You could be paid $5,000 to hike the Pacific Crest Trail next year – here's how

Pacific Crest Trail sign with snowy mountain
(Image credit: RobertCrum)

Two hikers who tackle the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) next year will be awarded $5,000 each if they amend their route to take in a new stretch of trail to Carson City. Entries are open now and the deadline is fast approaching, but there's still time to apply.

The prize is being offered by the local tourism office to promote the new 16-mile stretch connecting Carson City to Lake Tahoe. The Capital to Tahoe Trail was completed in 2023, and was eight years in the making from conception to opening.

“Our downtown sits in the middle of all of our trails,” Lydia Beck, Visit Carson City’s marketing manager, told The Inertia. “And people have no idea that Carson City has a beautiful stretch of the east side of Lake Tahoe. We’re trying to bring awareness to our proximity.”

How to enter

The PCT is a 2,650-mile hiking and equestrian trail that roughly follows the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains near the west coast of the US. Travelling north, the trail spans the entire length of the US from Mexico to Canada and takes hikers through California, Oregon and Washington.

To be in with a chance of winning, the two thru-hikers must start their journey on the steps of the Carson City Capitol, and hike 1,600 miles to Canada. You are also eligible if you start in Mexico an make a detour to Carson City.

You need to submit your application on the Visit Carson City website by May 31. Officials from the tourist board will review all applications, and hand-pick two hikers who they believe can complete the mission. Finalists will be contacted in late July.

The hike itself will take place in summer 2025, though the exact date will depend on weather conditions.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.