Getting to Campo: PCT Southern Terminus Shuttle To Run for Second Year
Aware that your PCT start date is fast approaching, you decide to consult your checklist one more time. PCT Long-distance Permit and other permits? Check. Gear? Also check. Transportation to Southern Terminus? Whoops—not check.
Getting affordable and reliable transportation to the Southern Terminus is one of the first hurdles NOBO PCT hikers face. Fortunately, NOBOs are in luck on that front thanks to Dee “OneSpeed” and Paul “Just Paul” of the PCT Class of 2014.
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These seasoned thru-hikers started the PCT Southern Terminus Shuttle in March of 2022 after reflecting on their own tricky experience getting to the Southern Terminus. Campo, where the Southern Terminus is located, is over an hour’s drive from San Diego, and that’s only if you’re lucky enough to get a ride from a trail angel or have a contact in the area who’s willing to drive you. Otherwise, you have to rely on an hours-long bus ride, which doesn’t run on the weekends or holidays.
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OneSpeed and Just Paul also realized that hikers who have to fly in to start their trip aren’t able to carry certain essential items like a fuel canister, trekking poles, lighter, pocket knife, etc. Another, newer logistical challenge came up when Barney “Scout” and Sandy “Frodo” Mann, who have graciously hosted and offered an array of services to PCT hikers through the years, announced that they planned on stepping down from hosting. (As it turns out, they will be hosting for the 2023 season after all. More on this below.)
“We understand how daunting the logistics of adventures are, even more so if you are going solo and thought maybe we could offer a reliable and affordable way to reach the Southern Terminus of the PCT,” said OneSpeed and Just Paul. “With all our travels and outdoor adventures, we have been blessed with unexpected help and serendipitous encounters. We hope that we can pay it forward with our service.”
What to Expect
If you’re looking to book a ride with the PCT Southern Terminus Shuttle, here are some key things to note.
Times & dates: The shuttle will run every day of the week (Monday – Sunday) from February 28 through May 30, 2023. You can choose from two different pick-up times: 9:30 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. PST.
Cost: $75 per person.
Location: The pick-up location will be at the Old Town Transit Center next to the San Diego Flyer Shuttle stop (a photo and map of the pick-up area will be provided when you book). FYI – if you plan on taking the Flyer Shuttle from the San Diego Airport to Old Town, the Flyer Shuttle leaves from Airport Terminals 1 & 2 every ~20 minutes.
Shuttle stops: The PCT Southern Terminus Shuttle will make four stops along the way to the terminus. On average, including stops, you can expect the ride to take ~1.5 hours.
- Stop #1: San Diego REI for curbside pick-up and/or in-store shopping (so you can purchase things you weren’t permitted to fly with).
- Stop #2: Campo Green Store for additional items or food.
- Stop #3: Campo Post Office to pick up first-week supplies you may have mailed yourself and/or so you can mail ahead resupply package(s).
- Stop #4: Camp Lockett Event & Equestrian Facility (CLEEF) for those who plan on camping and beginning their journey the following day. CLEEF is located a quarter-mile from the Southern Terminus and is run by volunteers. Just Paul and OneSpeed are also the CLEEF campground hosts.
Staying at CLEEF
If you don’t feel like hitting the trail the moment you get off the shuttle, staying overnight at CLEEF is an excellent option. The fee is $10 per person, which you can add on when you book your shuttle or pay for separately if you already have transportation.
This fee includes a campsite, access to water and restroom facilities, WiFi, a power source for charging electronics, and a continental breakfast. You’ll also get a chance to have your questions answered by experienced thru-hikers and meet other members of the Class of 2023.
Scout and Frodo Are Hosting in 2023
Barney “Scout” and Sandy “Frodo” Mann announced they will be hosting PCT hikers again this year from April 1 through May 15. They are allowing U.S. hikers to stay one night and international hikers up to two nights.
The only thing that’s different this year is that they will no longer provide a shuttle service to the terminus. Instead, the PCT Southern Terminus Shuttle will stop by their residence on the way to Campo. Pick-up times are expected to be at roughly 9:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. PST. You do need to set up your ride at least eight hours in advance of the scheduled ride time, or preferably earlier, to ensure that seats are available.
Last but not least…
If you have any remaining questions, feel free to email OneSpeed and Just Paul at [email protected]. You may also contact Scout and Frodo with questions at [email protected]. It goes without saying that the PCTA is an excellent resource for all things PCT-related. Good luck, PCT Class of 2023!
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Featured image via Alexandria Cremer.
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