Casa De Luna, aka The Anderson’s (Mile 478 NOBO)
Casa De Luna is an institution on the PCT. Beardoh went to The Anderson’s in 2012 and had a good time. There are plenty of cars passing on the road that crosses the PCT where one can catch a hitch down to the town of Green Valley. Green Valley has a few small shops, convenient stores and at least one restaurant (Heart N Soul Coffee House). You can camp at the Anderson’s, enjoy some good food and a good hang with Joe, Terry and other PCT hikers. Joe and Terry Anderson both have a big heart and a love for PCT hikers.
- Going Fast/Moderate Pace – The Anderson’s is a fun hang if you are feeling social.
Hikertown (Mile 517 NOBO)
After what seems like a never-ending series of switchbacks down to the paved road, you will come to Hikertown, arguably one of the weirdest places on the PCT. They do accept resupply packages (there is a fee) and often you can get a ride to a nearby store for snacks or simple hot, fried food. There are campers where you can get a shower or sleep for the night. Accommodations are not modern by any stretch, and a bit crusty. There is an area with chairs where hikers are often hanging out until evening, often with the plan of hiking on as it gets dark and cools off. While there is a strange vibe, it is helpful to be able to pick up a resupply here and chill out, before heading out into a very dry section of the trail. There is often the chance to catch a ride into a convenience store with the owner.
- Going fast – pick up a resupply box and keep moving
- Moderate pace – when you arrive to pick up your resupply package, plan to hang out in the shade during the heat of the afternoon and then head on once it gets cool. No need to get too much further (a couple miles)…just find a quiet place to sleep before getting a very early start the next day.
Mojave/Tehachapi (Mile 558 OR 566 NOBO)
While it is easier to hitch into either town from Mile 558, it is easier to get back to the trail at Mile 566 (this is an on/off ramp) by taking the local bus. We have never gone into Tehachapi, instead always opting for Mojave (and staying in the Motel 6). There is a Stater Brothers grocery store and Primo Burger joint near the Motel 6 and the Denny’s is down the road. It can be really, really hot here during hiker season, so sitting in an air conditioned motel room with a pint of ice cream can be just the antidote. It seems that roughly half of hikers go into Tehachapi, but since we have never been there, we don’t have any extra info. It does seem to have more amenities than Mojave, but can also be a bit more spread out, which is why many hikers opt for Mojave.
- Going fast – It is probably easier to get yourself in and out of town quicker in Mojave (or Tehachapi), rather than Lake Isabella. So take the time to pick up a resupply or go to a grocery store at this town stop and go straight to Kennedy Meadows.
- Moderate pace – Definitely head into town and take a respite from the heat. If you haven’t had a zero day in awhile this can be a nice place to chill out before tackling the (typically) very hot stretch ahead.
Lake Isabella/Weldon/Onyx (Mile 652 NOBO)
Given the fact that Lake Isabella is 37 miles from the trail, you might think that it would be a hard hitch into town or not worth it. However, our experience has been that the hitch is fairly easy. And once you are in town, you can either hitch back (this might be a bit tougher, since it is at an on-ramp) or just take the bus back to the trail (departure times are limited, know the schedule). Sadly the McDonalds in Lake Isabella closed in 2016, but there are still other food options for dining (Locally owned places as well as TacoBell, Subway, Little Caesars). There are two grocery stores in town…the Isabella Super Market is closest to the motel, but it is pretty small and limited. There is a Von’s grocery store about a mile further away which has a much better selection. *In 2012, Beardoh & 3 friends went into Lake Isabella from Kelso Valley Road. They had hoped to catch a ride, but ultimately walked 7 miles in 105+ degree temps into the nearest community, and then begging a ride from a local into Lake Isabella. A very long hot afternoon – not recommended.
As for Weldon, the only thing there is the KOA campground, a post office and a restaurant down the road. If that is all you need, then you can go just this far. The hitch in/out will likely be similar as the hitch from Lake Isabella. We have never stayed there, because we prefer motels over campgrounds when we get to town.
We have never been to Onyx, and the only thing there is the post office. Probably best to just go further to Weldon or Lake Isabella and get a few extra town perks at the same time.
- Going fast – skip it
- Moderate pace – Consider heading into Lake Isabella for a shower and bed, as well as some hot town food. You can break up the long food carry from Mojave to Kennedy Meadows (roughly 140 miles) by doing a resupply in Lake Isabella.