The Great Western Loop

The Great Western Loop (GWL) is a 6,875-mile hike through five National Scenic Trails in the Western United States, 12 National Parks, and over 75 wilderness areas. Because it’s a loop, the direction of travel is a hiker’s choice.

To date, two hikers reportedly have thru-hiked the GWL in one calendar year. Both are highly esteemed backpackers in the hiking community. *thru-hiking is the act of hiking an established end-to-end trail or long-distance trail with continuous footsteps in one direction without going home for months to rest in between). I will not complete the trek in a calendar year. For a better understanding, I have divided my trek into six sections.

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Section One – Pacific Crest Trail (PCT): The PCT is a 2,650-mile trail spanning from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. 2,180 miles make up the GWL. I have opted to complete the PCT in its entirety.

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Section Two – Choose Your Own Adventure: is a 900-mile section across the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.

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Section Three – The Arizona Trail (AZT): The AZT is an 800- miles trail from Mexico to Utah. Only 316 miles of the AZT comprises the GWL. I intend to complete the trail in its entirety.

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Section Four- Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT): The PNT is a 1,200 -miles trail from Continental Divide in Montana to the Pacific Ocean on Washington’s Olympic Coast. Only 750 miles make up the GWL. I have no desire to complete the PNT in it’s entiretiy.

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Section 5- Continental Divide Trail (CDT): The CDT is 3,100 miles trail between the U.S. border with Chihuahua, Mexico and the border with Alberta, Canada. I haven’t decided if I will complete the full CDT, of which 2,700 miles make up the GWL.

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Section 6 Grand Enchantment Trail (GET): The GET is a 770-mile trail of which 212 miles make up the GWL. I have no desire to complete the GET in it’s entirety. 

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