Hiking Highlights from the Pacific Crest Trail on a Map

The Pacific Crest Trail or PCT is a hiking trail that passes through three states, including California, Oregon, and Washington and even has hiking highlights straight into Canada. Hiking the entirety of the trail will rack up 2,659 miles on a Fitbit, making the PCT 500 miles longer than the Appalachian Trail. Moreso than just being longer, a hike up the PCT may test a hiker’s ability to survive harsher weather conditions than one would face while hiking the Appalachian Trail, which is all forest all the time. The PCT, which begins in the Mojave desert and moves up into snow at the Sierra Nevada Mountains, on to the Cascade Mountains, and then back to more desert, glaciers and finally to forest is known for its extreme changes in weather and terrain, which makes it all the more difficult to hike.

View Hiking Highlights from the Pacific Crest Trail in a full screen map

Experience what it’s like to hike the trail yourself on the map above. You can sort by type of hiking highlight, state, elevation, or elevation change, or you can just read on for insights on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Types of Hiking Highlights

There are many types of hiking highlights to encounter if you choose to hike the nearly 2,700 miles of the PCT. From volcanoes to national forests, parks to beautiful lakes, the Pacific Crest Trail leaves nothing to be desired for those who want to see all of the beauty nature has to offer in one fell swoop.

Cities, Parks, and Trails

Hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail, you will find four cities, including two CDPs or census-designated places. Both Agua Dulce and Campo are located in California, and as CDPs, they resemble cities but lack incorporation or any sort of municipal government. Places like Agua Dulce and Campo, among other census-designated places, have been used since 1980 in the U.S. Census Bureau to gather data for the U.S. census.

The other two cities you’ll find hiking along the PCT are just your typical, everyday cities: Cascade Locks in Oregon and Stehekin in Washington. Stop by to get much-needed necessities for the rough terrain and weather changes you’re bound to encounter while hiking the PCT.

There are also a total of 13 parks you may come across on the PCT. Six of those parks are national parks, which include:

  • Kings Canyon National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • North Cascades National Park

There are also three state parks along the PCT:

  • Mount San Jacinto State Park
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

Finally, there are two trails along the PCT:

  • Windy Gap Trail, located in Angeles National Forest, which starts in Crystal Lake Recreation Area, another park on our list.
  • Kendall Katwalk

Mountain Passes and Mountains

Hiking the PCT, you can also find 13 mountain passes, which are navigable routes through mountain ranges, and five mountains, three of which are actually volcanoes:

Mount Thielsen

Photo by Oregon Department of Transportation

Mount Thielsen, a volcano whose last known eruption occurred 250,000 years ago, is located in the Oregon High Cascades. The glaciers that have formed around the volcano have created a horn-like peak, hence it’s other nickname, Big Cowhorn. Those same glaciers on and around it have made it a prime skiing and hiking destination.

Mount Adams

Photo by Alex Butterfield

Mount Adams, located in Washington, is the only potentially active volcano along the Pacific Crest Trail. Although it has not erupted in more than 1,000 years, it is not considered extinct. A 1,000-year gap is nothing compared to Mount Thielsen’s 250,000 year gap. In addition to being the only volcano considered to still be active on our list, Mount Adams is also the second highest mountain in Washington after Mount Rainier.

Glacier Peak

Photo by Allison Wildman
Photo by Allison Wildman

Glacier Peak is visible from Seattle and located in Washington. The fourth tallest of all of Washington’s peaks, it is also the most active of Washinton’s volcanoes. Glacier Peak has produced the largest and most explosive eruptions in the state and has erupted five times in past 3,000 years.

National Forests and Lakes

There are also 12 National Forests throughout the 2,700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail:

  • Cleveland National Forest
  • Angeles National Forest
  • Lassen National Forest
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Rogue River National Forest
  • Umpqua National Forest
  • Willamette National Forest
  • Deschutes National Forest
  • Mount Hood National Forest
  • Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Okanogan National Forest

And three lakes:

  • Big Bear Lake
  • Crater Lake
  • Waldo Lake

Wildernesses and Other Landmarks

There are 24 Wildernesses, or beautiful natural environments that have not been touched by any sort of human activity, as well as plenty of other landmarks such as:

  • Devils Postpile National Monument
  • Tuolumne Meadows
  • Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument
  • Dee Wright Observatory
  • Olallie Scenic Area
  • Warm Springs Indian Reservation
  • Timberline Lodge
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Bridge of the Gods

Largest Elevation Changes Throughout the PCT

In addition to all of the highlights you’ll find hiking the PCT, there are some other notable facts of interest about the trail, such as the largest elevation changes within each state of the PCT.

