This was my resupply strategy hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019.
Resupplying was always fun, but could be stressful too
When I left for the PCT, I only had my resupply planned for the Washington section. I planned out Oregon when I reached Cascade Locks/Portland, Northern California when I reached Ashland, the Sierra when I reached South Lake Tahoe, and Southern California when I reached Bishop. I was lucky to have an amazing
support system back home who would ship me boxes from home (love you, Jawad ♡), so it wasn't as hard to plan resupplies remotely.
A few resources I found very useful for planning out a resupply were this SOBO resupply plan
(I literally printed this off and carried this piece of paper on my entire hike), this information on vegan options at resupply points
, and the Halfway Anywhere Resupply Guide
I've denoted the resupply points I would highly recommend
sending a box or have another method of getting a resupply other than relying on stores, regardless of your dietary restrictions, with an asterisk (*). These places often don't have a reliable place to resupply or may be very expensive or limited in options.
A note: Dairy doesn’t sit well with me, and I wasn't a big meat eater (these days, I eat primarily vegan), so sometimes I have some notes here about places that are friendly or not particularly friendly with dietary restrictions, particularly when it comes to vegans.
Hart’s Pass going north*
Mile 30.6 (technically mile 0.0 for us!)
This is where most SOBOs start on the PCT. It’s a 60-mile round trip Canadian border tag!
Hart’s Pass going south*
Mile 30.6 (61.2 miles from previous resupply)
Most people figure out ways to leave their food at Hart’s Pass for the next stretch south to Stehekin. People often leave food with the rangers at the ranger cabin, or tied up in the privy at the campground.
Shipped a box here, like most people do; $5 to pick up from the post office. There’s a shuttle that runs between the trail and Stehekin (it was $8 for us, one way). The shuttle runs past the bakery, so make sure you hop out and grab something. They have vegan and gluten-free options! You could probably resupply if you wanted from the Stehekin general store, but it would be expensive. Coin-operated showers and laundry. There’s a phone that you can use in town. No cell reception for anyone, and the general store WiFi is not free and doesn’t work with all phones (it didn’t work for my Google Pixel 3, sad face). There was free camping near the water, after getting a permit from the visitor center. Charging was available near the camp at the visitor center and at the store.
Hanging out on the Stehekin General Store porch
Good idea to ship a box here to Stevens Pass Lodge if you can. There’s a small store at the Lodge for some snacks, and a bunch of sitting room to figure out your resupply. Check out the Mountaineers Lodge. I hear the hitch to Skykomish is difficult. I was able to get a ride out from my partner, Jawad, and zeroed in Seattle.
Catching up with friends at the Stevens Pass Lodge
This is the closest point on the trail to Seattle (about an hour’s drive, straight west on I-90), so if you’re hoping to stop by, this would probably be the easiest way to get there. I went into Seattle again for this resupply.
Up to you on whether you’d ship a box here or not; $5 to pick up from the Kracker Barrel. The store has a decent selection, but I had a box sent here. We stayed overnight at the White Pass Village Inn next door and it was great. I think it came out to be something around $150 for a room accommodating 6 people. We ended up hitching into Packwood to get dinner and groceries to use the real kitchen we had in the inn. It wasn’t a super easy hitch, but there were 4 of us.
When we were here, there was a trail-angel-led shuttle service that ran multiple times daily between the trail and Trout Lake. Trout Lake isn’t really a town, but just a few buildings and a campground. Coin-operated shower at the campground, and free laundry at the hiker area. I found it very worth it to ship a box here to split the carry from White Pass to Cascade Locks. Such a cool place to visit, although the restaurant didn’t have a single thing I could order as someone who eats primarily vegan. There is a small grocery store. The cafe has a lot of fun huckleberry flavored drinks and treats.
Trail family portrait on the Trout Lake Grocery porch
You can take the Columbia Gorge Express bus to Portland. I went into Portland and resupplied there. I zeroed and ended up doing my entire resupply for Oregon in Portland in a motel as well, although I would highly recommend sending a box to Timberline Lodge before reaching Cascade Locks, as it’s only 50 miles away and you likely would need to wait for it to arrive if you didn’t ship it out earlier. Cascade Locks itself doesn’t have much there, although there is a small grocery store and post office.
I had my box mailed to Timberline Lodge back when I was around Trout Lake. There really isn’t anywhere to resupply here, unless you want to raid the hiker box (this is possible, but possibly risky -- when I was here, I ended up hanging out with a NOBO for a while who got a full resupply to White Pass from the hiker box, including an unopened bag of tortillas, a new jar of Nutella, and many Clif bars); $10 to pick up a package from the resort. The all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast/lunch doesn’t have much for vegans, unfortunately, but the Blue Ox Cafe has vegan cheese for their pizzas if you ask! I hung out here for several hours, charging up my stuff; it was a cool (air-conditioned) place to stay on a hot Oregon day.
