AT, PCT, CDT – 2016 Thru-hikers, Come On Down! — 28 Comments

  1. Dear Tom,

    What a wonderful idea. My husband and I are not thru-hikers, but we did spend a month on the trail last year, and are planning to go out again this year to take up where we left off. We’re in our early 60’s and although I know that we probably could make it through the whole trail, we are more interested in taking our time and not pushing so hard.

    I’m very interested in supporting your cause though, and I wonder if we can sign on even though we are not planning to hike the whole trail. We’re planning to start at Tuolomne meadows, which is where we left off last year–we went about 240 miles.

    What do you think? We have a 30 year old foster daughter, who is very much a part of our family, who has bi-polar disorder, so this cause feels very near and dear to me.

    Thanks, and please let me know.

  2. I’m a bit early for this question, but here it is.

    I just started planning for a thru hike of the PCT starting May of 2016. I will be 64 at the time and would like 1 or 2 companions to join me. I will attempt to complete the hike within 80 days.
    Hiking for mental health is a great cause and I will definitely sign up at the appropriate time.
    not sure if this is the right forum.. If not maybe you can point me in the right direction.

    • Not too early Bob! I am also just starting to plan to hike in May 2016! It’s so exciting! I can’t wait! I am not looking for companions as I am looking to use the time to reconnect with nature and myself but I look forward to seeing you/visiting with you on the trail! I am planning for about 90 days, but don’t believe I’ll be able to do the whole trail. I am in my 50’s. Feel free to connect with me!

      • Hi Melanie: I hear you. Always good to get out for some solitude to clear the head.
        April 23rd I’m hiking the Arizona Trail (800 miles) as a training hike. Hopefully I will be able to work out a lot of logistical bugs along the way.
        ie; water usage – pack weight, food.

        Stay in touch, to let me know how your plans are going. Maybe we can give each other some good pointers along the way.
        I live next to the Superstition Mountains in Arizona, so I do a lot of desert hiking.

        Happy Trails

        • Bob,
          I live just south of Sedona. I am thinking about doing some hiking. I just turned 50 and have some bugs to work out. I am a newby and need too get some stamina back. I also have a lot of stuff to buy as well. But when I put my mind to something then I do it. I thought about starting at Pine or by Stoneman Lake to Flagstaff. Also thought of bringing my Doberman with a pack of her own.
          PCT would be waaaaaay in the future if ever. But ya never know.
          Gotta start somewhere,

          • Hi Amy: Happy Birthday…

            Glad to hear your getting back to hiking. Doing small sections of the Arizona Trail is a great start. Get yourself a Camelback hydration pack and just take of for a few hours.
            Good idea to bring the pooch. Might want to enter her into a snake awareness program for dogs.

            Maybe I’ll see you on the trail in mid April. We should be north of Payson on the AZT around April 20th.

            Happy Trails

      • Hello Melanie 🙂 I am very seriously considering a hike myself and your story sounds somewhat similar to mine in that I too am in my 50’s. I am not looking for companions in that I would like the opportunity to also reconnect with myself and nature. Would it be possible for us to correspond as I too begin to make plans for May 2016? I am so very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to challenging myself and the much needed solitude and personal connection with myself!!! I hope to hear from you.

    • I am 66 and have plans on doing a large section of PCT starting late March, depending on weather conditions. I haven’t read all these posts, but are you saying you want to o the whole trip 2600+ miles in 80 days?

      • Hi Jack; I was a bit over confident when I posted that comment of finishing in 80 days. After just hiking 400 miles of the Arizona Trail I realize that that goal at my age is not possible.

        Because of the eating issues and foot problems I have I have now changed my plan s to section hiking the PCT. I plan on leaving March 20th 2016 and hiking from Campo to Kennedy Meadows.
        Then I have to take a couple weeks off for my daughters wedding.
        Depending on snow fall in the Sierras I will return to do the next section to Tuolumne Meadows.

