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Welcome to Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail Maps

About the 2015 Halfmile Updates

Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail maps are the most current and accurate Pacific Crest Trail maps available and widely used by thru-hikers and section hikers. Halfmile has spent many months with a GPS logging the trail and marking PCT landmarks on hikes from 2007 – 2013.

What’s so great about Halfmile’s PCT maps?

  • Based on GPS data from 2007 through 2012 PCT hikes. These are the most current and accurate PCT maps available.
  • Free iPhone and Android smartphones apps using an exactly matching data set.
  • Halfmile’s maps are in color and easy to read. A larger 1:31680 scale (1 inch = 1/2 mile) scale is used.
  • Halfmile’s maps are relatively large, formatted for 8.5 x 11 inch printing, for easier navigation.
  • Waypoints mark the trail every half mile, trail mileage is noted on the maps every two miles.
  • Waypoints for water sources, campsites, road crossings and other useful hiker landmarks.
  • Every twist and turn and switchback of the trail is shown to help with navigation.
  • Waypoints and tracks are available for downloading to your GPS, so your GPS screen and paper maps exactly match.
  • Halfmile’s maps are easy to download and print .pdf files. Download just one multipage file for each section of the PCT.
  • All you need is the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to print the maps.
  • Halfmile’s maps are free for personal or educational use.

  • Send comments or questions to [email protected]

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    Waypoint Abbreviations



    We have been asked by several hikers about the abbreviations used for waypoint names on Halfmile Project PCT maps, apps, GPS data, and Google Earth files. Here is a list of the most common abbreviations:

    BB — Bear box or bear locker (mostly in the Sierra)
    CG — Campground
    CS — Campsite
    GT — Gate
    JMT — John Muir Trail
    Hwy — Highway crossing
    NF — National Forest boundary
    TH — Trailhead
    TR — Trail
    PL — Powerline
    PO — Post Office
    RD — Road crossings
    RR — Railroad track
    Ski — Ski lift
    Wild — Wilderness boundary
    WA — Possible water source (not on www.pctwater.com, mostly north of mile 700)
    WR — Possible water source listed in the PCT Water Report at www.pctwater.com
    WACS — Possible water source and campsite
    WRCS — Possible water source from the Water Report and campsite

    Curious which waypoint types are most commonly used? Here is a list from the new 2015* Halfmile Project data:

    3161 — total number of 2015 waypoints
    972 — WA waypoints
    745 — CS waypoints
    498 — TR waypoints
    466 — RD waypoints
    152 — WR waypoints
    73 — GT waypoints
    61 — Hwy waypoints
    54 — PL waypoints
    33 — Wild waypoints
    21 — CG waypoints
    16 — BB waypoints
    12 — TH waypoints
    8 — PO waypoints
    6 — NF waypoints
    6 — Ski waypoints

    *We are hard at work finishing the 2015 updates. Find out what’s been updated on the What’s New page. Preview the waypoints with our Google Earth KMZ file.

    About the 2015 Halfmile Updates

    Updating maps for 2015

    Updating maps for 2015

    The 2015 Pacific Crest Trail hiking season is rapidly approaching and understandably we have been getting questions about what’s changing in the 2015 edition of Halfmile’s PCT maps and when new maps, apps and GPS data will be ready.

    2014 was a massive data collection effort for the Halfmile Project team. Halfmile and Dirt Stew thru-hiked the PCT (Halfmile northbound, Dirt Stew southbound) carrying very accurate custom GPS devices designed for mapping long hiking trails. 8,296,179 new data sample points and 5,065 new waypoints were collected.

    GPS reception can be challenging along some parts of the PCT due to tree cover or terrain such as mountains or canyons that sometimes block GPS signals. This is especially true in Oregon and Washington. The custom GPS logging hardware performed amazingly well because of the outstanding performance of the ublox NEO-7P GPS module, external mast mounted antennas, and the merging of multiple GPS data sets using software developed by David Lippke. We are confidant this is the most accurate data ever collected of the PCT.

