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Backpacking Trips on WTA-Improved Trails

Visit a remote trail that WTA's volunteer vacation and backcountry response teams have recently maintained.

Spending your backpacking trip climbing over fallen trees and fighting back brush is a drag. Luckily, WTA crews are coming to the rescue, clearing trails across Washington so you can enjoy smooth sailing on your next backpacking trip. 

Our volunteer vacation and backcountry response teams head to the backcountry so they can spend their days fixing those trails that otherwise might not see maintenance. The following trails have been given the special treatment by volunteer crew, and make for great, early-summer backpacking adventures. As you hike, see if you can tell where our volunteers have leveled the tread, built steps or cut back brush.

Want to spend a few days or a week working for better trails in a beautiful backcountry place? Sign up for a volunteer vacation or backcountry response team to learn the ropes, and make a difference on trail.

    Central Cascades

    Entiat River Trail

    Location: Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan 
    Mileage: 14.7 miles, one-way
    Elevation Gain: 2,320 feet

    A crew works to cut a fallen tree out of the trail surrounded by burned trees from a wildfire. Photo by Marla Martin.
    Wildfires cause a lot of damage to trails. Here, two volunteers saw out a log surrounded by a burned forest. Photo by Marla Martin. 

    The Entiat River Trail has seen extensive wildfire damage over the last couple decades, with the Tinpan fire in 2006 and the Wolverine Fire in 2015. As part of WTA’s Lost Trails Found campaign, volunteers have been working hard to clear the trail of dead snags that have fallen across the tread. This trail is a main access point to the Glacier Peak Wilderness and opens the door to many other trails in this area, including the Ice Creek Trail, which was also worked on by volunteers.

    > Plan your hike on the Entiat River Trail using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Pacific Crest Trail - Deception Pass 

    Location: Stevens Pass - West
    Mileage: 28.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet

    A volunteer scrapes the bark off a tree that is blocking the trail in preparation of cutting it with a crosscut saw. Photo by Gary Zink.
    A volunteer removes the bark from a fallen tree to avoid dulling his saw blade when he makes the cut. Photo by Gary Zink. 

    The Deception Pass Trail starts at Tucquala Meadows and follows the eastern shore of Hyas Lake to a major intersection in this trail network where hikers can choose between the PCT, Marmot Lake or the continuation on the Deception Creek Trail all the way to Highway 2. Volunteers cleared all fallen trees between Tucquala Meadows and Deception Pass as well as the trail to Tuck Lake. Hikers and horseback riders will appreciate not having to hop over and around so many logs.

    > Plan your visit to Deception Pass using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    NOrth Fork Skykomish River  

    Location: Stevens Pass - West
    Mileage: 10.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet

    Volunteers do trail work along the North Fork Skykomish Trail. Photo by Nate Schmidt.
    Volunteers clean up the trail from a fallen tree. Photo by Nate  Schmidt. 

    The North Fork Skykomish Trail leads to the PCT and to the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness. It is an important link in this network, and thanks to annual maintenance done by volunteers, it is clear and ready for hikers. Crews brushed, improved drainage and repaired tread on the North Fork Skykomish Trail and Pass Creek Trail, so head out for the day or do a loop to see these improvements for yourself.   

    > Plan your visit on the North Fork Skykomish Trail using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Snoqualmie Region

    Lemah Meadow 

    Location: Salmon La Sac/Teanaway
    Mileage: 13.6 miles, one-way
    Elevation Gain: 400 feet

    A pile of fallen logs and debris block the trail near Lemah Meadow along the PCT. Photo by Bob Zimmerman.
    This is the kind of obstacle that volunteer crews are equipped to clear off the trail. Photo by Bob Zimmerman. 

    Lemah Meadow lies along section J of the PCT north of Snoqualmie Pass. WTA volunteers out on a BCRT recently did some trail work in this area. They worked between Lemah Meadow and Spectacle Lake to improve the trail for hikers and horseback riders. Whether you’re doing a thru hike or on a backpacking trip in the area, be sure to check out this spruced up trail.

