By Christopher Rush
local Trail Angel and PCT Section Hiker 

The Pacific Crest Trail and Tehachapi


As a PCT hiker myself, I know how nice it is to come into one of the few towns along the trail to eat something other than dehydrated food and perhaps sleep on a mattress for a change. As Tehachapi residents, my wife and I have helped out many PCT hikers over the years providing rides to and from the two local trailheads and Tehachapi. The two things that strike me most over the past few years is how the PCT has become more and more an international attraction and how much of an economic benefit the trail has become to trial towns like Tehachapi.

I have met hikers from all the European countries but also from countries including: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, China, Taiwan, Israel, and Japan. This year I would guess that approx. one third of all PCT hikers are from foreign countries spending money right here in our wonderful town. I met a couple from Switzerland on the trail in Oregon who raved about how good one of our Italian restaurants was here in Tehachapi. I gave a Texan a ride back to the trail who said he had had the best Bar BQ he ever tasted here in Tehachapi. My wife and I have met PCT hikers in every restaurant in town from the fast food places to the high end dining venues. We have met them in coffee venues to brew pubs.

True, a portion of the hikers are hikers (mostly young) with limited means and attempt to spend as little as they can get away with. Perhaps the majority (including many retired folks) spend nights in some of Tehachapi’s best hotels and motels. One hiker told me he had to obtain lodging in his second choice hotel because the first establishment he called was booked solid with PCT hikers. This was on a weekday.

So the next time you see “Hiker Trash”, as they like to call themselves, at the supermarket, the laundry, the Post Office, or the sporting goods store, give them a hearty Tehachapi welcome and perhaps a ride. In April through June they help drive the economy of our lovely mountain community.


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