    Overall the new 2015 data has an average horizontal accuracy of 1.9 meters. Here is the horizontal accuracy by PCT section:

    CA Sec A: 0.67 meters
    CA Sec B: 1.26 meters
    CA Sec C: 1.11 meters
    CA Sec D: 1.19 meters
    CA Sec E: 0.81 meters
    CA Sec F: 0.98 meters
    CA Sec G: 1.18 meters
    CA Sec H: 1.44 meters
    CA Sec I: 1.62 meters
    CA Sec J: 1.51 meters
    CA Sec K: 1.61 meters
    CA Sec L: 0.49 meters
    CA Sec M: 0.57 meters
    CA Sec N: 0.46 meters
    CA Sec O: 0.68 meters
    CA Sec P: 1.92 meters
    CA Sec Q: 2.37 meters
    CA Sec R: 2.19 meters
    OR Sec B: 2.66 meters
    OR Sec C: 2.49 meters
    OR Sec D: 2.57 meters
    OR Sec E: 2.32 meters
    OR Sec F: 2.45 meters
    OR Sec G: 3.78 meters
    WA Sec H: 3.45 meters
    WA Sec I: 2.94 meters
    WA Sec J: 1.75 meters
    WA Sec K: 3.34 meters
    WA Sec L: 2.42 meters
    Continue reading

    Halfmile’s Smartphone Apps Updated

    The Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail apps for both iPhones and Android smartphone have recently been updated. The apps are available free from Apple’s iTunes Store or Google Play.

    The updated Halfmile Android app includes 2014 data and minor bug fixes.

    The updated Halfmile Android app includes 2014 Halfmile data and minor bug fixes.

    The iPhone Halmile app includes a cool new Trail Diagram mode, simplified user interface, and the latest 2014 Halfmile data.

    The iPhone Halmile app includes a cool new Trail Diagram mode.

    The updated iPhone app includes a cool new “Trail Diagram” mode, simplified user interface, and the latest 2014 Halfmile data.

    The updated Android app includes the latest 2014 Halfmile data and Minor bug fixes.

    Both apps are designed to be a companion to Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail printed map set to aid navigation on the PCT. The app determines your location and, if on the PCT or one of its side trails, it calculates trail distances to 1,700 PCT landmarks and presents any trail notes relevant for the location.

    Features of both apps include:

    • Simulation mode for hike planning and hiker support
    • Provides specific “how to walk there” instructions for all points
    • Live trail diagram with optional compass orientation
    • Calculates cumulative elevation gains and losses to all points
    • Powerful search function for features like water sources, campsites, and resupply locations
    • Calculates which printed map pages contain your location
    • Works without cell phone service
    • Download and Go — no extra configuration or data needed

    Elevation Gain on the Pacific Crest Trail

    elevation profiles

    Halfmile’s PCT Map elevation profiles.

    Pacific Crest Trail hikers are often interested in knowing the elevation gained or lost as they hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. The 2014 Halfmile Project estimates the total elevation gain/lost for a northbound thru-hiker is 489,418 feet of climbing and 488,411 feet descending with an overall change of 1,007 feet as they hike from Campo to Manning Park.

    Here is a breakdown of elevation gain/loss by PCT section:

    Gain Loss Change
    CA_Sec_A 16,452 -16,335 117
    CA_Sec_B 19,006 -20,698 -1,692
    CA_Sec_C 22,427 -20,775 1,652
    CA_Sec_D 26,944 -27,403 -459
    CA_Sec_E 21,200 -19,894 1,306
    CA_Sec_F 14,891 -13,469 1,422
    CA_Sec_G 23,576 -18,061 5,515
    CA_Sec_H 32,804 -34,987 -2,183
    CA_Sec_I 14,320 -13,257 1,063
    CA_Sec_J 14,049 -16,282 -2,233
    CA_Sec_K 10,661 -10,887 -226
    CA_Sec_L 5,282 -7,893 -2,612
    CA_Sec_M 18,095 -20,421 -2,326
    CA_Sec_N 17,106 -16,424 682
    CA_Sec_O 17,961 -18,747 -785
    CA_Sec_P 19,147 -15,326 3,821
    CA_Sec_Q 9,311 -13,918 -4,608
    CA_Sec_R 14,290 -11,390 2,900
    OR_Sec_B 8,124 -7,427 697
    OR_Sec_C 9,008 -8,056 951
    OR_Sec_D 7,588 -8,422 -834
    OR_Sec_E 9,614 -9,394 220
    OR_Sec_F 15,476 -16,619 -1,144
    OR_Sec_G 8,965 -12,924 -3,958
    WA_Sec_H 29,552 -25,348 4,204
    WA_Sec_I 18,327 -19,744 -1,417
    WA_Sec_J 18,773 -17,711 1,062
    WA_Sec_K 31,441 -30,641 799
    WA_Sec_L 15,030 -15,958 -928
    Total 489,418 488,411 1,007

