The 2,400 mile Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada following the spine of the Sierras and the Cascade Mountains. The northernmost section traverses the Pasayten Wilderness, ending at Monument 78 on the Canadian border.
Switchbacks Below Rock Pass
The Pacific Crest Trail and the Pacific Northwest Trail actually share this short section of trail. The PNT is America’s newest long trail, stretching from Glacier National Park in Montana west to Olympic National Park on the pacific coast.
The last 30 miles are a little remote, but cross some of the most starkly beautiful mountain vistas in the lower 48 states.
Double Rainbows on the Pacific Crest Trail at Rock Pass
A few years ago I enlisted a few friends and we st out on a 14 day, 98 mile hike through the Pasayten Wilderness, along the Jackita Ridge Trail, a detour over to Devils Dome and then we cut over to the PCT, intersecting it at Holman Pass and headed north.
Wildflowers in the Mist, Pacific Crest Trail
Holman Pass occupies a low forested saddle and from there the trail begins a steady ascent, finally breaking out in the open with unrestricted views. Wildflowers cover the meadows and clumps of trees create a wonderful scene.
Approaching Goat Lakes
There is a year-round spring here and plenty of fresh water. One can head off for a short cross-country jaunt to visit small Goat Lakes.
Panorama of PCT just Below Goat Lakes
From here the trail angles north across more open slopes to reach Rock Pass.
Panorama from Rock Pass
Rock Pass, viewed from Woody Pass, Pasayten Wilderness
There is a series of switch backs and a steep descent and then a traverse after which you quickly regain your just-lost altitude on the approach to Woody Pass. There is one small camp site just before the pass.
Now the PCT crosses through the gap of Woody Pass, continuing north on the western slopes of the Cascade Crest.
Climbing gently the trail winds around a ridge and reaches its highest point at 7,000 feet atop Lakeview Ridge.
Approaching the top of Lakeview Ridge
As you can see, there are abundant wildflowers!
Wildflowers on Lakeview Ridge
The views are superb in all directions. Mount Baker and other glacier-clad peaks from North Cascades National Park rise to the west.
View to the West from Lakeview Ridge
The green and brown peaks of the Pasayten stretch east as far as one can see.
If you make it this far be sure to make time to stay here for a while. You will not want to leave!
One of the Lakes you can see from Lakeview Ridge
The trail now descends along Devils Stairway to Hopkins Pass. Along the way a spur leads to the shore of Hopkins Lake.
From Hopkins Pass its an easy 3 miles north to the (confusing!) junction with the Three Fools Trail. At this point our PCT trip ended, we headed west on the Three Fools Trail towards Ross Lake.