Running the Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs
Recently I ran the Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs. Last year, I explored the Pacific Crest Trail in San Francisquito Canyon. Since then, I always seem to go to San Francisquito Canyon since I’m”comfortable” in that section. But I thought it would be fun to check out a new section. Willow Springs is much more open, and you can see close to 100 miles in the distance. It’s filled with wind turbines and small uphills and downhills. For 10 miles, I got about 1500 feet of elevation change.
About the Pacific Crest Trail:
The Pacific Crest Trail (also known as the PCT) is 2,650 miles and runs from Mexico to Canada. It goes through the West Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington. The Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs is towards the very southern part of the PCT. It has beautiful scenery from the desert, glaciers of the Sierra Nevada into deep forests, and even has volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range. You can learn more about the PCT here.
My Experience at the Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs:
I ran about 5 miles out (and 5 miles back). Parking is easy. I was there on what I consider prime running time, Sunday at 6:30 am. No one was there, and I didn’t see a single another person on the trail. There is a lot of open space and zero trees and cloud cover, so it’s essential to bring water and start early.
The first mile of the Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs climbed slightly, but the second mile climbed over 200 feet. The next couple of miles went up and down, and there really aren’t any “flat” parts. To be honest, I kind of like that because you get a lot of elevation gain without climbing “one giant hill.” You make slow progress upward and get a great view looking down towards Tehachapi after about 5 miles. I enjoyed running around the huge wind turbines. You don’t realize how big they are until you run by. I turned around at a bench near Tehachapi. Originally I thought, the hardest part of the Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs would be running out but going and coming back are fairly similar.
In all, the Pacific Crest Trail at Willow Springs is fairly runnable. There are a few steep sections, but for the most part, it isn’t too technical or rocky. Compared to my only other experienced area of the Pacific Crest Trail, I like this one equally. It’s just different, and in fact, you would never guess it was so close. I look forward to exploring more of the trail. You can see my run on Strava.
You can see more hikes and trails here.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to the Pacific Crest Trail?
What is one of your favorite trails?