Tag Archives: tutorials

Pacific Crest Trail Weather Forecasts

Rain along the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern Oregon.

Rain along the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern Oregon (photo by Halfmile).

Several hikers have asked about Pacific Crest Trail weather forecasts. We use the National Weather Service (NWS) point forecasts from Weather.gov. These point forecasts are for a 2.5km grid and using Halfmile Project data makes it easy to find the forecast for a specific location along the PCT. Point forecasts are for the elevation of the PCT which are often thousands of feet above nearby towns.

Links to NWS weather point forecast along the PCT:

Mile 0 — Southern Terminus of the PCT — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 42 — Mount Laguna — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 110 — Warner Springs — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 179 — Saddle Junction (near Idyllwild) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 210 — Highway 10 (near Cabazon) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 275 — Van Dusen Canyon Road (near Big Bear) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 374 — Vincent Gap (near Wrightwood) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 454 — Agua Dulce — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 565 — Tehachapi Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 652 — Walker Pass – Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 704 — Kennedy Meadows — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 767 — Mount Whitney — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 839 — Muir Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 943 — Tuolumne Meadows — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1017 — Sonora Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1153 — Highway 40 near Donner Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1265 — Bucks Summit — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1388 — Hat Creek Rim — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1507 — Castle Crags — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1597 — Etna Summit — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1716 — Callahans Lodge (near Ashland, OR) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1836 — Crater Lake Rim — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1905 — Willamette Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1998 — Santiam Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2095 — Timberline Lodge — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2211 — Indian Heaven Wilderness — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2292 — White Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Miel 2391 — Snoqualmie Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2461 — Stevens Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2518 — Mica Lake — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2630 — Harts Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link

Note: The “current conditions” for these point forecast are from the nearest weather reporting station which could be many miles away from the actual forecast area and may not be as useful as the actual forecast.

Tracking Hikers With Google Earth

Entering the latitude and longitude from a Delorme inReach satellite message in Google Earth with Halfmile data.

Entering the latitude and longitude from a Delorme inReach satellite message in Google Earth with Halfmile data.

Many Pacific Crest Trail hikers are using satellite messaging devices like the Delorme inReach or SPOT Messenger to communicate with friends and family. Using Halfmile Project data from PCTMap.net and Google Earth can make these messages easier to understand for your followers back home.

Halfmile data is available in several different forms — and the data matches exactly, no matter which form you are using. The data is available as follows:

  • Printable PCT maps
  • Android or iPhone Apps
  • Google Earth KML files
  • GPX files for loading into a GPS or third party Smartphone GPS app
  • Trail Notes

A Halfmile point on the printable maps is the same in Google Earth or the Halfmile smartphone apps. If a satellite messenger sends latitude and longitude coordinates, these can easily be viewed by friends back home in Google Earth or simulated in the Halfmile smartphone app.

Here are the steps to follow a hiker using a satellite message and Google Earth with Halfmile data:

    1. Download and install Google Earth.
    2. Download the Halfmile Google Earth KMZ file.
    3. Open the Halfmile KMZ file in Google Earth and save it to “My Places.”
    4. Expand the satellite message and note the latitude and longitude [see screen capture above].
    5. Enter the latitude and longitude in the Google Earth Search field [see screen capture above] and select the “Search” button.
    6. Google Earth will zoom to the location and show a marker [usually a pushpin] at your hiker’s location.
    7. If you have followed the steps correctly, the path of the Pacific Crest Trail and Halfmile waypoints will also be shown in Google Earth. It will be easy to see the location of your hiker in relation to these landmarks. In the screen capture above, the hiker is at a waypoint named WA2658, between PCT miles 2658 and 2658.5. You may need to expand the Google Earth “Time Sliders” to see all of the Halfmile waypoints.

Halfmile data is updated each year, usually in January. For constancy, use the latest data. If you are using 2015 Halfmile maps, be sure to use the 2015 Google Earth or 2015 GPX files. If you are using other PCT information sources, the mileages may not match exactly.

Note: A version of this blog post first appeared on the HalfmileProject.org bog.