Olallie Lake Resort
Air conditioning and comfortable seating was welcomed
I didn’t really resupply here, but I did stop here since it’s only 0.1 mi off the trail. I grabbed a couple snacks and a nice cold drink. They don’t accept resupply packages.
Big Lake Youth Camp*
This was one of my favorite stops. The alternate takes you right to it, so you don't really have to hike any extra miles if you're not a purist. Definitely send a box here; similarly to Timberline Lodge, there isn’t much in the way of resupply unless you want to bank on the hiker box being bountiful. The hiker hut here is a great spot for hikers. Free showers and laundry, and free (warm, kitchen-cooked) meals as well! You can pick up the vouchers in the hiker hut. Free camping down by the water, WiFi, and tons of outlets to charge your stuff.
Shelter Cove Resort, from Pengra Pass dirt road*
The hiker hut at Big Lake Youth Camp
Shelter Cove is a little bit off-trail (about a mile one-way), but it's worth it to grab resupply here between BLYC and Crater Lake. I'd recommending taking the dirt road at Pengra Pass, about 0.4 miles past the Shelter Cove trail junction; it's an easier hike than the winding trail. You could resupply here if you are willing to pay a little more, but I shipped a box; $5 to pick up a box at the resort. There was a hiker space here with a place to charge things. I didn’t spend much time here, except to charge up my electronics. The restaurant didn’t have anything but fries for vegans, unfortunately!
Chemult, from Highway 209 (near Crater Lake NP)
Jawad was driving down to CA from WA for a convention, so I timed my hike so our paths would cross near Chemult. I got off at Highway 209. Chemult was a very small place. Mountain Market had a decent amount of hiker food, although it was pricey (but Jawad had driven me my resupply). There was a laundromat, and we stayed at the Dawson House Lodge, which was great, cozy, and clean. Most people went to Mazama Village, just 10 miles or so south of here, to resupply instead, which is basically on the trail.
Crater Lake National Park, Mazama Village*
Hanging out in the cozy hotel room with my mosquito-bitten, tan-lined, but recently-showered feet
I didn't even stop here, but wanted to include it in the list because I think you definitely should send a box here to cut down on the carry from Shelter Cove to Ashland.
Another one of my favorite stops! I stopped at Callahan’s Lodge, barely off the trail. I got some warm food, and then got the easiest hitch ever out to Ashland. Uber and Lyft drivers are constantly driving between Callahan’s and Ashland during the season, and many of them are happy to give you a hitch into or out of town if they see you; that’s how I got my ride. Took 2 zeroes here, after starting to feel the burnout of southern Oregon. We stayed at the Timbers Motel one night, then the Holiday Inn the next. The Timbers Motel was pretty nice and right next to the Market of Choice, very similar to a Safeway or Kroger. It’s also right next to The Great American Pizza Company, which has vegan cheese as an option, and they will deliver directly to your room at the Timbers Motel! Ashland is pretty spread out, so Uber/Lyft is helpful. The second night, we stayed at the Holiday Inn because another hiker friend got into town, and it was near the Ashland’s Own Shop’n Kart. This is the best grocery store for hikers I have ever seen. Prices are amazing, and the selection is huge. Shop here before going anywhere else! We ate the all-you-can-eat-lunch at the Indian restaurant in town too; it was great.
Near the front door of the Indian restaurant with an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet
If I could do it all over again, I’d ship here instead of buying. I could only get a very small select group of things as someone with dietary restrictions, and they didn’t have much variety. The Wildwood Bar was a nice place to hang out for a while (it got up to 105°F when we got to Seiad Valley, so we waited until evening to hike out), and they had a small area in the back with resupply options as well.
Etna, from Highway 3
Most people get to Etna from the Etna Summit Trailhead, but Jawad was driving back up to WA from CA (from when I saw him in Chemult), and our paths were able to cross at Highway 3, so he picked me up from there and also brought me my resupply. You could likely do a full resupply at the Dollar General and the grocery store. The South Fork Baking Company had vegan donuts when I went, and nice espresso drinks. Bob’s Ranch House had breakfast all day, so we had breakfast for dinner AND breakfast for breakfast the next morning. Jawad and I stayed at The Etna Motel, which was nice, clean, and roomy.
