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White Pass to Chinook Pass

South Cascades


South Cascades -- White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
View map below


28.0 miles, one-way


Gain: 2200 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2013

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Get ready for 28 miles of very scenic hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This is a great intro to backpacking route: Four days, seven to eight miles per day of relatively flat backpacking. The trail is well marked, there are abundant camp sites and many stopping points along the way.

The best way to approach this thru-hike is to use two cars or a key swap. Drop one car at Chinook Pass, drive approximately 45 minutes to White Pass and start hiking from there.

It is strongly recommended that you go south to north. It's the most scenic--unfolding and becoming more spectacular each day, and you won't be hiking with the sun in your eyes.

Wildflower meadows, still ponds and small lakes evolve into beautiful crest vistas of the Goat Rocks, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, and any climbing you do will be towards the end of your hike, after you've gotten your hiking legs strengthened with a couple of days of walking.

If you're looking for camping spots, consider the following:
Day 1: White Pass to Sand Lake (3 mi) or Pipe Lake (7.5 mi)
Day 2: Fish Lake or Crag Lake
Day 3: American Lake or Cougar Lake
Day 4: Out via Dewey Lake, to Chinook Pass


White Pass to Chinook Pass

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.8745, -121.5170 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley

Pacific Crest Trail (#2000)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest administered by Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

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Guidebooks & Maps

Mountaineers Books: Best of the Pacific Crest Trail Washington

Hike #24 (out of print)

Green Trails 303 White Pass

Green Trails 271 Bumping Lake

Getting There

The White Pass trailhead is found approximately a half-mile east of the White Pass Ski area on Hwy 12. The trailhead is not well marked on the highway--look for a brown sign with a horse icon on it, between Leech Lake and a nearby horse camp.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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White Pass to Chinook Pass

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