Here's Why You Won't Run Into Many People On This Exhilarating West Coast Hike

Many are familiar with the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs 2,650 miles through the entire United States West Coast, from Mexico to Canada. Less people know about the much shorter but even more challenging California route, which sometimes meets up with the Pacific Crest Trail: the Ebbets Ultimate Ridge Linkup. While this loop is sometimes called a trail, it's actually considered off-trail hiking and requires a Wilderness Permit from the USDA Forest Service for overnight trips or a trailhead permit for day use.

The Ebbets Ultimate Ridge Linkup (also known as the EURL) is considered extremely dangerous, and like many of the West Coast's most beautiful hikes, it isn't for amateurs. Only those with experience with wilderness hiking and comfortable with scrambling should attempt to navigate this tricky route. For those skilled and determined enough to try the hike, however, a genuinely striking experience awaits – and because it's so hard, you'll likely have the entire route to yourself.

The challenge level means less hikers

While this route is tough for even those with hiking experience, these mountains are too tempting to resist. If you want to challenge yourself to complete the Ebbets Ultimate Ridge Linkup yourself, you'll need to be comfortable with scrambling. While scrambling is considered one of the easiest kinds of mountain climbing because it doesn't need any special equipment, it's still not something to underestimate. For those who have only hiked typical trails, the EURL is not one to start with. For those who have experience climbing more dangerous mountains, however, none of the peaks on this route should be outside your skillset.

Even if this is far from your first challenging hiking route, bringing enough supplies for your journey is critical. It's generally recommended to hike this trail in warm weather when you don't have to navigate snowy cliffsides, but that means your hike may be hot and sunny. The last thing you want to do is run out of water in the California mountains – so make sure not to underestimate how much you'll drink while scrambling in the heat.

One loop, five peaks

Hiking to the top of a mountain and seeing the entire landscape sprawl out below can feel like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but in the Ebbets Ultimate Ridge Linkup, you'll get to climb five in one go. The EURL gets its name from Ebbetts Peak, among the five incredible mountains you will see if you are brave enough to attempt the route. Ebbetts Peak is far from the most difficult mountain to climb in the region, and experienced climbers should have no trouble reaching the top – but the real challenge is timing.

While the entire loop is only a little over 18 miles long, a tiny distance when compared to the whole of the Pacific Crest Trail, hikers hoping to complete the EURL in a single day have to keep a close eye on their watch. To climb Ebbett's Peak, Raymond Peak, Silver Peak, Highland Peak, and Tryon Peak before the sun sets, hikers should start as early as possible and make sure not to dilly dally too long at the top of the early peaks, no matter how beautiful the views are.