Great Western Loop

From LongTrailsWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Great Western Loop
A loop connecting some of the American West's most famous backpacking routes.
Length6,875 miles (11,064 km)[1]
LocationWestern United States: Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Elevation gain/loss?
Highest pointGray's Peak 14,278 feet (4,352 m)
Lowest point?
Hiking details

The Great Western Loop is a route circumnavigating the Western United States which connects large sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantments Trail, and Arizona Trail. It was created by Andrew Skurka and is one of American Hiking's most difficult accomplishments alongside the Triple Crown.

Length: 6,875 miles (11,064 km)

Standard Direction(s) of Travel: Clockwise

Season: Ideally the hiker attempts to avoid the worst of winter, most low elevation and low latitude sections are best in the spring or fall, while the higher elevations and latitues are typically best in summer.

Trail Association: Many of the component trails have their own organizations, but the Great Western Loop is simply a recognized route.


Grand Canyon NP to Morongo, CA - Self made trail - 675 mi

Morongo, CA to North Cascades NP - Pacific Crest Trail - 2415 mi

North Cascades NP to Glacier NP - Pacific Northwest Trail - 685 mi

Glacier NP to New Mexico - Continental Divide Trail - 2400 mi

New Mexico to Arizona - Grand Enchantment Trail - 350 mi

Return to Grand Canyon - Arizona Trail - 350 mi



Resupplies for the component trails are relatively well documented, but extreme distances or preparedness may be necessary to pass certain areas of trail without connecting to towns or businesses.

Weather and Seasonality

Hikers can expect to encounter any and all forms of weather, as this hike spans across many biomes and a hike will take several seasons.

Noteworthy Section Hikes

This hike links together several noteworthy National Scenic Trails: the Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Northwest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Grand Enchantments Trail, and the Arizona Trail. Within those trails you can find the John Muir Trail and the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim.

Permits and Regulations

Permits are required for protected wilderness areas along the route.


Online Maps

Printed Maps

Information Resources

Websites - Andrew Skurka Youtube Talk - Trip Report by Emma Rosenfeld - Trip Report by Jeff Garmire - JustAGermanHiker Trip Report - Nick Gagnon FKT Report - Trip Reports by "Chezwick" - Video by "Legend" from a thru-hike - Trip Report by Crystal Gail




Getting To and From the Trail

The trail is a loop and can be accessed from many points, which are documented under its component trails.

Geographic Features

The noteworthy features this trail crosses are almost too numerous to list and include the Colorado Desert, the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada, the Cadcade Range, the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and more.

Administrative Territories

Online Communities


  1. Skurka, Andrew. Great Western Loop.

External Links