Pacific Crest Trail Information

Zack Garhart
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Pacific Crest Trail Information

Welcome, PCT hikers!

Taking on the Pacific Crest Trail is a huge endeavor. It’s exciting, challenging, and highly rewarding. Some people spend their whole lives thinking about doing it before finally pulling the trigger. After making that decision, and landing a time slot, there’s a ton of planning that goes into the hike.

Many travelers kick off their hike here in San Diego. Being located in Little Italy, in downtown San Diego, we see dozens of travelers each spring come through our hostel before they start their hike. With a full kitchen, clean bathrooms, soft beds, and a strong community, our ITH Adventure Hostel is the perfect place to set up shop before taking on the PCT.

Getting to the Hostel

Our Adventure Hostel is located near both the San Diego International Airport and the Santa Fe Train Depot. This makes it very easy for travelers to access the hostel via train or airplane. From the airport, travelers can take the 992 bus and then make a short walk from the Broadway & Front St. stop. For those taking the Amtrak train, walking from Santa Fe Depot is easy and quick. If you’re traveling with a lot of gear, calling a ride might be your best bet. Ridesharing from either the airport or train station are inexpensive options, although rates will vary.

By car, our hostel is conveniently located right off the highway. Taking Highway 101 through California will allow travelers to access much of the coastline, as it runs from north to south. Coming from Los Angeles or San Francisco, odds are you’ll end up taking Highway 101 for a stretch. To get to San Diego, you’ll need to get on I-5, which is accessible from Highway 101. If you’re coming from the north, take I-5 until Front St., exit 17. From Front St., you’ll take a right on W Cedar St. The hostel is located at 230 W Cedar St. You know you arrived when you see a big yellow house with a bunch of flags from all over the world flying out front!

Included in Your Stay

  • Bed, fresh linens
  • Free pancake breakfast & coffee
  • Daily guided activities
  • Free Saturday night BBQ
  • Pool table

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Mail Drops

Hikers preparing to do the PCT are welcome to send their mail packages directly to our hostel in San Diego. Often, hikers do this to lighten their load as they prepare to travel since there can be loads of gear and supplies to account for on their hike. A lighter load means less stress and an easier time getting to the hostel from wherever you might be coming from. Our reception desk closes between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., so packages can be picked up anytime outside of those hours.

Address: ITH Adventure Hostel

230 W Cedar St.

San Diego, CA 92101

Trail Angels Nearby

The words ‘trail angel’ are specific to people who open their homes to travelers taking on trails like the PCT. In the San Diego area, Scout and Frodo have been acting as ‘trail angels’ to through hikers of the PCT for nearly two decades. Each year, they open up their home to those about to embark on the PCT by hosting hikers for a night or two and offering things like mail drops and a hub for shuttles to the trail. As experienced PCT hikers themselves, the couple provides invaluable tips when it comes to taking on the adventure and are a tremendous resource. More information on where they are located and how to contact them can be found here.

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Grocery Stores Nearby

Being located so close to downtown San Diego, there are plenty of options for hikers when it comes to stocking up on supplies. One of the biggest grocery stores within walking distance (less than one mile) is Ralph’s. You can find almost everything you need at Ralph’s. There are also places like The Market by Buon Appetito, and West Cedar Market which provide convenient shopping but at a slightly higher price point. One last market we’d like to recommend is Krisp, which is a market that features prepared foods and other gourmet options and is within walking distance of our hostel.

Getting from the Hostel to the Trail Head

While we’re located near the start of the PCT, hikers still need to travel a short distance to the trailhead. Campo, a town near the border of Mexico, is where the PCT begins. Hikers can take public transportation, but the best way to get to Campo is by car. The Pacific Crest Trail Association provides a lengthy breakdown of recommendations for hikers to get to Campo as they prepare to begin their hike.

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Other ITH Locations

If you’re a hiker who’s looking to relax by the beach before taking on the PCT, consider staying at either our Pacific Beach Bungalow or Mission Beach Backpacker locations. Both are within walking distance to the beach and still within close enough proximity to Campo to start your hike. Both hostels are located near grocery stores as well. At all ITH Hostels, you’ll receive free breakfast and fresh linens.

Make sure to check out our Traveler’s Club! By joining, you save on all future bookings and it’s free to sign up!

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