Need a long hike? How about hiking a trail that was almost 40 years in the making? We recently had the opportunity to speak with the man who created a new long distance hiking route. Ron Strickland, has been a trail advocate, conservationist and backpacker for over 40 years.  He devised the 1200 mile route of the Pacific Northwest Trail beginning in 1970. But it wasn’t a simple task. To aid his endeavors he founded the Pacific Northwest Trail Association which is in place to develop and protect the trail. Ron is thankful for his volunteers and says, “All long distance trails depend on the volunteers. They are definitely a group effort.”

Pacific Northwest Trail
Ron on the Pacific Northwest Trail

The Pacific Northwest Trail itself runs from the Continental Divide at Glacier National park, in Montana, to the Pacific Ocean in Olympic National Park. It passes through 3 national parks, several mountain ranges, and seven national forests. This trail passes through the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and Wilderness Coast to name a few. It became part of the National Trails System in 2009 when he was successful in having President Obama sign it into existence officially.

Pacific Northwest Trail

Need to get away even more? If you are looking for a longer pilgrimage, consider starting on the west end. It connects on the east end to the Sea-to-Sea route which after coming out of the Rocky Mountains, traverses the upper Midwest, the south side of Lake Superior and ends at the mouth of the St Lawrence River, just north of Maine. While not complete all the way across, the gaps are few, and work is underway to close them, connecting 5 existing trails, including the Pacific Northwest Trail, and bridging the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans across the breadth of the US.

Ron has written several trail books including his most recent, Pathfinder, which came out last month and highlights the rich experience of life on the trail. He is currently on location in the Upper Midwest detailing the North Country Trail in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Pacific Northwest Trail
Photo by Ron Strickland

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