About the Pacific Northwest Trail Association
The Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission of constructing, protecting and maintaining the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail in a manner that makes a lasting contribution to the recreation, education, and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The PNTA works shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Forest Service as the agency’s nonprofit partner for the Pacific Northwest Trail. The PNTA provides assistance with the development, construction, and maintenance of the trail, leading hundreds of adult and youth volunteers who perform more than 30,000 hours of work on the trail each year. Hikers and riders count on the PNTA’s maps and knowledge of on-the-ground trail conditions.
The PNTA was formed in 1977 by Ronald Strickland as an all-volunteer organization with the purpose of “developing and protecting the Pacific Northwest Trail as a ‘national scenic trail’ within the National Trails System.” Today we work towards a completed and well maintained Pacific Northwest Trail with a staff and board that support a variety of different trail crews, youth education programs, and volunteer opportunities.
We are the Pacific Northwest Trail Association (PNTA)
We call ourselves the Pacific Northwest Trail Association or PNTA. We refer to this remarkable 1,200 mile National Scenic Trail as the Pacific Northwest Trail or PNT. In days of old, the PNT was sometimes referred to as the PNW Trail. On older documents and volunteer-made signage, you might find the PNT referred to as the ‘Pacific North West Trail’ or ‘PNWT’. For more information on trail acronyms, visit our FAQ page.
America’s Wildest Trail is Yours to Explore and Yours to Protect. This carefully chosen path is high for the views and long on adventure, ranking among the most scenic trails in the world.
About the Pacific Northwest Trail
The Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) provides an unparalleled backcountry experience in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. The PNT stretches 1,200 miles from Chief Mountain Customs in Glacier National Park, Montana, to Cape Alava in Olympic National Park, Washington. With its unique east-to-west orientation, the PNT takes hikers up and over mountain ranges and down into river valleys.
The PNT was first proposed by Ronald Strickland in the 1970’s. In 2009, after decades of advocacy by PNTA’s volunteers, Congress designated the PNT as a National Scenic Trail and added it to the National Trails System that includes the better-known Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. The PNT is managed under a partnership that combines public and private sectors and includes the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the PNTA.
The PNT is a vital link in the National Trails System, connecting the Continental Divide Trail on the PNT’s east end with the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascade Range. A future extension of the North Country National Scenic Trail would make possible Strickland’s dream of an east-west cross-country “sea to sea” trail that knits together various long-distance trails including the PNT.
- In 2015, 450 volunteers gave 35,000 hours of service to maintaining the PNT.
- The PNT route knits together many types of trails, from wilderness footpaths to paved community rail-trails, making it a popular destination for hikers of all abilities. Some travel only a few miles, while others complete a “thru-hike” of the entire 1,200 miles in one season.
- Every year, the number of thru-hikers that attempt a thru on the PNT grows. In 2017, about 100 people made the journey.
- Thru-hikers usually travel east to west, starting in Glacier National Park around the 4th of July. It takes hikers approximately 65 days to complete the trail.
- For more information on a PNT thru-hike, read our Thru-Hiker FAQ
Pacific Northwest Trail Facts
- The Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) is 1,200 miles long.
- As a National Scenic Trail, the PNT was created for long-distance non-motorized recreation. It is enjoyed by hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists.
- The PNT is located in three states: Montana, Idaho, and Washington.
- The PNT travels through seven National Forests and three National Parks. Approximately 80% of the PNT is on federally managed public land. Roughly 10% is on state land and less than 10% is on municipal and private lands.
- The Trail passes over three major mountain ranges: the Rockies, Cascades, and Olympics.
- Over 300 miles of the PNT is located in designated Wilderness areas, including a traverse of the 530,000-acre Pasayten Wilderness.
- The PNT brings trail visitors through or near 18 communities between East Glacier, MT and Ozette, WA. These trail towns are popular places for hikers to rest, relax, and resupply with food and gear for the journey ahead.
- The PNT is home to a diverse array of natural wonders, including grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, old-growth trees, rainforest mosses, orcas, and tide pools.
- For more information on the PNT, visit our FAQ page.