Start your hike at the Slate Pass Trailhead, just beyond the Hart’s Pass Campground. This is the highest elevation road in the state of Washington, as well as the northernmost road access to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.
From Slate Pass, hike the Buckskin Ridge Trail 498 north between Haystack Mountain and the Middle Fork Pasayten River (which is also known as Robinson Creek) for 1.6 miles to its junction with the Whistler Trail 575. Along the way, enjoy sweeping views of the Middle Fork drainage while walking above the upper reaches of the forest below. In the early season, this can be an excellent place for wildflower viewing. In the autumn, the larches across the valley can be equally stunning. Continue northeast on the Whistler Trail, which will lead you down into the trees as you make your way toward the Middle Fork Pasayten River.
Not long after crossing the river, reach a junction with Robinson Creek Trail 478. From here, you will hike south. For the next mile along Robinson Creek Trail, you will be climbing back out of the drainage and big timber toward Robinson Pass. Those wishing to add a little adventure to their treks should keep an eye out for the climbers path toward the summit of Devil’s Peak in this section. The extra feet of vertical gain is rewarded with grand views deeper into the Pasayten.
Back on the loop, hikers will continue south to the intersection with Slate Pass Trail, 478.2. Slate Pass Trail continues southwest back to the trailhead. In September, it’s not uncommon to encounter PCT thru-hikers at Hart’s Pass, willing to trade exciting tales for rides back to civilization after completing their Mexico-to-Canada treks.
WTA Pro Tip: Fuel up for your adventure at the Mazama Country Store, or refresh after the hike at Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop, just a few miles down the road