Outcomes of Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail


  • Marni A. Goldenberg California Polytechnic State University
  • Katherine E. Soule University of California


long-distance hiking, means-end theory, outcomes


The Pacific Crest Trail spans 2,650 miles bridging Mexico to Canada via California, Oregon, and Washington. Conservation and preservation of trail areas are under continual debate and funding strain. This research provides insight on the outcomes and benefits obtained from trail users. Fifty-six interviews, conducted in Northern California during summer 2010, examined outcomes of participants' long-distance hiking experiences. Outcomes included: developing new perspectives, fun and excitement, and enhanced personal growth. These outcomes led participants to experience a desire to transfer outcomes to other areas of their life, increase their sense of fun and enjoyment of life, and develop warm relationships with others. Results may be used to validate funding, justify fund allocation, and maintain trail spaces in a manner reflecting users' desires. Benefits-Based management approaches may utilize this study to improve experiences and perceptions for stakeholders, including current users, potential users, and potential supporters of trail maintenance and conservation.




Regular Papers