    It turns out that estimating elevation gain/loss is a surprisingly complex and technical process. The Halfmile Project has put a great deal of effort into this, and our estimates are much more accurate than, say, the ones that Google Earth produces, or any other source of PCT information.

    Elevation values obtained from GPS units are much too noisy for use in gain/loss calculations — even from the survey grade equipment that we now are using on the Halfmile Project. Instead, elevation data is based on USGS 1/3 arc second DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data.

    Halfmile Project gain/loss estimates use approximately 3/4 million GPS sample points along the Pacific Crest Trail. The elevation for each sample points is calculated based on a grid of 525 USGS 1/3 arc second DEM rectangles that surround the point. A two dimensional spline interpolation is then generated using the DEM rectangles to calculate the exact elevation of each sample point.

    elevation spline plot

    Blue lines are the elevation spline plots calculated based on 525 USGS DEM elevation rectangles. The center of each DEM rectangle is marked with a black dot. The elevation of a GPS sample point is then calculated, in this example as 1,252.04 meters. The process is repeated about 3/4 million times.

    Observant (or obsessed) readers may have noticed that the Halfmile Project elevation estimates changed slightly from 2013 to 2014. This year’s total elevation gain of 489,418 feet is slightly less than the 492,871 foot estimate last year. The reason for the changes are:

    • The DEM data itself is constantly being updated and improved by the USGS.
    • In some sections of the PCT we completely replaced the data with more accurate GPS data.
    • In all sections we changed our selection of points (i.e., doing a bit smarter job this year).
    • Last year’s interpolation was from a grid of 36 surrounding points and this year 525 grid points were used.

    While these changes are very small, even small changes add up over thousands of points.

    One reason we put so much effort into elevation calculations, is so that the elevation gain/loss estimates match between the printed maps and smart phone apps. The Halfmile smartphone apps calculate very accurate elevation gain/loss estimates between your current on-trail location and any landmark along the trail.

    Here the Halfmile smartphone app estimates an elevation gain of 7,102 feet and a loss of 4,047 feet from the Southern Terminus to the water fountain on Mt Laguna near Burn Rancheria Campground.

    The Halfmile smartphone app estimates an elevation gain of 7,102 feet and a loss of 4,047 feet along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Southern Terminus to the water fountain near the Burn Rancheria Campground.

    If you want even more details about Halfmile Project elevation estimates, David Lippke AKA White Jeep posted a detailed summary recently on the PCT-L. Here is a copy of what he posted:

    Hi, Lon alerted me regarding the PCT elevation gain/loss stats conversation here and so I thought some direct information might help. I’m the author and maintainer of the Halfmile apps and I generated all the elevation data and gain/loss numbers published for the last three annual cycles. I spend most of my time working on improving both the horizontal and vertical accuracy of all our PCT data. This effort has ballooned over the last couple years involving more than just myself and Halfmile with the deployment of survey grade equipment to the trail, custom GPS logging devices, and now further generations of all that we are scrambling to deploy for the 2014 season.

    Anyway, people often wonder how we calculate elevation gain and loss numbers along the PCT. It turns out that this is a surprisingly complex and technical process. The net is that we currently generate profiles that are much more accurate than, say, the ones that Google Earth produces. That said, there is still substantial room for improvement and we are working on that.

    The technical TLDR is that our point elevation values are produced by heavily processing USGS DEM 1/3 arc second data. Our gain / loss calculations then operate over this set using a smoothing factor consistent with the average error present in the DEM data and the average horizontal “side to side” path jitter observed along side slopes.

    Most will want to stop reading here. 100% tech talk follows. You have been warned. :)

    Going on in more detail, the process does not involve using GPS elevation data at all. As noted by Brick, elevation values obtained from GPS units are much too noisy for use in gain and loss calculations — even from the survey grade equipment that we now use. Instead, our raw source for elevation data is the USGS 1/3 arc second DEM (Digital Elevation Model) which provides average elevation values over rectangles that are approximately 8×10 meters on a side (the “8” varies with latitude).

