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Pacific Northwest Trail - Pasayten Traverse

North Cascades > Pasayten
48.9402, -119.7939 Map & Directions
Length
119.0 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain
21071 feet
Highest Point
7490 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard

The Boundary Trail is closed between Bunker Hill west to the junction with the PCT due to wildfire activity through at least June 2023

Photo by MazamaMike. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Ridges/passes
  • Wildlife
  • Mountain views
  • Summits
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

This 119-mile section of the 1200-mile Pacific Northwest Trail traverses the entirety of the Pasayten Wilderness. Continue reading

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Hiking Pacific Northwest Trail - Pasayten Traverse

Begin at Cold Springs Campground, the last place along the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) where westbound thru-hikers don’t see a road for more than 160 miles! You’ll start on the Chopaka Mountain Trail, heading northwest toward Goodenough Peak, and attaining an elevation in excess of 7,000 feet. You will stay in the high country, rising and descending across the 7,000-foot mark for the next 40 miles. From Goodenough Peak, the PNT heads west, using Long Draw Trail 340 to Horseshoe Pass, where it joins the Boundary Trail 533, and then wends below several higher-than 7,500-foot summits before continuing west over Scheelite Pass. At the foot of Wolframite Mountain, you will encounter a historic mining camp. Two cabins here provide shelter from the elements if needed. From the camp, ascend Apex Pass and enjoy dramatic views of Cathedral Peak.

The trail climbs over Cathedral Pass, and then drops into the scenic Cathedral Lakes Basin. Just beyond this area, the Diamond Creek megafire burned through the next 22 miles of trail in 2017. Expect navigation challenges and slow forward progress until the area can be rehabilitated. At Bunker Hill, hikers will emerge from the Diamond Creek fire perimeter, and hike southwest toward the Pasayten Airstrip; a relic of pre-wilderness days. From the airstrip, proceed northwest to join the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at Castle Pass. From here, the PNT and PCT share the next 13 miles south to Holman Pass. This is some of the very finest hiking on the length of either trail! At Holman Pass, the PNT turns west on Devils Ridge Trail 752. Enjoy views of Jack Mountain from Devil’s Dome, and then descend toward Ross Lake. From here, walk clockwise around the lake, using the East Bank Trail, Happy Panther Trail, and Ross Dam Trail to reach the Ross Dam trailhead on Highway 20.

Hike Description Written by
Jeff Kish, WTA Community

Pacific Northwest Trail - Pasayten Traverse

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.9402, -119.7939 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

The Boundary Trail is closed between Bunker Hill west to the junction with the PCT due to wildfire activity through at least June 2023

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

To the eastern trailhead: From Loomis, drive 2.1 miles on Loomis/Oroville County Road to Toats Coulee Road. Turn left on Toats Coulee Road, and drive for another 5.7 miles to Nine Mile Road. Turn right on Nine Mile Road and drive another 8 miles to the campground.

To the western trailhead: From points east or west, take highway 20 toward Ross Lake. Hikers will begin or end this hike at the Ross Dam Trailhead near milepost 134, which is directly off highway 20, south of the Ross Lake Dam.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

North Cascades > Pasayten

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington Department of Natural Resources

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Pacific Northwest Trail - Pasayten Traverse

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