The largest elevation change in California involves hiking from Kings Canyon National Park to Forester Pass. Between the two, there is a 2,600-meter elevation change. This makes sense seeing as Kings Canyon is just that, a canyon in the form of a national park, while Forester Pass is a mountain pass.

Hiking from Mount Hood National Forest to the next hiking highlight on the PCT, the Olallie Scenic Area, results in a huge elevation change. This transition will leave you with the largest elevation change in Oregon at -1,574 meters.

The largest elevation change in Washington involves hiking the section of the Pacific Crest Trail that moves from White Pass to Mount Rainer National Park. This part of the trail results in a 2,735-meter elevation change.

The largest (and only!) elevation change in Canada means hiking through the last two hiking highlights on the trail, from Okanogan National Forest in Washinton to E. C. Manning Provincial Park in B.C. Canada. This last little bit of the trail results in a 395-meter elevation change.

Highest and Lowest Points Along the Pacific Crest Trail

In addition to largest elevation changes throughout each state, knowing the highest and lowest points throughout the trail may be helpful in knowing when to really start downing those granola bars and powering up for a steep hike up or down.

More than accounting for the largest elevation change in California, Forester Pass is also the highest point along the PCT. Coming in at 4,014 meters, this mountain pass will surely leave your legs aching.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Cascade Locks in Oregon corresponds to the lowest point on the PCT. At 59 meters, this city is so far below Forester Pass it’s crazy to think they’re both located on the same trail.

If you’re not ready to hike the PCT yet, we understand. You can always make your own map of the trail today, hitting the hiking highlights most interesting to you.

Stanley Cup Champs Through the Years

When the puck drops in the center ice of the Stanley Cup Finals, the two best teams in the National Hockey League (NHL) square off to crown a champion. While it was first awarded in 1893, it’s history with the NHL begins in 1927. Also called La Coupe Stanley in French, hockey’s top prize is named after British politician Lord Stanley of Preston, the 6th Governor General of Canada. More than 100 years after his death, the Stanley Cup is still coveted by every hockey team—and their many fans.

View Stanley Cup Winners in a full screen map

Explore the Stanley Cup winners and losers on the map above, or read on to see the insights we’ve pulled from the data.

Most Stanley Cup Victories

Photo by Michael Righi

It’s pretty clear that the Montreal Canadiens are the most successful NHL playoff team. The Habs, as they’re known, have won Lord Stanley’s Cup 22 times, twice that of the closest competitor. Further, they’ve only lost on seven occasions. Tied for second-most wins are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. Interestingly, these are two of only three teams to have beaten the Canadiens in an NHL Finals series.

Team Wins Appearances
Montreal Canadiens 22 29
Toronto Maple Leafs 11 19
Detroit Red Wings 11 24
Chicago Blackhawks 6 13
Boston Bruins 6 19
Pittsburgh Penguins 5 6
Edmonton Oilers 5 7
New York Islanders 4 5
New York Rangers 4 11
New Jersey Devils 3 5

As the table above shows, no other teams have double digit championships. Boston and Chicago each have six victories, while the Oilers and Penguins have tallied five each.

Photo by Kristina Servant

The Canadiens have the most appearances with 29 vs 24 for the Red Wings. Toronto and Boston are tied with 19 each and Chicago’s 13 rounds out the top five for appearances.

Stanley Cup Rivalries

Photo by Dan4th Nicholas

Some matchups are more common than others when it comes to the Stanley Cup Finals. Due to the number of overall appearances, it’s unsurprising that Montreal has several rivalries.

  • Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins (7)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings (7)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens (5)
  • Montreal Canadiens vs Chicago Blackhawks (5)
  • Montreal Canadiens vs Detroit Red Wings (5)

The Canadiens have played the Boston Bruins seven times in the finals (1930, 1946, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1977, 1978). But it’s not much of a rivalry, since Montreal has won each time.

Toronto first played Detroit in the finals in 1936. While the Red Wings took that first series three games to one, the Maple Leafs showed them by winning the next six times they faced each other for the Cup (1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1963, 1964).

The Maple Leafs have had almost as much success against the Canadiens, winning three of their five contests (1947, 1951, 1959, 1960, 1967).

Montreal has done a lot better against Chicago, besting them all five of the times they’ve played against each other in the finals (1931, 1944, 1965, 1971, 1973).

The good luck hasn’t held out against Detroit. The Red Wings have won three of the five finals where they appeared against Montreal (1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1966).

