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Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have hiked over 10,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Every year I buy four Wilderness Press books, cut them into sections and put them in my resupply boxes. None are all inclusive for my needs. That does not exist. The Pacific Crest Trail: Southern California, Northern California, and Oregon/Washington and the Pacific Crest Trail Data Book, all four by Wilderness Press. They tell me where, I am going, how to get there, side and alternate routes(a huge plus), histories, points of interest and much, much more. These books give me much more than a simple point A to B sterile hike. Author, Ben Schifrin, and editor, Roslyn Bullas, are active in the hiking community a show a genuine concern for helping the trails and the hikers both. I also use each year Yogi's Pacific Crest Trail Handbook. Author Jackie McDonnell(Yogi) is the #1 authority on how to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and she also passes on information from 500 other recent thru hikers including me. It will save you $100's of Dollars and 100's of hours. Buy it at [...] And I also use the free to print [...] maps by my friend Halfmile. The size and detail make it the best map for hiking the PCT.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just completed a thru-hike of the PCT. Although I started with the PCT Data Book, Yogi's Handbook, and all the guidebooks (cutting them into sections), after a while I quit carrying these.
Here's why:
--These books are OLD. Check the print date: 2003. Sure, there haven't been as many trail relocations as on the AT, but the town info is especially weak. Get Yogi's Handbook for information on goods & services in town, water locations, and lots of other useful, more recently updated points of interest.
--The maps are awful. They are only duo-chromatic; have wildly varying scales (even on the same page!); no mileage markers, water sources, or campsites shown. Also, they rarely align with the text, so you're constantly page flipping. Get Halfmile's.
--The paper is absorbent and the size won't fit in a quart ziplock bag.
Although I did enjoy the historical, cultural, geological and ecological vignettes, they were outweighed by the shortcomings listed above.

I think it is worth pointing out that the PCT Data Book (2005!) is also desperately in need of an update.
My recommendation for anyone planning a thru-hike would be to get Yogi's handbook and Halfmile's maps (paper or digital). These are all one needs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am planning to hike the PCT from Mexico to Canada starting in March, 2011. Preparation is not something you do a week before, it takes months of planning from shipping resupply boxes to getting the right boots (breaking them in too), tents, backpacks, and whatever else. These books (and I'm including the the volumes for Northern California and Washington/Oregon) are essential. Here's what I like:

1. Detailed maps. They seem to vary from 1:24,000 to 1:100,000, but I think the authors chose what is most useful for the portion of the route that's being described. I'm going to use the maps here with a GPS system (undecided as to which, but will make a purchase soon, probably the Delorme PN-60 with SPOT) and my iPhone that will include the waypoints and tracks from Halfmile.
2. Water. This is going to be the biggest issue from Mexico to the lower Sierra's, and this book mentions water sources all along the trail. It might be out of date, but using more current information from several online sources, I can add notes to the book and to my GPS systems.
3. Resupply locations. Very useful. I'm not very interested in walking 30 miles or so to off trail resupply, so I need to thoroughly plan locations that are close to the trail. This book makes this easy.
4. The trail itself. It gives everything from history, to making sure you take the right fork (as opposed to the wrong one) and to descriptions of elevations. It warns you public vs. private land (makes me despise the owners of Tejon Ranch even more after reading this book).

This is a thorough book. I've read it cover to cover highlighting important information as I plan out the trip. I don't think you can use it like a Frommer's guide, opening up to the page when you get there. It's clear to survive and enjoy the PCT on a thruhike, planning counts.

I don't plan to do the thruhike in the ultra-light high-speed mode, so the weight of the books don't bother me. But they are heavy (seems to be printed on very high quality paper), so if you are worried about the grams, cutting them up and sending them along with resupply boxes is wise. I'm going to carry the full book, in case I make some adjustments to my schedule. I'll probably send the Northern California book to my last resupply section in "Southern California".

If you're going to do the PCT in whole or part, this book is extremely useful, especially for planning. When I do the Appalachian Trial in 2012, I hope I can find books like this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Pacific Crest Trail Guide Books are an essential tool for anyone hiking major sections of it including portions away from heavily travelled parts near trailheads and metropolitan areas. Its electronic availability will allow through hikers to carry less weight while still having the tools needed to safely walk the Trail
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Essential planning tool used for my thru-hike last year. Use for advance planning and then tore the book apart to use ont he trail. Segments were included in my drop boxes as we moved up the trail. As mentioned in other reviews, the maps are marginal at best. Half-mile has the most current maps - last year, I was told he was a day ahead of us updating his maps. Use both this book and Half-Mile's maps on your thru-hike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
After my first read of this book I feel I could prepare, condition and hike this trail. Knowing the danger's and challenges is very helpful. This book reads well because of the added History, Geology, and Ecology it also contains.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Chock full of information, very good descriptions of trails and access. I downloaded and printed better and clearer maps free online. Rather heavy for a multi-day hiker, good for car camping and day hikes.
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on August 7, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this guide for a trip my husband and I were planning across the San Bernardino Mtns. The guide is very thorough, providing detailed descriptions of what to expect on the trail as well as water supply, permit information, mileage charts, topos, and campsites. It also has interesting info about geology, fun facts about plants, etc. It covers the PCT from Agua Dulce to Toulomne, so if you're like me and have no plans to do it all in one shot, it'll come in handy for many small trips. I've been generally impressed with my previous purchases of Wilderness Press products, and this guide didn't disappoint.
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on November 27, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have used the WA/OR and the Northern CA guides on my south-bound section hike of the PCT. Now that I have hiked through those books I am starting this Southern CA guide.
It is very useful information, but it is often difficult to follow the trail description designed for north-bounders. I wish there was a south-bond version.
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on March 30, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Seems incomplete to me. The author choses sections of the trail to discuss, stating that he did indeed omit those he did not like. For me, I would like to hear about the full trail and make decisions myself. I bought this book after talking to some fellow hikers around Burnt Hill...the trail is in the omit category.
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