    > Plan your hike to Lemah Meadow using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Pratt River Trail to Pratt Lake 

    Location: North Bend Area 
    Mileage: 13.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

    A section of improved trail sits in the shady forest on the Pratt River Trail. Photo by Emily Snyder.
    Volunteers cleared this section of trail and improved the tread. Photo by Emily Snyder. 

    These latest BCRTS are part of a year’s long effort to improve access to trails in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie area. With the addition of a paved road and a bridge to the Pratt Connector Trail, the Pratt River valley has seen vast improvements. There was one thing missing, though: the connection between the Pratt River and Pratt Lake. The hard work of WTA volunteers is changing that by clearing brush and logs from this trail that has sat unmaintained for many years, making sure it doesn’t become a Lost Trail. Once this section is opened up, this route will link the Middle Fork Road with I-90 and all the trails in-between.

    > Plan your hike on the Pratt River Trail using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Olympic Peninsula

    Duckabush River

    Location: Olympic Peninsula — Hood Canal
    Mileage: 10.6 miles (or longer)
    Elevation Gain: 2300 feet

    A volunteer uses a crosscut saw to cut through a large tree that had fallen over the trail. Photo by Karen Bean.
    Some really big trees had fallen across the Duckabush River Trail, but volunteer saw crews made quick work of these obstacles. Photo by Karen Bean.

    Another adopted trail, WTA has been working on the Duckabush for nearly 10 years, repairing damage from a 2011 wildfire that ravaged the trail. Burned trees still fall each winter, so each spring, we return to remove those trees and repair the tread. That means hikers can amble through old-growth groves, which muffle the thundering waters of the Duckabush River, on their way to the deep backcountry and lush forests that define this part of the peninsula. Learn more about our work on the Duckabush.

    > Plan your trip to the Duckabush using WTA's Hiking Guide

    Lower south fork skokomish 

    Location: Olympic National Forest
    Mileage: 8.5 miles, roundtrip 
    Elevation Gain: 800 feet

    Three trail volunteers work on cutting a fallen tree out of the trail. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.
    Three trail volunteers work on cutting a fallen tree out of the trail. Photo by Dawn Rorvik. 

    This trail offering access to the lush forest alongside the South Fork Skokomish River has received some TLC from WTA volunteers. The upper section between Camp Comfort and the Church Creek was logged out, brushed and the tread was repaired. Work continues on the lower section as well, improving tread and logging out fallen trees, to make this river amble even more enjoyable. Travel through this beautiful forest without these obstacles slowing you down.

    > Plan your visit to the Lower South Fork Skokomish using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Upper Gray Wolf River

    Location: Hood Canal
    Mileage: 5.0 miles, roundtrip 
    Elevation Gain: 400 feet

    A volunteer pulls on a cross cut saw to cut a fallen tree outy of the trail. Photo by Pauline Cantor.
    A volunteer cuts through a fallen tree with a crosscut saw. Photo by Pauline Cantor. 

    This low-key Olympic Peninsula river amble makes for a serene day hike or a backpacking trip. Thanks to the hard work of 2 volunteer crews who worked here in the summer of 2021, hikers won't have to navigate over or around so many fallen logs on a trip through this forest. 

    > Plan your hike on the Upper Gray Wolf River using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    South Cascades

    Trapper Creek 

    Location: Lewis River Region 
    Mileage: 9.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet

    Two volunteers with shovels work on the trail tread. WTA Archive.
    Volunteers repair the tread along the Trapper Creek Trail. WTA Archive. 

    This trail is known for passing through one of the few remaining stands of old growth in southern Washington. Crews have been out clearing the way of brush and fallen logs as well as decommissioning an old bridge and building a new creek crossing. Go unimpeded beneath these big trees, and try the popular loop trail to Observation Peak and back.

    > Plan your hike to Trapper Creek using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Rainier View Trail 

    Location: Chinook Pass-Highway 410 
    Mileage: 2.4 miles, roundtrip 
    Elevation Gain: 300 feet

    A section of trail runs through a burned forest. Photo by Owen Vogeli.
    After a wildfire, trees are weakened and all it takes is a windstorm to bring down a lot of deadfall on the trail. Photo by Owen Vogeli.