In the 1930s and 40s, the Maple Leafs faced off against the New York Rangers in three Stanley Cup Finals. Additionally, 11 teams have played each twice. A whopping 36 matchups have never been repeated.

Highest Winning Percentage

Only one NHL team has won in every Stanley Cup Finals appearance. The Colorado Avalanche beat the Florida Panthers in 1996 and the New Jersey Devils in 2001.

Team Winning Perc Wins Appearances
Colorado Avalanche 1.000 2 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 0.833 5 6
New York Islanders 0.800 4 5
Montreal Canadiens 0.759 22 29
Edmonton Oilers 0.714 5 7
Los Angeles Kings 0.667 2 3
New Jersey Devils 0.600 3 5
Toronto Maple Leafs 0.579 11 19

As you can see in the table above, eight teams have won more than half of their appearances in the finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, and Los Angeles Kings have all lost only once.

The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers join the Islanders, Penguins, and Avalanche as the five teams with a .700 or higher winning percentage.

Despite having the second-most victories (11), Toronto barely makes the cut with a .579 record. Detroit is even worse off—it’s 11 victories have only netted it a .458 record.

NHL Teams Without a Stanley Cup Win

While we’ve been focusing on the winners, each series also has a loser. Seven teams have been to at least one Stanley Cup Final series and never come out victorious:

  • Vancouver Canucks (3 appearances)
  • St. Louis Blues (3 appearances)
  • Buffalo Sabres (2 appearances)
  • Florida Panthers (1 appearance)
  • Washington Capitals (1 appearance)
  • Nashville Predators (1 appearance)
  • San Jose Sharks (1 appearance)

And five other teams have never even had the chance to compete for the Cup:

  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Minnesota Wild

US vs Canada

Ice Hockey is one of two official sports of Canada (the other is Lacrosse). By contrast, hockey doesn’t even make the top three in the United States, which sees football, basketball, and baseball as its primary sports. So, that must mean Canadian NHL teams are a lot better than those in the US, right? Well, yes and no.

Photo by Mary Meyer

The United States NHL teams have won 49 championships, compared to 41 for Canadians teams. That said, there are only seven NHL teams in Canada vs 24 in the United States. When we take the number of teams into consideration, Canada has more than two times the wins per team as the US. Canada also has a much higher winning percentage (.631 vs .434). And that’s with nearly two times the number of appearances per team.

Of course, NHL players are not only signed from the countries where teams play. With over half of professional hockey players coming from Canada, there are obviously many Canadians on US-based teams. Other popular nationalities (in addition to the United States, which is second) are Swedish, Russian, and Czech.

East vs West

One last regional comparison we can make it between NHL conferences. Like NBA teams are organized, NHL uses Eastern and Western conferences. For the playoffs, the best from each conference play each other until there is a finalist in that conference. Then, the best play each other.

For hockey, the Eastern Conference far outperforms the Western in Stanley Cup appearances, wins, and winning percentage. There is no criteria upon which the West beats the East. Granted, the top three winners—and eight of the top 10—are in the Eastern Conference.

It should be noted that the conference champion type of playoffs only started in 2014. Previously, the NHL used seeding, which meant there could be two teams from the same conference battling for best in the league. In fact, many of the rivalries above are between two Eastern teams. Further, a few teams have also changed conferences throughout the years, and our stats count their victories for the current conference.

Despite the caveats above, the message is still clear when it comes to the NHL: when it gets toward the end of the hockey season, the Eastern conference is the favorite to take Lord Stanley’s Cup back to their city.

For more sports maps, be sure to see World Series winners and losers and the Super Bowl champs mapped.

Open Data and Open Source Geocoders

Converting addresses and place names to geographic coordinates—known as geocoding—is extremely useful. In order to plot points on a map, you first need to translate human-readable versions of a place to ones that computers can understand. There are many ways to make this happen, and entire industries built around supporting them. In this post, we want to take a look at the options based on open data. That is, data that is publicly available, either from governments or communities. In many cases, the geocoding software used to access this data is also publicly available as open source.

We’ll include five popular ways to geocode using open data (and sometimes open source). But first, consider what open geo data is and what alternatives exist.

Pros and Cons of Open Geo Data

Collecting and maintaining data about every street and place in the world is a huge undertaking. There are entire companies—big companies—built to do just that. Among them are TeleAtlas (part of TomTom) and NavTeq (acquired by Nokia). And, of course, there is also Google, which in many areas of the world uses its own dataset, often collected with its StreetView vehicles.

