The Pacific Crest Trail Washington portion, as is true of the portions that extend through Oregon and California, allows hikers and horseback riders to enjoy some of its home state’s most beautiful scenery. Where it links with Oregon’s part of the trail, for example, visitors can indulge in inspiring views in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Heading north from there, it’s on to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and further north still unfolds one of the West’s greatest national Parks.
The southern stretch of Washington’s Pacific Crest Trail passes by the 12,276-foot Mt Adams at one point, and to the north of this peak, it approaches even taller Mt Rainier. The highest point in the state, Mt Rainier tops out at 14,411 feet and is the main attraction in Mt Rainier National Park. As you might imagine, many PCT trekkers decide to spend some time in Mt Rainier National Park before continuing on their journeys.
Heading north from Mt Rainier National Park, the Pacific Crest Trail offers up one of its easiest and quickest portions before climbing into the North Cascades region. From there, trekkers climb in and out of canyons, much like they would on the PCT California section that passes through the Golden State’s High Sierra region. The North Cascades, it should be noted, is a rugged region, and it’s also the wettest portion of the entire PCT Trail. Alpine lakes are in good supply, and numerous snowfields and glaciers are known to populate the region as well. High passes and lofty ridges provide breathtaking views, with the Lakeview Ridge being just one example. This ridge is set at 7,126 feet and is less than ten miles from the Canada border.
It is possible to camp along the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington, as is true along the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon and the Pacific Crest Trail in California. An overnight permit may be required, especially in wilderness areas, and it’s a good idea to check about permits in general when hiking along any portion of the trail. As for the best time to hike or horseback ride along the Washington section, August to September is the preferred period for many, as the trail is generally snow-free during this period. For more information, check out the Pacific Crest Trail Association. The PCTA is a member-sponsored non-profit that maintains and protects the Pacific Crest Trail.
Images provided by PCTA.org