedy Meadows @ mile 702- Obviously you know what you get here. Fun place to hang out. Just be aware although they have wifi it’s total shit. So all the research needing to be done before heading into the Sierras is super rough. Best option is to go early to Grumpy’s. If you get there before everyone else the wifi isn’t too bad. Also, eat as many pancakes as you can! And Grumpy’s has the best breakfast potatoes I have ever tasted.
Bishop @ mile 790- Easily one of my favorite towns. I want to go back and work at Hostel California. Super rad place, they have bikes and skateboards to go around on. And the brewery has the worlds best sweet potato fries! Erick Schat’s is also really good, if you go to the back they have all their almost expired stuff heavily discounted. I got massive bags of goodies for less than $1.
VVR @ mile 877- Be ready to get a hefty bill here. A plain grilled cheese with an extremely small portion of fries was $12. Not a terrible resupply place, but just more of a cool hang out.
Mammoth Lakes @ mile 906- Highly recommend Mammoth. A great place to reset after a tough section and it is just a cool ass town. The local trolley takes you around for free, which is nice because the town is pretty spread out.
Lee Vining @ mile 942- Less known town that I highly recommend. You can stay for free at the local church, and there is a shower and a kitchen. Also, make sure you head to the Mobil as it is some of the most delicious food on trail. They also have live music some nights.
South Lake @ mile 1090- Cool town, good food, plenty of resupply options.
Truckee/ Tahoe City @ mile 1153- I had a good set up here and stayed with a friend so I didn’t really experience it as a hiker too much. Most people seemed to skip Truckee, but I love the town.
Sierra City @ mile 1195- Just the convenient store, but they offer pretty good milkshakes and semi decent food. The church allows campers to sleep out back.
Belden @ mile 1284- Just stopped for a quick lunch. The food was great and really big quantities which is a plus for any hiker. I don’t eat meat, but the BLT sandwich looked sooooooo good!
Chester @ mile 1328- You just passed the half way point, so go into town and get a massively delicious milkshake!
Drakesbad Guest Ranch @ mile 1347- Hated this place. They were super rude and not helpful. Do NOT pay for a dinner, unless it’s the bbq night. About 8 of us ordered dinner and all had to go back to camp and cook food, they just give you left overs from what their guests didn’t eat.
Old Station @ mile 1371- Cool place to stop by, the milkshakes from the quick shop are great. J.J.’s Cafe is a great place to hang, charge your phone, and eat a good meal.
Burney Guest Ranch @ mile 1407- The owner is so kind and greets you with fresh ice cream right when you arrive. Hikers are allowed to use the pool, showers, and laundry. If you sign up for meals they are all you can eat.
Castella/ Dunsmuir @ mile 1498- Neither were too great. Definitely simple, if a hiker is looking for anything more like an actual town get a hitch to Mt. Shasta. I want to note that the owner of the gas station in Castella is super helpful and kind. He gave me free donuts and chocolate milk since my package didn’t arrive.
Etna @ mile 1597- Go to Dotty’s, get a milkshake, get sweet potato fries, and repeat. Loved this town for sure! Good vibes all around.
Seiad Valley @ mile 1653- Winner of best Milkshake on the trail! The breakfast was pretty delicious too. Brave enough to take on the pancake challenge? Definitely want to be sure if you are hiking to make it to town before the cafe closes. And unless you pay for a site at the local RV Park you are not even allowed to hang out there on the lawn.
Ashland @ mile 1716- Already knew I loved this town before the PCT. I spent 5 days here. Super cute small town. The all you can eat Indian restaurant is worth checking out.
Crater Lake @ mile 1819. The shop actually offers some decent stuff, and the restaurant isn’t too pricey and pretty good.
Elk Lake @ mile 1950- Just stopped for breakfast before hitching to Bend. Good food!
Bend @ mile 1950- Great town. There is an REI and tons of breweries and restaurants around. Auntie Sunshine wins best hosting trail angel of the PCT!
* Unfortunately due to fire closures I had to miss Big Lake Youth Camp. I am still determined to get there sometime!
Timberline Lodge @ mile 2094- The breakfast buffet is worth the hype! Tip, if you go back into the buffet as they’re cleaning up they let you take as many extra pastries as you want!
Cascade Locks @ mile 2144- Not much here, but a decent town. I was spoiled so had a blast!
Trout Lake @ mile 2226- Just hit the road as a man came to give rides. Definitely worth the food which was great, but have to talk about their Huckleberry Milkshake…OMG so good!!!
White Pass @ mile 2292- the Kracker Barrel is just a gas station…..not the delicious restaurant. But it is a funny place, their tater tots are good!
Snoqualmie Pass @ mile 2390- The truck right outside of the Chevron offers amazing food!
Stevens Pass @ mile 2461- Another place I would go work for anytime. Beautiful spot and everyone was super cool.
Leavenworth- I think it is worth checking out. Resupply isn’t hard and it is just a fun random place to hang out.
Steheiken @ mile 2569- The bakery lives up to the hype! It is also just a cool place to hang out at. I would recommend walking there. It is a beautiful view and you pass the local farm that offers cheese and such. I didn’t go, but my friends did and it was some of the best cheese I have ever tasted.