Major PCT Bridge Failure Expected To Cause Detours for PCT, JMT Thru-Hikers in 2023

The South Fork San Joaquin River Bridge, a 100-foot-long steel footbridge in a remote area of Kings Canyon National Park, was severely damaged this winter, according to the PCTA. The bridge is located on the Pacific Crest Trail at mile 854.5 between Evolution Valley and Muir Trail Ranch and is the only means for safe passage across the river.

There is no current estimate as to when the bridge will be repaired, but it is highly unlikely that repairs will be made in time to accommodate this year’s PCT and John Muir Trail hikers. The PCTA says the high snow levels from this winter will complicate and delay bridge construction, which, as the organization points out, is a difficult and lengthy process to begin with.

Aerial view of broken bridge over the South Fork San Joaquin River. Photo via PCTA, courtesy of NPS, Jacob Mcnamara and SEKI Aviation/Helitack.

The PCTA has cautioned hikers against attempting to cross via the broken bridge, as doing so could be perilous. Crossing the river elsewhere in the vicinity during high water is not a possibility, either. As the record snows melt over the summer months, hikers can expect to see unusually high water levels at this location and various other High Sierra water crossings.

“This is a significant impact to travel along the PCT/JMT,” the PCTA closure report reads. “We will update you with more information, like recommendations for detouring or skipping this hazardous area, when it becomes available.”

Featured image: photo via PCTA, courtesy of NPS, Jacob Mcnamara and SEKI Aviation/Helitack.

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Comments 5

  • Barry S Jones : Apr 25th

    I’m wondering if late season jmters and sobos pct’ers will be able to detour and cross at the mouth of evolution creek where it meets the San Joaquin. At the bottom of the switchbacks theres a grove of trees with campsites and I remember the mouth of evo not being as crazy as the SQ. That was July 2019 high snow

    • Eric Janson : Apr 28th

      This is slightly misleading. There is no official on-site evaluation of the bridge as of today. There is a possibility that the bridge could be useable by foot traffic, but not stock. It may be a small possibility, but until on-site confirmation is possible we just won’t know.

  • T Nyp : Apr 28th

    Why not get the US Army Corps of Engineers involved via appeal to the local US Congressperson? They should be able to confirm the condition of the bridge and possibly make temporary repairs to make it passable by hikers.

  • Scott Farnsworth : Jul 11th

    anyone heard anything new on this? the suggested “detour” is a major one!


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