Best Restaurants on the Pacific Crest Trail

Anyone who thru-hikes can probably regurgitate information about their favorite food locations along the trail. Thru-hikes are, in their purest essence, jaunts from town to town to eat food. Milkshakes, burgers, burritos, and beers; nothing makes a hungry hiker smile quite like those simple joys. The Trek reached out to fellow writers, readers, and ramblers for their favorite grub joints along the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile food tour.

The following list of food establishments is our result from a 100+ option survey, and certainly is not a be-all-end-all list. If there is a place you can’t believe we missed, comment and let us know. Also note, the following restaurants are amazing to dead-tired, smelly, and famished woods-people…. but probably not to the Queen of England.

1) Stehekin Pastry Company

photo cred: Vinny Mullin

Town: Stehekin, WA
Address: Stehekin Valley Rd.
Phone Number: 509-682-7742
What it’s known for: A legendary stop on the PCT that serves up a variety of homemade baked goods, ice cream, caffeinated beverages, and breakfast / lunch options.  They’ve been in business since 1989 and continue to remain a memorable stop for visitors.
Standout meals: Cinnamon rolls, danishes, quiche, pie, pizza, and more… with many varieties to choose from. Do yourself a favor and supplement your resupply with some of their offerings (if you can resist them long enough to save for the trail).

2.) Timberline Lodge

photo cred: Nadia Westenburg

Town: Government Camp, OR
Address: 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, OR 97028
Phone number: 503-272-3311

What it’s known for: The breakfast buffet spread is incredible, arguably the best AYCE on the trail.
Standout meals: $17.95 gets you the breakfast buffet, which includes waffles, pancakes, meat options, granola and yogurt, potatoes, and more. Note: There is also a formidable lunch buffet for a slightly higher price.

3.) Paradise Valley Cafe

Town: Mountain Center, CA
Address: 61721 CA-74, Mountain Center, CA 92561
Phone number: 951-659-3663
What it’s known for: Breakfast and lunch that can satisfy any hungry thru-hiker. Impressive breakfast burritos, burgers, salads, and of course, ice cream and milkshakes.
Standout meals: Their brownie sundae is a hit, as well as the huge burgers. You also can’t go wrong with their salads. Many who stop here for breakfast end up staying for lunch.

4.) Aardvark Express

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Town: Snoqualmie Pass, WA
Address: 521 WA-906, Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068
Phone number: 425-578-4456
What it’s known for: Aardvark Express is an iconic stop in Washington, just a short walk off the trail. Breakfast, burgers, and specialty bowls of curry and veggies.
Standout meals: Everyone raves about the “Hurry Curry” bowl, and sometimes order more than one. The owner also readily serves gluten-free and veggie options.

5.) Carmen’s Garden

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Town: Julian, CA
Address:  2018 Main St, Julian, CA 92036
Phone number: 760-765-4600
What it’s known for: An early stop for NOBO hikers, or a late stop for SOBO’s, Carmen’s Place gives options for Mexican, burgers, seafood, and veggie delights. 
Standout meals: 
People tend to gravitate towards the burgers and pot-pies, but they offer a spectrum of Mexican food options, such as carne asada tacos, Tamales, or huevos rancheros . It’s also a great spot to enjoy a beer for some relief from the desert heat.

6.) JJ’s Cafe

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Town: Old Station, CA
Address: 13385 CA-89, Old Station, CA 96071
Phone number: 530-335-7225
What it’s known for: House-baked bread, pastries, and cookies. They also take pride in their own corned beef, pulled pork, and pastrami. It’s a tasty breakfast stop as well.
Standout meals: Homemade jalapeno chorizo hash, the reuben, and their grass-fed beef hamburgers are some favorites.

7.) Callahans Lodge & Restaurant

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Town: Ashland, OR
Address: 7100 Old Highway 99 South, Ashland, OR 97520
Phone number: 541-482-1299
What it’s known for: First and foremost, you’ll receive a free beer for providing your PCT permit. Pair it with some hearty lunch or dinner meals. Breakfast is also available.  
Standout meals: The prime rib stroganoff is a classic, as well as their steak dinners. They also have a generous amount of italian and seafood options.