    We start with our best filtered GPS horizontal data for each bit of trail. This ranges in horizontal accuracy from 1/2 meter (California sections L through O) to 3-5 meter accuracy (e.g., WA J) to unknown accuracy data that we hand select from the competing data sets. Over 2014 for the 2015 update, we hope to bring the average horizontal accuracy for the entire PCT to the vicinity of a single meter.

    Then we translate all those horizontal points to the horizontal datum used by the USGS and we fetch the DEM elevation values needed generate a grid of 525 points surrounding each subject point. Using those 525 points, we generate a two dimensional spline interpolation and query it at the exact point. This process is repeated for all 3/4 million horizontal data points and involves almost 11 million unique 1/3 arc second DEM values.

    So at this point in the process we have the best possible estimate for the elevation of each track point and way point expressed in terms of the NAVD88 vertical datum (quasi MSL) with the primary error sources being that of the USGS DEM (RMSE ~2.5 meters) and that of our collected horizontal positions.

    In the next step, we reduce the horizontal point count so that all sections stay within Garmin’s 10K track point limit. We do this by applying the Ramer-Douglas-Peucker algorithm with a 1.9 meter sigma overall and, in more accurate sections, a 1.25 meter sigma. In other words, when the trail is going along a straight road or the aquaduct, the points can be several hundred meters apart but in tight turns they may only be a couple meters apart.

    Finally, to calculate gains and losses between points, a tally is kept from track point to track point except that no gain or loss is recorded until a track point is reached that has an elevation loss or gain more than 5 meters from the starting track point. When that occurs, the algorithm moves forward to the current end track point and picks up the counting again. When reporting the gain / loss to a particular way point, any residual in the smoothing is closed out so that the numbers all “add up”. As a side note, this creates a small numerical issue when one decides to total our published per-section numbers over the whole trail and compare those to the whole trail numbers in the (soon to be released) 2014 version of the Halfmile apps — our per-section numbers are “closed out” with respect to this 5 meter smoothing but the app just keeps rolling through the boundaries.

    Sorry for the tech talk, but I just wanted to address all the speculation about what feeds into these calculations. Questions are always welcome and so is project involvement — we have all manner of “task” available for the inclined. :)

    All the best,
    David Lippke aka White Jeep

    2014 update change list

    Wondering what changed in the 2014 version of Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail Maps and GPS data? Here is a list:

    Changes to all sections:
    Gain/loss estimates on elevation profile pages recalculated for improved accuracy and consistency with smartphone apps
    Acrobat bookmarks added to .PDF files
    Mobile optimized .PDF files created (smaller size due to increased compression)

    CA Section A
    RD0064 – corrected typo
    WR091 – updated location

    CA Section B
    No Changes

    CA Section C
    Updated track near mile 220.5
    Moved half mile point 220.5
    Renamed WR226 to WRCS226
    Added WRCS229
    Added WRCS231
    Added WRCS232
    Added WR233
    Removed WR234
    Renamed WR235 to WRCS235
    Renamed WR239 to WRCS239
    Renamed WR240 TO WRCS240
    Renamed WR256 to WRCS256
    Added RD0258
    Added WR258
    Added RD0258B
    Added WRCS258
    Added Cougar Crest Trail
    Removed BigBearHostel waypoint from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
    Removed BigBearLakePO waypoint from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
    Removed Nature’s Inn

    CA Section D
    Renamed MessengerFlat to MessengerFlats
    Removed ActonMetrolink from GPS data (it’s not on any map)

