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White Pass to Chinook Pass

South Cascades > White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
46.8745, -121.5170 Map & Directions
Length
28.0 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain
2200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Views along this section of the PCT. Photo by Shadowdad. Full-size image

Get ready for 28 miles of very scenic hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. 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. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Summits
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Rating
4.00 out of 5

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Hiking White Pass to Chinook 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

WTA worked here in 2013!

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

White Pass to Chinook Pass

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.8745, -121.5170 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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

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.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

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

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

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White Pass to Chinook Pass

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