I did a full resupply at the Dollar General, but if I were to do it again, I’d probably just ship a box to Castella. I split a room with a couple hikers at the Dunsmuir Lodge, which wasn’t bad. The owner will pick you up from the trail for $10. No microwaves in the rooms, but there is one in the lobby. Dunsmuir isn’t super walkable; it’s all along a road, a few miles long. When we passed through, there was one Uber driver in town, who was sometimes available. We got a ride from her to the trailhead the next day. The Wheelhouse had a nice breakfast (very dietary-restriction friendly!), but it was pricey and portions were small.
Probably had my most expensive breakfast on the trail in Dunsmuir, but admittedly it was
pretty damn good
Wasn’t a difficult hitch, but wasn’t super easy either. Very easy to do a full resupply with the Safeway in town. The Word of Life Assembly Church was a wonderful place to stay, with a huge carpeted gym to sleep on, free showers, and even a full kitchen. Everything is walkable from the church, including a laundromat.
I didn’t resupply here, but it’s basically on the trail so I stopped by. There's a convenience store, the Fill-UP, and free camping in the back. We stayed the night and got breakfast at JJ’s Cafe next door the next morning. If you wanted, you could probably carry a tiny resupply from Burney, then pick up more at the Old Station gas station/convenience store the next day, then get a large warm meal at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch the next day, and then you'd be at Chester. I didn't stop at Drakesbad because their buffet breakfast didn't have much for someone with a dairy intolerance. You could also stop in for the hot springs!
This was a tough hitch into town! Took me quite a while. Koninkrijk Koffiehuis had great coffee, outlets, soft pretzels, and wifi -- can't ask for much more. Camping behind the church was nice and free, with port-a-potties, a hand-washing station, and trash cans. The Holiday Market was definitely a big enough grocery store to do a full resupply. Unfortunately, the Koffee Kettle Cafe (which gets great reviews with hikers) didn’t have anything for vegans.
I shipped a box to the Caribou Crossroads Store about 1.5 miles down the highway. I couldn’t get ATT at Belden, but my hiking companion had Verizon, so I was able to call Chris at the store and he came to get us. He was super nice, and even kept the cafe open past hours to make us food. The vegan burger at the cafe is awesome. Picking up a package there is free, unlike at the Belden Town Resort. There was a place to camp in the back of the store, with a charging station, next to the river. Shower was $5 (and it was actually a really nice full bathroom), for unlimited time and a towel is included. Only Verizon had service here.
There isn’t too much here, and lots of things were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays when we went through. Good thing, since we got there on a Monday (yes, this is sarcastic). We mailed our boxes to the general store. When we got there, it was pouring rain, and we couldn’t get our boxes from the general store since it was closed, so we stayed the night. We ended up staying at the only place in town open, about 0.25 mi away from the town center where the general store is, the Sierra Pines Resort. It was a nice place to warm and dry up.
So I didn’t technically resupply here, but my group and I skipped the section from Truckee to South Lake Tahoe on our way down south due to weather and gear concerns (I came back up later when I hit Kennedy Meadows South to finish this section). It’s easy to get a ride here from where the trail hits Highway 80, because you can just call an Uber and there’s service here (for us, it was about $30, which was pretty reasonable between a few hikers). We were also able to get a hitch down to South Lake Tahoe pretty easily. When I came back here after getting to Kennedy Meadows South to do this section, I stopped here for a zero before starting the next day. I stayed at the Inn at Truckee, which was a nice place, and right next door to the laundromat. Truckee was pretty walkable on my zero, but I wouldn’t want to walk around too much with my pack on. Like I said, though, Uber is easy here, and is also how I got back to the trailhead.
South Lake Tahoe, from Highway 50
Nice views from town
South Lake Tahoe is a real town. If you can stay near the actual ski resort area, I would, because that’s where everything is. I spent a couple of zeros here, and also came back here after finishing up the Truckee to South Lake Tahoe section, so I’ve stayed at both the Motel 6 and the Bluelake Inn. Motel 6 was super cheap and clean, and across the street from the Grocery Outlet, but far from the resort. Bluelake Inn was nice and clean, right in the resort center, with easy access to the Raley’s, but more expensive. I had a pretty tough time getting a hitch out of the Echo Summit Trailhead on Highway 50 to get to South Lake Tahoe, but I was able to ask someone in the parking lot for a ride out.
Sonora Pass, Highway 108*
Unfortunately, Sonora Pass Resupply is no longer an option for hikers, otherwise I’d say this is a great resource to get your resupply, since they are right on the trail. Your best chance is to hitch out to Kennedy Meadows North to pick up a box, or to Bridgeport or Walker to a grocery store (note: a sign might be helpful here) to get your resupply done, or just carry all the way from South Lake Tahoe to Tuolumne Meadows.
