There are numerous map resources available for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through Oregon. As one of the Ten Essentials, every PCT hiker should carry a map and compass, and know how to properly read them. While the PCT is (mostly) clearly marked through the state of Oregon, inclement weather (e.g., fog or a sudden snow shower) can hide the trail, recent fires can destroy parts of the trail, and blowdown can block portions of the trail. A good trail map can keep you on course or show you a nearby exit route. Here are some of the best PCT map options:
At last! Now there is one complete map set covering all 455 miles of the PCT thru Oregon. These National Geographic map booklets are current as of 2019 and contain the most complete and up-to-date PCT map data available. The info was gathered by the popular “Halfmile” mapping team, and were proofed and verified by PCT: Oregon for their accuracy. Plus, they’re light and compact enough to easily carry in packs and pockets.
The entire state is covered in two booklets: South: Willamette Pass to Siskiyou Summit, and North: Cascade Locks to Willamette Pass. Each comprehensive map booklet provides trailheads, point-to-point mileages, elevation profiles, camp locations, connecting trails and roads, resupply locations, and more. Interestingly, NatGeo chose to print the maps backwards (north to south), so they do take a little getting used to reading over the traditional south to north format. Regardless, it’s great to finally have a complete map set of the PCT in one consistent and up-to-date format. Printed on tear-proof, water-repellent paper. $15 each.
North and South Washington maps are also available. California maps coming soon.
HALFMILE PCT MAPS
Current as of 2018, this PCT map set is completely FREE! Compiled and updated annually by thru-hiker “Halfmile,” and his PCT mapping partners, these maps cover the entire length of the PCT, from the California/Mexico border at Campo to the Washington/Canada border at Monument 78 near Manning Park. The team employs high-gain GPS receivers to assemble the most accurate PCT mileage measurements possible. The Halfmile map information was used and verified for the measurements in Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon.
You can download PDF bundles of the entire PCT, or just sections of each state as needed. Maps are formatted to standard 8.5″ x 11″ so you can print what you need easily at home. For the best results, we recommend printing maps on all-weather paper so they can withstand being folded, crumpled, and exposed to the elements.
NOTE: The Halfmile smartphone app was discontinued in early 2019. It will continue to be usable until your OS no longer supports the program.
These large-format, full-color topographic maps are not so practical for on-trail use, but are extremely beneficial in helping you plot your PCT hiking adventure, whether it’s for a few days or a few weeks. For Oregon, there are eight map segments, available in two bundles: Southern Oregon (Map #7), which begins in Seiad Valley (in California) and covers the PCT north to Willamette Pass, and Northern Oregon (Map #8), which covers the PCT from Willamette Pass to the Bridge of the Gods on the Columbia River.
Each map shows the PCT as it winds its way through Oregon, and notes all the river and creek crossings (some seasonal, some no longer reliable), connecting trails and roads, and nearby peaks. On the margins of each map are informational bits on the trail, wilderness areas, local flora and fauna, climate and weather, and general hiking tips. Each map also provides condensed elevation profiles. Unfortunately, these maps do not offer any trail mileage information between junctions or significant landmarks. Also, being rather out-of-date, they do not show some of the more recent trail changes and rerouted sections. USFS PCT maps are $16 each and printed on waterproof paper.
Smaller and more convenient for packing along, Green Trails topographic maps cover half of the PCT’s length through Oregon, from the Three Sisters Wilderness to the Bridge of the Gods at the Columbia River. This stretch is covered over eight maps: Three Sisters (#621), Three Fingered Jack (#589), Mt. Jefferson (#557), Breitenbush (#525), Mt. Wilson (#494), Mt. Hood (#462), Government Camp (#461), and Bonneville Dam (#429).
The upside to GT maps is that they’re ideal for section-hiking portions of the PCT in any of these regions, and that they can easily be folded up and carried in your pocket. The front side of each map shows detailed trail, road and area information; the backside of each lists trails covered and nearby recreation facilities (e.g., campgrounds, shelters, resorts, etc.). The downside to GT maps is that if you’re covering a long distance, you need to carry a lot of them. Plus, they’re printed on regular paper, which is not waterproof and has a tendency to tear once the maps start to get a little worn from use. GT offers two larger maps printed on waterproof paper, Mt. Hood/Timberline Trail (#462S) and Columbia River Gorge West (#428S), that covers a small portion of the PCT. Green Trails maps are $8–$14 each.