Northwest Trails Expect Rush Of 'Wild' Hikers -- And Those Trying To Avoid Them

Nov 21, 2014

The movie “Wild” hits select theaters Friday, December 5. It's based on a memoir by a Portland author who made a life-changing trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.

And the film is expected to spark a blockbuster summer for hikers on national scenic trails.

Jon Knechtel heads up efforts to maintain the Pacific Northwest Trail. He's bracing for the number of through hikers to triple next summer. And the Pacific Northwest Trail isn't even the trail in the movie.

“I've had people call me that have basically said that they feel that the Pacific Crest Trail is going to be overwhelmed in 2015,” Knechtel said.

“Wild” stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, who hiked more than 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington.

Strayed's 2012 book inspired hundreds of hikers. Now with the movie coming out, the Pacific Crest Trail Association has put up a special website for Wild fans with a tip sheet on what to pack, outdoor safety, and trail etiquette.