Not the most trafficked highway, but definitely hitch-able!
We had to hike a little harder here, because we realized we would get to Tuolumne Meadows the day the general store closed, which seems to be usually the end of September. No fee to pick up a package here, and it’s barely off the trail. Restaurant next door had some great vegan chili and fries. General store has some resupply stuff; I imagine you could resupply here, but it could be limited.
I didn’t really resupply here and was never planning to come here, but when we got to Tuolumne Meadows, weather got us off the trail once more (snow that night), so we hitched out to Lee Vining. Unfortunately, Tioga Road from Lee Vining back into Yosemite (onto the trail) closed that day due to weather, so a group of us was stuck in Lee Vining. Some of us decided to hitch down to Mammoth Lakes to continue from Red’s Meadow and head back up to do this section later (which I would, when I got to Kennedy Meadows South) so we wouldn’t have to wait for the road to reopen. Latte Da has great coffee, and I highly recommend them. We stayed at the Lee Vining Motel for a few days, which has an interesting policy of walk-ups only at 4PM. It was a decent value when shared between several hikers. The market had some resupply options; you could probably resupply here.
Waiting out the bad weather on trail at Latte Da
Again, we didn’t plan to stop here, but resupply here would be a piece of cake with the Grocery Outlet. I took a zero at the Shilo Inn, right next to the Grocery Outlet, which was nice and clean with a couple other hikers. The trolley that takes people around town is really helpful. It was easy to get a hitch to the entrance to the road to Red’s Meadow, but we had to get another hitch from there since the driver didn’t have a pass to get in. It wasn’t hard, but something to make sure you’re aware of if the bus to Red’s Meadow isn’t running anymore (like it was for us).
My weakness in town was lattes, double shot with oat milk mmm
Bishop was my favorite trail town, hands down (and other hikers agree, according to Halfway Anywhere’s 2019 PCT hiker survey
). First of all, yes, it is 15 extra miles round trip just to get to the Onion Valley Trailhead by hiking over Kearsarge Pass, and from there another hour-long hitch to Bishop. It is also 100% worth it. Kearsarge was not a difficult pass, especially compared to some of the other ones you’re forced to climb in the Sierra on the PCT, and it was by far my favorite pass in the Sierra (and it’s not even on the PCT!). I understand it can be a difficult hitch from Onion Valley Trailhead to Highway 395 to get to Bishop -- I was lucky because Jawad came to see me in Bishop, so he was able to pick me up. The trail is heavily trafficked by day hikers, though, so I think it’s likely you could get a ride from them. Definitely stay at The Hostel California, which is such a cool space, and has a full shared kitchen available. Easy to resupply here at the Grocery Outlet, which is a little out of the way, but the hostel has bikes you can borrow. There's also a world famous bakery here, and their sourdough is amazing. The town is generally very walkable, and it’s got a great energy to it, as it’s a home base for many adventuring hikers, bikers, and climbers.
Kennedy Meadows South*
Yeah, it's 15 extra miles to resupply at Bishop, but it's 15 miles that look like this
I didn’t spend a ton of time here, because as soon as I got here, I stuck my thumb out to hitch back and do those 2 sections I missed that I mentioned earlier. I did ship a box to the General Store, which is just barely off the trail. You can also ship to Grumpy Bear’s, and I wish I had, as the General Store charges for picking up a box, while Grumpy Bear’s does not. Grumpy Bear’s has an entire vegan menu, and their vegan burger and fries were bomb. It was actually surprisingly easy to get a hitch out of Kennedy Meadows, because although there weren’t many cars, all of them were headed in the right direction (to Highway 395). Plus, Triple Crown Outfitters does shuttling between Grumpy Bear’s and the General Store, which is great. I also was able to ship my empty bear canister home from Grumpy Bear’s for just over $10.
Another town I never meant to go to! When I reached the Sierra, I sent my head net home. Big mistake. The desert had some of the worst gnats I had experienced along the trail. So when I got to Walker Pass, I desperately needed a head net (I almost considered getting off the trail here because the bugs were that bad
. I got in contact with an amazing trail angel, who was willing to pick me up from Walker Pass and drive me to get a few chores done in Ridgecrest. Hitching seemed slightly difficult because the cars drive very quickly on the highway, but I think you could do it. Ridgecrest has an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, which was excellent.
