The Great Western Loop is a 6,875-mile footpath that links together five existing long-distance trails — including the Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Arizona Trail — and a trail-less segment through the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts. It passes through the most cherished and pristine wild lands remaining in the Lower 48, including 12 National Parks and over 75 wilderness areas.
The origins of the Great Western Loop trace back to Spring 2006, when Andrew Skurka and the Publisher of Backpacking Light Magazine, Ryan Jordan, were talking late into the night about “what’s left” in long-distance backpacking in the Lower 48. It was agreed that the “Great Western Loop,” named later by GoLite President Demetri Coupounas, was the only notable expedition that had not been undertaken — and, interestingly, in many respects it seemed to be the most desirable ultra-long-distance hike that had ever been conceived, as its scenery, wilderness experience, and elegance was unrivaled.
On April 9th Andrew Skurka began his attempt to become the first person to complete the Great Western Loop. Read more about Andrew Skurka’s Great Western Loop Hike.