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Virtual Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail sign

Welcome to the Virtual Pacific Crest Trail Expedition! The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile-long hike from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada, crossing through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. This 10-week challenge was designed to build community, foster friendly competition, and motivate others to stay active and enjoy the outdoors in any capacity! Last year, 380 students, staff, and faculty (41 teams) virtually hiked from Mexico to Lassen Volcanic National Park (1,321 miles) with a few teams completing the entire Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles)! Check out our Virtual PCT 2023 recap video.

This year, teams will be making a 1,690-mile virtual trek from Mexico up to the California-Oregon border. Whether you have a team or not, all Pepperdine students, staff, and faculty are welcome to participate for free in this event. Registration will be open from January 8 to January 24, 2024.

Explore below to learn how you can participate in this event and track your mileage.


Digital PCT Map

Welcome to our new digital map of the PCT on CalTopo. This interactive map allows you to view, at any time, where you and your team are on the PCT according to the progress you’ve made. This map will be updated weekly as teams update their weekly mileage forms.

  Tips to Navigate CalTopo Map
  1. Select the “Open in CalTopo” button in the upper left-hand corner of the embedded map, which will lead you to the website and all of its functions.
  2. Completely ignore the right-hand side-bar. The left-hand side-bar displays two folders, Checkpoints and Teams, that you can navigate between.
  3. For both Checkpoints and Teams, you can choose to “uncheck” all of the boxes or just whichever ones you are not wanting to view at that moment. For example: If you are just wanting to see where your team is relative to a checkpoint or another team, “uncheck” all of the boxes and then only select those you wish to see.
  4. With all of the teams and checkpoints shown on the map, the labels can be helpful when selecting just a few teams or checkpoints to view or they can look messy with all of them in view. You can choose which folder whose labels you’d like visible by clicking on the “Labels Shown” or “Labels Hidden” button at the bottom of each folder.
  5. The Teams folder is alphabetized and not in order of most miles traveled; the map itself reflects that. However, you can see how many miles each team has traveled so far displayed beneath the team name!


  How do I sign up?

Each participant needs to be on a team of 6-10 people. While each person is in charge of keeping track of their own weekly mileage, there should be a team captain elected who is responsible for reporting the team’s collective weekly mileage and who we can communicate with if needed. Each team member needs to register and can do so by hitting the register button above (registration this year opens on January 8, 2024). If you do not have a team organized and would like to be added to one, please indicate so when registering. Even if the PCT Event has officially started, you are still welcome to jump on in!

  How do I virtually hike?

While you are likely not hiking the actual PCT, you ARE recording miles…everywhere else! Each week, individuals will record how many miles they have hiked, run, or walked throughout that week. We are also including some new opportunities to gain mileage through working out (yoga, weight lifting, ellipticals, indoor cycling, etc.), surfing, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and kayaking. 

The goal is to hike the distance of the PCT with the cumulative mileage of your team. Participants will individually submit their weekly mileage on their team’s personalized Mileage Tracker Form by Monday at noon, so that we can update each team’s position on the PCT map we have.

  What counts for mileage?
  • Hiking, running, walking, 1 mile = 1 PCT mile
    • Treadmill, elliptical, and stair climber are all valid options
  • Biking (any form) and Skating 2 miles = ½ PCT mile
  • Surfing, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding 1 hour = 2 PCT miles
  • Weight training, yoga, fitness classes, general exercise for 1 hour = 3 PCT miles
  • Swim for 30 minutes = 2 PCT miles

Examples given: If you biked for 4 miles, you'd count it as 1 mile logged for the PCT. If you worked out for 30 minutes, you'd count it as 1.5 miles.

  How can I track my mileage?

There are several ways you can track your mileage, depending on what you are most comfortable and familiar with. 

  • The Strava app is one of the more widely known fitness tracker apps and will record various fitness activities such as: running, cycling, skiing, weight lifting, rollerblading, even rock climbing! All you need to do is download this app on your phone or apple watch so you can record your activities and other participants and team members can see your involvement on our Strava club page. You can also post photos and videos here of your activities and find inspiration from other people on new places to check out! To be a part of this page, visit the Strava Pepperdine Club Page and request to join.
  • If you have a phone or smartwatch and do not want to use Strava, you can also use the fitness tracker apps associated with the fitness watch to track your progress in activities by either mileage or time.
  • If you do not want to use a phone or smartwatch, you can look up trails on maps or a computer and predetermine the mileage you want to do for that day.
  • YOU are responsible for keeping track of the miles/time spent doing an activity and mileage reports are on an honor system. 
  What are the checkpoints? 

Every few hundred miles on the trail, we have selected a checkpoint that should be reached by each team by a certain date. If your team reaches that checkpoint by the selected date, your team is entered into a raffle and has a chance to win a pre-determined prize for that checkpoint. The farther the checkpoints you make it to, the better the prizes become. Below you can find our schedule for when each of the checkpoints should be completed and raffle tickets drawn for team prizes.

  • Feb 12 - Sand to Snow National Monument (226 miles in)
  • Feb 26 - L.A. Aqueduct (519 miles in)
  • Mar 11 - Mammoth Lakes (890 miles in)
  • Mar 25 - Lassen Volcanic NP (1,341 miles in)
  • Apr 8 - California-Oregon Border (1,690miles in) 

Bonus for being the first to reach the Canadian Border at 2,650 miles.

  Are there prizes for participating?

YES! Each participant will get a customized Pepperdine PCT sticker and bandana just for signing up and participating. Some of our prizes for checkpoint raffle winners will be Ultralite Nalgenes, hammocks, beanies, backpacking chairs, and hiking daypacks. The farther you make it on the trail, the better the prizes get!

Email for any additional questions you might have!

Email for any questions you may have. Happy hiking!