Sign at Walker Pass
Tehachapi was a fun place to stay for a half-day. Getting a hitch into town took a while. I met a couple of extremely kind trail angels, who helped me get some chores done. There’s a Big 5 and a Wal-Mart for all of your needs. It’s not a very walkable town, unfortunately. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn, next to the Wal-Mart, but Tehachapi has a great network of trail angels you could likely stay with if you wanted to. Check out their very active Facebook page
. I was able to get a ride from a trail angel back to the trail.
I didn’t intend on staying at Hikertown, but it’s right on the trail and was going to be a cold night, and sleeping within the confines of 4 walls and a ceiling sounded great. They had a nice place to hang out and charge your stuff too. Hikertown was a strange little spot, but the owners do shuttles between a convenience store/restaurant they own and Hikertown. The convenience store has enough where you could resupply, but I already had enough food, so I just got a vegan burger from the restaurant.
Playing Yahtzee at Hikertown
I didn’t resupply here either, but only stopped in to see the famous Casa de Luna, no longer an option for hikers. The Green Valley market is only about a mile off trail, and you could definitely supplement a resupply here.
Chilling at Casa de Luna
Hiker Heaven (about a mile off-trail) is no longer here as a trail angel’s spot for hikers, but seems like it could be open as more of an AirBnb. Nothing much here, but it’s right on the trail, so you could stop for a bite at a restaurant. Because this is no longer an option, I’d recommend shipping a box to the Acton KOA.
Restful zero at Hiker Heaven
I stopped here just for a snack and to check it out, since it’s only a quarter mile off trail. This is where you could consider sending a box, now that Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce is not operating anymore. I doubt you could do a full resupply here, but you could definitely supplement with a few snacks. They let us stick around for an hour.
I had a tough time hitching into Wrightwood because not very many cars drove by, but it eventually happened. Stop by the Mountain Hardware store before anything else, because they’re right next to the post office and they have a list of trail angels you can talk to if you want somewhere to stay. They also have a lot of stuff for hikers, like freeze-dried meals and replacement gear. It’s easy to resupply at the Jensen’s Finest Foods. The town is very walkable.
I wasn’t planning to stop here, but a few other hikers near me asked if I wanted in on a room at the hotel in Cajon Pass, and a $20 warm place to sleep sounded great. There isn't much here but the Cajon Pass Inn, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants. The Inn is only half a mile off-trail, but there is a highway crossing that’s pretty large, so be careful!
Big Bear City, from Highway 18
One of my favorite signs on the whole trail
Getting a hitch into Big Bear City wasn’t so bad, but I think I got lucky because I’ve heard it can be a tough one. The post office is really close to the small Community Market, where you could probably do some resupply. I stayed with a trail angel here, and took a couple zeroes as I was starting to feel the burnout of hiking over 2000 miles. There isn’t much around Big Bear City, but if you can get to Big Bear Lake, there’s a lot more in terms of accommodations, entertainment, and food.
Idyllwild, from Highway 74
In town, eat donuts (especially mini ones, so you can eat 3 at once)
I timed my zero in Idyllwild with a snowstorm. I decided to forgo taking any of the side trails to a trailhead on San Jacinto to get into Idyllwild, and instead hiked an extra day to Highway 74. Getting a hitch here was not particularly easy, but I've heard the opposite from others, so YMMV. Paradise Valley Cafe is only a mile away, and they can sometimes help coordinate rides, but the person who usually gives rides wasn’t in house that day, so I was on my own. Idyllwild is very walkable. The Fairway Market is easy to resupply in, and the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop has great coffee and pastries (even vegan ones!). I was able to find a trail angel to help out with getting a ride back to the trail. We stopped by Paradise Valley Cafe, and they have an awesome vegan burger.
Loved my cozy room at a lodge in Idyllwild!
The Warner Springs Community Center is a cool space for hikers, and is right on the trail. They have a few options for resupply you can buy for reasonable prices, and plenty of space and outlets. There’s a walkable path behind the community center that allows you to walk to the post office and grill. The grill was a pretty nice place for a final trail town meal. We were able to get a hitch back to the community center pretty easily, although the highway wasn't heavily trafficked.
Oak Shores Malt Shop
Cool wooden map of the area in front of the Warner Springs Community Center
This was the last place I stopped before finishing, as it was only a quarter mile off trail. I got some fries and a few snacks for my last night on trail.
And that's the end! I'd coordinate with someone for a ride here if you can because it's easiest; I had cell service here, so that shouldn't be an issue. Otherwise, you could try to hitch out of here on Highway 94 2.3 miles back up north (right at Campo), which takes you to the El Cajon region to the west.
Monument at the Southern Terminus