        • Lets keep in touch. I am 66 and in decent health other than 20 extra pounds which I am working hard at losing now. I was planning a March Section 1 trip, but may be doing it in November. I am researching conditions now. Either way, sounds like we might make a good match as far as age and how fast we want to travel. Shoot me a direct email at so we can get off this site and discuss things. Even if Section one timing doesn’t work out, other sections may. I hope to start and finish California in 2016.

        • Hello I am also planning the thru hike for May 2016 and I will be 63 at the time. would like to join on your hke, i would rather attempt it with 2 or more also. looking forward to this. so how do I join

    • Hello I am also planning the thru hike for May 2016 and I will be 63 at the time. would like to join on your hke, i would rather attempt it with 2 or more also. looking forward to this. so how do I join

  3. Are you guys still doing this? I’m an army veteran, medically retired in 2008. Have PTSD and could use a long walk to clear my senses. I also have a service dog that could accompany me. get back to me if this is still happening.

    • Hi Michael, yes, we have many AT and PCT thru hikers who have chosen to make HIKE for Mental Health a part of their plans for the hike. We do not have a group hike of the AT or PCT planned, however, if that is what you are asking about. I will email you so we can discuss your intent in more detail. Thank you.

  4. My trail name is “Journeyman” I have been so blessed as a thru-hiker I am part of the 2014 class of AT hikers and I think god as he provided all that I needed to complete my thru-hike! I must think the many people who helped make my hike possible. Now, moving on to pct I WOULD APPRECIATE INPUT AS I AM PREPARING TO JOIN MY FAMILY OF HIKERS (2016) AS WE HEAD TO Canada! SEE YA @ THE 2016 KICK-OFF& GET IN TOUCH!

  5. Hi hikers, I live in the Midwest and I am in my 40’s and I love hiking
    But have not been in a few years, due to personal changes in my life. Nature is so important to me and I enjoy talking to others that have the same interests. I am asking advice on where I should start, or what trail is best for a good, and do able trail. I have had mental illness in my family, and would love to help with awareness. Any advice is great. Happy trails…lol

    • Hi Cyndi! Thanks for your comment and question. There are tons of great trails all over the country. Are you looking to travel for a destination hike, or wanting something you can do as a day hike closer to home?

  6. Tom, I have just found your website. I am an endurance rider and my horse and I live in the Sierra in Truckee. My horse and I have miles of experience on all kinds of trails and have three 100 mile rides to our credit. I am considering a thru ride on the PCT. Do you know of any riders who have accomplished this feat? I thought it would take a year to plan and head out in 2017. If you have any information to share I would appreciate it. Thanks, Phyllis

    • Hi Phyllis,I too am a horse lover, i have owned five horses in my life. I’m sure people have thru hiked the PCT with their horses. but i don’t know how many. One place to check would be the Pacific Trail Association. You can google them and get the web sight. From what I have been told there are some places where the horse can not go. But from what I understand they have trails you can take around that. I think that would be so much fun.
      I bet your horse goes through a lot of shoes lol. When you find out please get back to me and let me know. And we have not had one person ride for Hike for Mental Health. If you choose to do that you would be the first. And when you are done I bet you could write a great article for us about your adventure.I wish I had more information for you, but the PCTA should be able to answer all your questions. In any event please keep me informed I would love to follow your journey.

      Tom Kennedy

    • Hi Phyllis. I randomly came across this site because your comment as a potential thru-rider came up in my google search. I have completed two thru-rides of the PCT and would be happy to help anyone who is considering a thru-ride. Feel free to contact me at

  7. I am planning on thru hiking the PCT in 2018. I stumbled upon this while doing research as I am already planning my trip and it is an amazing idea. I have struggled with mental health personally and this is just more inspiration to me. I am definitely going to sign up when the 2018 sign ups open up. I’m very glad I found this 🙂

    • Hi Peter! So glad you found us. We too are inspired by the connection between hiking / being out in nature and mental health, on many levels.

      We usually post the sign-up’s about September of the year prior to the hike. Looking forward to having you on the team in 2018!

  8. I live in Houston Texas and my best friend of more than 20 years (she lives in France are planning to hike the PCT in 2018. We would like to be kept in the loop when you are ready to post sign-ups for 2018.
    Thank you,

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