    CA Section E
    Updated description, location for the spring at WRCS494

    CA Section F
    Added BV0570
    Added BV0571
    Added CS0571B
    Added CS0573
    Added CS0574
    Added RD0575
    Added RD0579
    Updated description WR583
    Added PL0584
    Added GT0590
    Added RD0600
    Added RD0601
    Added TR0602
    Renamed WR602 to WRCS602
    Added RD0605
    Renamed WR609 to WRCS609
    Added RD0609
    Added RD0618
    Added Gully0620
    Added DoveSpringCynRd
    Added WR620
    Added RD0622
    Added RD0624
    Added RD0625
    Added RD0628
    Added RD0630
    Updated description of WR631
    Added CS0634
    Added CS0635
    Added TR0637
    Renamed WR638 to WR637
    Added RD0641
    Added RD0644
    Added McIivers Spring track to map and GPS data
    Added Willow Spring track to map and GPS data
    Added Robin Bird Spring track to map and GPS data
    Added Willow Spring Alternate track to map and GPS data
    Removed PO0652 from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
    Renamed water warnings from mile 620 – 664
    Updated Lake Isabella PO hours
    Updated Onyx PO hours

    CA Section G
    Added bear canister information on map pages 6 and 14

    CA Section H
    Updated Red’s Meadow description

    CA Section I
    No changes

    CA Section J
    Corrected small error in track near the Sonora Pass picnic area

    CA Section K
    Renamed WA1194 to WACS1194

    CA Section L
    Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
    Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
    New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
    Added track to rest area
    Renamed WA1182 to WA1181, moved to switchback 1/10 mi south
    Renamed WA1194 to WACS1194
    Removed Red Moose Inn

    CA Section M
    Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
    Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
    New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
    Renamed RD1204 to RD1205
    Renamed WA1205 to WACS1205
    Renamed CS1211 to CS1212
    Renamed WA1211 to WA1212
    Removed CS1216
    Added WACS1216
    Removed WA1216 (at cow pond)
    Added trail to WA1216 track
    Added new WA1216 at piped spring
    Renamed WA1219 to WA1220
    Renamed WA1224 to WACS1224
    Renamed WA1231 to WA1232
    Renamed CS1232 to CS1233
    Removed PO1236 from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
    Renamed RD1241 to RD1242
    Renamed RD1244 to RD1245
    Removed CS1251
    Renamed WA1251 to WACS1251
    Renamed RD1263 to RD1264
    Renamed WA1267 to WA1268
    Renamed WA1277 to WA1278
    Moved WA1278 to more accurate location, renamed WA1278B
    Renamed CS1278 to CS1279
    Removed CS1280
    Renamed WA1280 to WACS1280
    Moved WA1284 to better water source

    CA Section N
    Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
    Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
    New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
    Renamed CS1295 to WACS1295C
    Renamed CS1302 to CS1301B
    Renamed WACS1303 to WACS1302
    Renamed WACS1309 to WACS1308
    Renamed RD1309 to RD1308
    Renamed WA1332 to WA1331
    Renamed WA1339 to WACS1338
    Renamed WA1345 to WA1344
    HatCreekView added
    CS1384 added
    StandByMeBridge added

    CA Section O
    Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
    Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
    New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
    Renamed RD1425 to RD1424B
    Renamed RD1453 to RD1452
    Renamed WA1468 to WA1467
    Renamed WA1469 to WA1468
    Removed waypoints from GPS data that were not on any map

    CA Section P
    No changes

    CA Section Q
    No changes

    CA Section R
    Removed waypoints from GPS data that were not on any map

    OR Section B
    Updated Fish Lake Resort zip code

    OR Section C
    Updated Mazama Village shipping address

    OR Section D
    Updated Shelter Cove Resort phone number

    OR Section E
    Added information about camping restrictions in the Obsidian Limited Entry Area
    Updated Elk Lake Resort shipping information

    OR Section F
    No changes

    OR Section G
    Updated Timberline Lodge shipping address, phone

    WA Section H
    No Changes

    WA Section I
    No Changes

    WA Section J
    New GPS data collected for this section (five new tracks merged for greatly improved accuracy)
    Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
    New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
    Added note that the Chevron Station may not accept packages
    Renamed WACS2445 to WACS2446
    Renamed WA2455 to WA2456
    Corrected description of Goldmyer Alternate (mile 11.4), where you do not cross the bridge but continue on E side of river

    WA Section K
    No Changes

    WA Section L
    No Changes

    Halfmile’s updated 2014 maps are online

    Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail maps have been updated for the 2014 hiking season and are now online as free .PDF downloads. The updated maps include suggestions from 2013 hikers, more than 400 miles of new GPS data collected with survey grade GPS equipment in California Sections L – M, and new smaller files optimized for mobile devices (in addition to standard files optimized for 8 1/2 x 11 printing).