Two years ago, 26-year-old hiking phenom Andrew Skurka became the first person ever to complete the nearly 8,000-mile Sea-to-Sea Route, a chain of trails spanning the breadth of North America from Quebec's coastal waters to the sands of Washington state. Today, Skurka is making more history by hiking what he's calling "The Great Western Loop"—a never-been-done circuit starting in the Grand Canyon, running up the mountain ranges of California, Oregon, and Washington, then east along the Canadian border to the Rockies and down the spine of the Continental Divide. And he's doing all 7,000 miles in seven months. Skurka recently called us from a pay phone outside the town of Mt. Shasta (he's at about the quarter mark) to update us on the trip. His favorite part of the hike so far? The Pacific Crest Trail at Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe. "You're perched up on a ridgetop with views in every direction," said Skurka. Lucky for us, we don't have to start from the Grand Canyon to access this scenic spot; for day hikers, Skurka recommends grabbing a camera and jumping on the 4.7-mile Mt. Judah Loop off the Pacific Crest Trail. "You'll get the most panoramic vistas I've seen," he said. You heard it here first.
For updates and information about Andrew Skurka's history-making hike around the American West, visit www.andrewskurka.com.
Directions to the Mt. Judah Loop: From I-80, take the Soda Springs exit. Drive about 4 miles on Donner Pass Rd. (Old Hwy 40). Near the pass, and west of Alpine Skills International, turn south, following signs to the Pacific Crest Trail. Turn left and you'll see the trailhead with minimal parking. Note: The Mt. Judah Loop is dog-friendly. More information.