You’ve decided you’re going to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and now you’re trying to map out every resupply point and plan all your food drops. Before you pull all your hair out trying to manage these little details, let me start off by saying that unless you have specific dietary needs, you can actually get by without sending a single package to yourself during your PCT trek. Each town/stop has some sort of resupply options even thought the selection might be rather slim and the price a little steep. So, go ahead and sigh a breath of relief knowing that you could set out on the trail tomorrow and the food situation will be doable. In fact, I would go as far as to say If I had to suggest someone resupply solely on mail drops or solely through shopping along the way, I would without a doubt choose the latter. With that said, i think a mixture of sending mail drops and resupplying in town is the most common method for most hikers.

There are, of course, benefits to sending food drops to yourself along the way and also to opting to shop during town stops, too. Let’s cover some of those.

Mail-Drop Pros:
-Being able to pack healthier foods
-Good for people with dietary restrictions
-Potentially better selection
-Potentially cheaper
-Don’t have to stress over resupplying while in town (one less chore to do)

Mail-Drop Cons:
-Having to work around Post Office hours (some small towns have limited or shorter hours)
-Paying for shipping on top of cost of food
-Losing freedom of controlling schedule while on trail (might decide you don’t want to stop in that town anymore)
-No flexibility with changed craving s or daily mileage increases
-Easy to get sick of food if you’ve packed similar boxes over and over
-May have to pay additional fees to pick up packages from businesses

If you’re still pretty determined to pack your food boxes ahead of time, or you’re traveling internationally, one idea to consider is waiting until you’re on trail to mail yourself resupply packages. Every 300-500 miles or so when you are stopped in a big town (with a grocery story and post office), take a zero day and prepare some food drops. By waiting until you’re on trail, you’ll have a better idea of what you prefer to eat while hiking, you can adjust as your cravings do, and you can account for daily mileage increase once you get your trail legs.

Before hiking the Appalachian Trail,  had no idea you could send something to a post office through General Delivery. Basically, the post office will hold the box for you and all you have to do is pick it up by showing ID. It doesn’t cost anything extra. Be sure to always use your full name and not trail name! Putting an ETA is helpful so it doesn’t get returned to sender before you arrive. Don’t stress about the date, just give your best guess. I always estimate a later date than I actually think it will be to give myself wiggle room.

Hiker Name
c/o General Delivery
City, State, Zip
Please hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Although it is not necessary to receive any mail drops on the PCT (I had only a handful sent to me the entire time), there are locations in which hikers tend to appreciate the mail drop more so than others. This might be due to limited variety/options or steeper prices. Below you will find addresses and information for several of these preferred locations:

Mile 109.5 – Warner Springs, CA
Approaching Warner Springs Community Center

The only real resupply option here is at the community center. They have a small room with limited (but decent resupply), but the prices are a little expensive. I think a package here could be a good morale booster just for a celebration of your first 100 miles! Post Office isn’t too far from community center.

Mail General Delivery to Post Office:
Hiker Name
c/o General Delivery
Warner Springs, CA 92086
Please hold for Thru-HIker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Mile 702.2 – Kennedy Meadows (South), CA
Me on the porch of the General Store at Kennedy Meadows (South).

Most hikers receive their bear cans and snow gear (micro spikes, ice axe, etc.) at Kennedy Meadows to enter the Sierra Nevada. They aim to resupply here and push on, but the prices are a bit high and selection not the best. Also, it’s a $6 fee for each package you pick up. I recommend pushing just 45-50 miles further to Cottonwood Pass and take it to Horseshoe Meadows for a hitch to Lone Pine. The selection and prices are better in Lone Pine. I’m not saying you shouldn’t check out Kennedy Meadows for a hamburger, beer and light resupply, I’m just suggesting that the trip to Lone Pine will save you 48 miles of carrying heavy snow gear and your bear canister. If you want to send something to Kennedy Meadows anyway.
Here is a map showing the areas where bear canisters are required and you can see it isn’t an issue until after Lone Pine:

If you still prefer to send a package to Kennedy Meadows the General Store will hold it for you, $6 fee:

Hiker Name
c/o Kennedy Meadows General Store
96740 Beach Meadows Rd.
Inyokern, CA 93527

Mile 878.7 – Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR), CAMy friend Butt’rs riding the ferry back to the trail from VVR.

If I had to do it again, I would probably try to avoid my visit to VVR. It seems to be quite and expensive visit for many and after only staying one day my “tab” with them was pushng $200 just for two meals (dinner and breakfast), a 2-day resupply and a 2-way ferry ride. I also picked up a box that contained some needed gear, and that was $25 alone. It was a VERY high snow year in 2017, otherwise I would’ve tried to push another 30 miles to Red’s Meadow before resupplying. If you do decide to resupply here, though, even with the $25 fee you might save some money by mailing a box, and you will definitely have a much better selection coming from home than here.