    The Snoquera area is an important part of our Trails Rebooted campaign, and this trail is an important piece of the puzzle. With a recent volunteer presence this trail is free and clear of debris, brush and logs that were blocking the way. Now hikers can soak in the views of Mount Rainier without the distraction of navigating through obstacles. And if you’re looking for even more miles, link together several other trails to form a loop through these mountains.

    > Plan your hike on the Rainier View Trail using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Eastern Washington

    Salmo-Priest Loop

    Location: Eastern Washington — Selkirk Range
    Mileage: 19.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 3400 feet

    A hiker with a large backpack ducks under a fallen tree on the trail. Photo by Crizzlethron.
    Fallen trees slow hikers down and can snag a large pack. Photo by Crizzlethron. 

    Another adopted trail, the Salmo-Priest is hidden away in the corner of Washington between Idaho and Canada,; just about s as remote as it gets. Here you'll find old growth and wildflowers and views from Shedroof Divide out over the Selkirk Mountains. WTA crews have put years of work into keeping this trail logged out, so both people and horses can enjoy this gorgeous area. 

    > Plan your hike on the Salmo-Priest Loop using WTA's Hiking Guide

    Red Bluff

    Location: Eastern Washington — Selkirk Range
    Mileage: 9.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 220 feet

    Red Bluff BCRT by Todd Dunfield (60).JPG
    Walk over a puncheon created by WTA on the Red Bluff trail. Photo by Todd Dunfield.

    A joint effort from WTA and the Pacific Northwest Trail Association made huge strides in improving this trail in the Colville National Forest. Crews have built puncheon bridges, improved tread, and of course, did plenty of brushing to make this trail more welcoming to hikers heading to the big views from Crowell Ridge.  

    > Plan your trip to Red Bluff using WTA's Hiking Guide

    North Cascades

    Twisp Pass Trail

    Location: Methow/Sawtooth 
    Mileage: 9.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 2,460 feet

    Several volunteers pose for the camera holding their trail tools. Photo by Jim Langdon.
    Trail volunteers take a break to pose for a photo in the Sawtooth Wilderness. Photo by Jim Langdon. 

    This Twisp Pass Trail along with the North Lake Trail have been covered by logout crews on both a backcountry response team and a volunteer vacation. Each group spent multiple days cutting fallen logs off the trail, making the way much easier to travel. Explore this beautiful landscape that turns colorful in the fall, and see the freshly cut timbers that no longer block the way.

    > Plan your hike to Twisp Pass using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    South Fork Cascade River 

    Location: North Cascades Highway 
    Mileage: 9.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet

    A section of trail being overtaken by vegetation. Photo by CP.
    With few visitors and years between visits from maintenance crews, trails can start to disappear back into the landscape. WTA volunteers work hard to make sure that doesn't happen. Photo by CP. 

    WTA volunteers have been working on this trail for years, ever since the Mineral Park Fire of 2003 caused extensive damage. Slowly it’s been brought back on the map and continues to be improved and cleared through the hard work of devoted volunteers. Through cutting back the brush and clearing fallen trees this trail is being opened back up for hikers. 

    > Plan your hike on the South Fork Cascade River using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Larch Creek 

    Location: Pasayten 
    Mileage: 32.4 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 3,300 feet

    A segment of trail runs through a burned forest. Photo by happy chappy.
    The damage caused by wildfires can leave trails in rough shape. That's why WTA volunteers often focus their efforts to reopen trails in burned landscapes. Photo by happy chappy.  

    The Pasayten Wilderness is one of the priority areas in our Lost Trails Found campaign. The Larch Creek Trail saw a lot of damage during the Diamond Creek fire of 2017, but volunteers have been working hard to remove dead snags that were blocking the trail and repair erosion caused by a lack of vegetation in the area. Check out this wilderness to see how the area is already rebounding and reopened thanks to the hard work of these saw crews.

    > Plan your hike at Larch Creek using WTA’s Hiking Guide