Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off

Since 1999

Getting to Lake Morena

Hiking from the Border

Dr. Ken Murray offers the following advice:

Congratulations to you on the start of your hike!

However, many people find this first day among the most challenging of the whole hike, and some have quit after that day. Not good. :(

So...Tips for maximizing chances of success:

  • It is 20 miles, and it is through desert terrain. You need water, probably a lot of it. 4-6 liters is typical. This year there is no potable water along this stretch of trail.
  • You may not make it all the way. If you don't, are you prepared? Sometimes it rains, and it is usually cold at night. Some recommend that you should take your whole kit, and not slack-pack back to Lake Morena, just in case. Plus, it is a good gear "shakedown", where you can make adjustments at the Kick Off.
  • In any case, you need to have the "TEN ESSENTIALS", plus the ability to shelter safely.
  • People get lost EVERY year on this section. Have a map and current conditions.
  • People don't show up from their dayhike--EVERY year. Sometimes a campsite buddy notices, and Search and Rescue gets called. Helicopters really mess up your sleep! It is best to let someone at the KO know what you are doing and your schedule. (We provide tent tags for this purpose. Pick one up at the registration tent.) There will be a lot of people out there hiking with you. If you are getting in trouble, TELL SOMEONE. The message will be passed along. Same if you decide to overnight on the trail…that message may hold off the helicopters.

The Kick Off organizers are NOT Search and Rescue professionals, and will not begin a search, that is for the professionals.

Ride Board

We're trying to make it easy for all thru hikers to make it to the trail...and to make it to ADZPCTKO. Use these lists to find a ride partner.

Note: If you just need a ride from Lake Morena back to the border after ADZPCTKO, don't bother posting a request here. There'll be plenty of people at ADZPCTKO who can help you out.

Finding a Rideshare Partner

Public Transportation

San Diego MTS (telephone 800.858.0291) has bus service to points on or near the trail, including:

Sample routes:

  • Warner Springs to Campo or Lake Morena: Bus 892 transfer to 894
  • Shelter Valley (south of Scissors Crossing) or Julian to Campo or Lake Morena: Bus 891 transfer to 894

The service isn't frequent (most routes run only once a day or even once a week) and the schedules aren't particularly convenient...but it is an option if you're unable to hook up with someone through the Ride Board.

Driving Directions