UPS ONLY (preferred method):
Hiker Name
Vermilion Valley Resort
c/o Rancheria Garage
62311 Huntington Lake Rd.
Lakeshore, CA 93634

Hiker Name
General Delivery
c/o VVR Lakeshore, CA 93634

Mile 1195.4 – Sierra City, CATown sign, so welcoming!

Do not be fooled by the word “City” in “Sierra City.” Although it is a cute little dot on the map, your resupply in Sierra City will be limited and expensive, so this would be a good place to receive a package. The general store folks are very sweet and are happy to hold packages for hikers!

For Mailing to General Store:
Your Name
c/o Sierra Country Store
213 Main Street
Sierra City, CA 96125

If you prefer to mail to PO:
Your Name
c/o General Delivery
Sierra City, CA 96125
Please hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Mile 1818.4 – Crater Lake, OR (Mazama Village)Crater Lake – Very hazy due to wildfires

Although you can certainly figure out a resupply here at the general store/gift shop area, I was happy to receive a resupply box here as the options are limited.

Hiker Name
569 Mazama Village Dr.
Crater Lake National Park, OR 97604
Please hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)


Mile 1904.1 – Shelter Cove Resort, OR: Although I wasn’t able to visit this location due to a fire closure (yes, 2017 was the year of ice and fire), my fellow veteran PCT’ers from other classes have said they enjoyed receiving or wish they had received a box here.

Hiker Name
c/o Shelter Cove Resort
27600 West Odell Lake Rd.
Highway 58
Crescent Lake, OR 97733
Please Hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Mile 2094.4 – TImberline Lodge, OR
Timberline Lodge

I stayed at Timberline Lodge but did not resupply here due to going into Portland with one of my fellow hiker friends for an amazing zero day. I have heard, however, that resupply is very limited at the lodge, so it would be very convenient to receive a package there. You have to stop by anyway because they have the “Here’s Johnny” axe from The Shining…all you have to do is axe to see it.

“Here’s Johnny!”

Packages are held for hikers for a $5 fee:
Hiker Name
c/o Timberline Ski Area
Wy’East Store
TImberline, OR 97028
Please hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Mile 2226.4 – Trout Lake, WA: Another place that I did not get to experience due to a fire closure, however, has been generally identified as a good place to receive a package. There is a grocery store in town that will hold your box or you can send it general delivery to the PO.

Trout Lake Grocery Store:
Hiker Name
c/o Trout Lake Grocery
PO BOX 132
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Please hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

General Delivery at PO:
Hiker Name
c/o General Delivery
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Please hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Mile 2292.4 – White Pass: I did not resupply here as a friend from the area came to pick me up and we spent the weekend in Seattle. It is said to be a good place for receiving a mail drop and you can pick it up at the Kracker Barrel Store:

Hiker Name
c/o White Pass Rural Branch PO
At the Kracker Barrel Store
48851 US Hwy 12
Naches, WA 98937

Mile 2390.6 – Snoqualmie Pass
Hanging out at The Aardvark at Snoqualmie Pass

I had a great stay at the Summit Inn, which accepts packages for a $15 fee unless you stay (then it’s free). The gas station next door doesn’t charge a fee for a resupply box, but apparently they aren’t organized or kept protected in any way. Pick your poison! You can make a resupply from the gas station with limited options. Regardless of what you do, BE SURE to eat at The Aardvark (the little wooden food truck/trailer) in the parking lot of the gas station. The food is amazing and almost as wonderful as the owner, Dan.

Address to Gas Station:
Hiker Name
521 WA-906
Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068
Please Hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Address to Summit Inn:
Hiker Name
603 WA-906
Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068
Please Hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

Mile 2965.4 – Stehekin, WA
Lake Chelan – Stehekin, WA

If I only had ONE resupply box for my entire thru-hike THIS would be where I would send it. Snacks in the gift shop will keep you alive until you reach the Canadian Border, but they will leave you wanting for something more. I was very happy to have a box here! Also, if you want some celebratory liquor or champagne, be sure to send it here as there isn’t much in the way of alcohol at Stehekin.

Send packages to PO:
Hiker Name
c/o General Delivery
Stehekin, WA 98852
Please Hold for Thru-Hiker (ETA: MM/DD/YY)

The best tool I can recommend for addresses and information about towns is the Guthooks App for your phone. Not only can you see what businesses are available, post office hours, and addresses, but also comments from other hikers on price, selection, etc. I highly recommend this app for the PCT.

Bounce boxes are essentially boxes that you continue to forward or “bounce along” from town to town along the trail. Things included in a bounce box may be gear that you will eventually need, but don’t yet (colder weather gear), maybe medications, etc. These are good for people who don’t have someone to mail them items from home. How it works is you send a box through priority mail as general delivery to some PO in a trail town. When you get there, if you don’t need the items yet, you just ask a clerk to forward the box ahead to another town. If you don’t open the box, there will be no charge for bouncing it ahead. Simple as that!

I hope this is helpful to some of y’all preparing for the PCT! If you are reading this and are a veteran PCT hiker, feel free to share any tips or good mail drop locations in the comments section below.

Happy Trails,