Licensing data is expensive, and these companies make hundreds of millions in revenue. That is one of the biggest arguments in favor of open geographic data. Like open source, it is community-supported, and available for anyone to use. Open data sidesteps licensing requirements, so therefore should arguably be less expensive.

On the flip side, the big players are a monetary incentive to maintain their data. They have the revenue to cover the globe in quality assurance. In other words, the paid data should be better.

Yet, in some areas, especially remote and quickly-changing places, volunteers are able to better update the data. Volunteers are more likely to ensure their own areas are mapped when it’s not economically viable for a larger company to take it on.

In the end, the quality of the data depends on the type of data and location coverage needs. When considering mapping services, test several, and go with the one that fits your project. For this post, we’ll show several options for open source and open data geocoders.

Mapbox: Fully Configurable Mapping as a Service

Perhaps best known for its customizable map studio and visual representation of geo data, Mapbox is a complete mapping solution. That includes a robust geocoding offering based on open data, both public and community-created.

One major distinction between Mapbox and some of the other tools listed here: it is neither open source, nor free (although there are no fees for less than 50,000 requests per month). That said, it fits the distinction of being based on open data. When paired with Mapbox maps, you can fully configure how the map styles look. Compared to running your own geocoder, you don’t have to keep data updated or run a server to translate addresses to geo coordinates.

OpenCage: Geocoder-Focused Service

Like Mapbox, OpenCage is based on OpenStreetMap and other open data sources. Unlike Mapbox, which has many different mapping tools, OpenCage is completely focused on geocoding. While OpenCage also charges for its service, the free plan is generous—2,500 requests per day, which works out to 75,000 free requests per month.

The company is even more generous to paying customers:

If you are on the free trial, when you hit 2,500 requests in a day you begin to receive a 402 HTTP response code. If however you are a paying customer, when you reach your limit we do … nothing. The limits are “soft” in that if you need more requests on a given day, nothing happens, you can keep geocoding. If you cross the limit repeatedly then the following month we ask you to move to the next higher tier.

OpenCage sits atop numerous open data and open source projects, as seen on its credits page. The tools are combined to create great results world-wide.

Pelias: Run Your Own Geo Server

Pelias describes itself as “a distributed full-text geographic search engine.” Previously, it was part of a for-profit company called Mapzen, which ran a hosted version of Pelias as a service. Though the company is no longer in operation, Pelias is entirely open source and based on OpenStreetMap and other open data. Therefore, if you have some technical skills, you can run it yourself.

Running your own Pelias server requires Node.JS, ElasticSearch, and various supporting libraries. You can import its data, which has 285 million address points available, and can provide results for many more given interpolation (as shown in the image above).

Pelias is a powerful option that requires some technical chops to run on your own.

Nominatim: OpenStreetMap’s Geocoder Service

Nominatim is a search engine for OpenStreetMap data. You can connect to it as a service for free, but has some very strict usage requirements. Nevertheless, the service can help you test OpenStreetMap data to see if it will work for your needs.

For production use, it’s best to install Nominatim yourself. It requires PostgreSQL with PostGIS and several other languages and libraries. Like Pelias, you’ll want to have some technical background to run it on your own.

OSM Names: OpenStreetMap-based Geocoder Service

Lastly, if you’re looking for place search, rather than full addresses, you may be happy with OSM Names. The OSM, as you may have guessed, stands for OpenStreetMap, the community project many of these open data geocoders are based upon. In this case, landmarks, cities, and postal codes are included in OSM Names. For many uses this can suffice!

The service is available as an API, as well as to download and install yourself.

Overview of Geocoding Options

Using open data and open source geocoders can be as simple as an API call away (obviously not simple for everyone) or as complex as installing software on your own servers. The quickest start—and sometimes best data—is available from services for a monthly fee. But if you’re looking to have the most control, you can go with the open source options that only cost you your time.

Name Open Data Open Source Addresses Places Free
Mapbox Yes No Yes Yes Limited
OpenCage Yes No Yes Yes Limited
Pelias Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nominatim Yes Yes Yes No Yes
OSM Names Yes Yes No Yes Yes

As you can see, if all of these things are important to you, you’ll want to go with Pelias. But, as mentioned previously, it’s worth comparing several options to each other. You can even compare the open versions to the geocoders from Google, Microsoft, and others.

Batch Geocode Without a Line of Code

Making maps is hard and, as we’ve seen above, so is running your own geocoder. You can convert your list of locations into a beautiful map in minutes using this geocoding tool. No code required.