On the Three Fools Trail, Pasayten Wilderness


The Three Fools Trail is one of the few east-west trails in the Pasayten Wilderness, connecting the Pacific Crest Trail to Ross Lake. Starting on the PCT about 2 miles south of the Canadian Border the trails heads west, climbing through light forest onto south facing slopes and through a burned area from a 1996 fire.

After a few miles the trail reaches a series of knolls with fantastic views west to the Pickets and Mt Baker and south all along the Cascade Crest.

Traversing along flowers grasslands

(where this picture was taken) the trail starts a steep descent to a crossing of Big Face Creek.

The trail becomes faint and brushy on the descent and once crossing the creek regains all that altitude immediately arriving at a ridge above Elbow Basin. The trail is truly magnificent here, (and somewhat difficult to follow) expansive meadows, clumps of trees and awe inspiring views. For 2 miles the path follows the top of the ridge, passing Freeze Out Lake.

Dropping more than 3,500 feet in three and half miles the trail reaches Three Fools Creek. The next two miles of trail (until you reach the border of the North Cascades National Park) are some of the most difficult miles of “trail” I have ever hiked! Hundreds of downed trees, brush completely covering the trail so thick that it takes quite an effort to just push through make this truly a trail for fools!

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