8.) Cascade Locks Ale House

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Town: Cascade Locks, OR
Address:
 500 SW WaNaPa St., Cascade Locks, OR 97014
Phone number: 541-374-9310
What it’s known for:
 Beers, burgers, pizza, and friendly staff; a classic pub vibe to say farewell to Oregon. 
Standout meals:
 Notable specialty pizzas, and their salmon chowder is a favorite among locals as well. The horseradish is also legendary.  

9.) Thunder Island Brewing Co.

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 Town: Cascade Locks, OR
Address:
 515 SW Portage Rd., Cascade Locks, OR 97014
Phone number:
 971-231-4599
What it’s known for:
 Craft beer, wine, and ciders. They also serve a small menu of seasonal pub fare that changes throughout the year.  
Standout Meals:
Pulled pork sandwich, Galaxy Pale Ale, Cream Ale, and more.

10.) Seiad Cafe

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Town: Klamath River, CA
Address:
 44721 Klamath River Hwy, Klamath River, CA 96050
Phone number:
 530-496-3360
What it’s known for:
 Awesome breakfasts and milkshakes. Also, the ridiculous pancake challenge (five dinner-plate sized pancakes). Lunch is also available, and just as delicious. 
Standout meals:
Blackberry milkshakes, omelettes, and huge pancakes (with gluten-free options). For lunch, try the BLT or the chicken bacon avocado wrap.

11.) Sierra Country Store

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Town: Sierra City, CA
Address: 213 Main St, Sierra City, CA 96125
Phone number: 530-862-1560
What it’s known for: This unassuming general store has some of the biggest burgers on trail, and amazing milkshakes. It’s a great spot to send a resupply box, and eat lunch. 
Standout meals: The Gutbuster Burger. Any milkshake, or ice cream sundae selection is a winner too.

12.) Alabama Hills Bakery & Cafe

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Town: Lone Pine, CA
Address: 111 W Post, Lone Pine, CA 93545
Phone number: 760-876-4675
What it’s known for: Regarded by some as the best restaurant in Lone Pine. Breakfast and lunch selections will not disappoint, especially when you exit the Sierra, tired and hungry.   
Standout meals: Kick-ass cinnamon rolls, chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy

13.) Erick Schat’s Bakery 

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Town: Bishop, CA
Address: 763 N Main St, Bishop, CA 93514
Phone number: 760-873-7156 
What it’s known for: A ridiculous amount of baked goods to choose from, including a colossal day-old section for cheap, delicious cookies, breadsticks, muffins, and more. 
Standout meals: Focaccia bread with tons of variety, including cheddar jalapeno, and bacon. They also serve sandwiches, pot pies, soups, and more.

14.) Pine Shack Frosty

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Town: Chester, CA
Address: 321 Main, Chester, CA 96020
Phone number: 530-258-2593
What it’s known for: Broasted chicken, ice cream, and 30 milkshake flavors all wrapped up into a frosty little package. 
Standout meals: Chocolate-banana, coconut-pineapple, peach, toffee, and so many more flavors for milkshakes.

Honorable Mentions

The following restaurants are just as deserving of recognition, but didn’t get as many votes as those listed above. Keep them in mind while you eat your way along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Comments 5

  • Gary : Feb 14th

    You missed the best place on the trail: Muir Trail Ranch

    Reply
    • Lisa : Feb 17th

      That was pretty amazing. Such big portions!

      Reply
  • Dane Pikkola : Feb 15th

    Also, the Elk Chili and general good vibe and facilities at Elk Lake in Central Oregon, a mile off the PCT, is well worth the effort. Been there twice.

    Reply
  • Carmen from Carmen’s Garden : Feb 19th

    I beg to differ, kind sir….the queen would cry with tears of happiness after ONE bite of my shepherd’s pie!! She’d probably try to get me to come reside in the castle at Balmoral to be her personal chef. Of course I would curstsy and then explain that feeding the hiker trash is far more important and rewarding.
    I’m so pleased that even one kitten mentioned me.
    Tears of happiness myself!

    Reply
  • Stripes : Nov 30th

    Hey guys.
    The best burger I ever ate was at the STANDING STONE BREWING COMPANY, Ashland, and also awesome beers that you can find in Oregon.
    As a french cuisine specialist (I’m french!), the big surprise and the best kitchen is STILL LIFE CAFE in Independence. I ate the best piece of meat, an Entrecôte. Thanks Malika.

    Stripes, PCT thru-hiker 2018

    Reply

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