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Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail has gone from being one of the best-kept secrets on the West Coast to a bucket-list item for thousands of people across the world, thanks largely to the best-selling book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, which became a popular movie.

The trail, which stretches from Canada to Mexico, enters Oregon near Mount Ashland and passes through or near some of our region's most iconic natural areas, including Pilot Rock, Howard Prairie and Hyatt lakes, Sky Lakes Wilderness, Mount McLoughlin, Crater Lake National Park, Diamond Peak Wilderness and Mount Thielsen.

The best way to explore the trail is with a day hike from one of the many trailheads in Southern Oregon. Pick up a PCT guidebook at a local bookstore or go to the Pacific Crest Trail website for hints on which trailhead to choose, pack a picnic, throw it in a daypack and go see why so many people are drawn to this high-elevation treasure.

Some of the easiest trailheads to reach are on Mount Ashland, at the Greensprings Summit off Highway 66, on Dead Indian Memorial Road near Lake of the Woods and at Crater Lake National Park. Because it's a mountain trail that passes through wilderness areas, national monuments and other out-of-the-way places, be sure to bring a map, lots of water, and let people know where you're going.

And don't forget mosquito repellent, especially if you're heading into the Sky Lakes area, where DEET isn't just smart, it's absolutely necessary. Get more information at www.pcta.org.

Mount Ashland provides one of the easiest access points for Rogue Valley day-hikers who want to explore the world-famous Pacific Crest Trail. Mail Tribune file photo