Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Pacific Crest Trail

Four segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail run through Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Here are the details...

Wind River Ranger District

Trail Park: Panther Creek - Trailhead is where Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail No. 2000 crosses Panther Creek FR 65.
Length: 50.4 miles
Season of Use: Trail elevations 2,000 feet and below April-November, Elevations 2000+ feet May to late October
Access: State Road 14, west of the Bridge of the Gods that crosses the Columbia River, Forest Road 60.

Description: A detailed map, with descriptions of points of interest on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, is available at all Ranger District Offices and the Forest Headquarters. This section of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 runs through the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, Department of Natural Resources, and the Wind River Ranger District. The trail begins on State Road 14, 0.5 miles west of the Bridge of the Gods, which crosses the Columbia River at Cascade Locks, Oregon.

The trail gradually climbs northwest for ten miles past sky blue lakes and traverses Table Mountain. Breathtaking views of the Gorge, Rock Creek drainage, as well as the cities of Camas/Washougal are possible while traversing Table Mountain. Just turn around and reward yourself for your physical efforts while climbing! From Table Mountain, the four snowy volcanic mountains are visible! The trail follows the ridge top towards Three Corner Rock, for five miles and intersects Three Corner Rock Trail (a State trail). To reach the summit of Three Corner Rock it's 1.5 miles up and back to the Pacific Crest Trail. Fantastic views of the four snow-covered volcanic mountains (mount St. Helens, Mt. Rainer, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams) make this an excellent photography stop, and well worth the exertion to reach this panoramic paradise! The trail descends through 30- to 60-year-old timber and Rock Creek drainage before intersecting with DNR Road 2000 two miles farther. A short half-mile farther, one crosses a sturdy wooden bridge over Rock Creek and also enters the Wind River Ranger District.

Proceeding on the fairly flat terrain, the trail intersects Snag Creek Trail (a State trail, northbound that terminates at Mowich Butte), in 1.5 miles and Snag Creek, about half a mile further. The Pacific Crest Trail intersects DNR Road 2070, rapidly ascends for 5 miles, and intersects Sedum Trail on your right (an unsigned State trail southbound that terminates on DNR Road 2000). Continuing to climb, the trail intersects Forest Road 41 in 1.5 miles. During this section of the trail, take a break and look back at the ground that you've covered! Possible views are Three Corner Rock, the Gorge and Rock Creek Drainage. Huckleberries are abundant during mid-summer.

After crossing Forest Road 41, the trail descends through the Wind River Experimental Forest for 4.4 miles, crosses Trout Creek, with a well-made arched bridge suitable for horses, and brings Forest road 43 into view. After crossing Forest Road 43, the trail runs parallel with the road for one mile through old-growth forest and skirts the Wind River Nursery before intersecting with Forest Road 417. Trail users may elect to visit the Ranger Station 0.5 miles from Forest Road 417 or continue on the Pacific Crest Trail by turning left.

The Pacific Crest Trail skirts the east side of Bunker Hill and intersects trail #145 in 0.5 miles. Approximately one mile farther the trail gradually climbs to Forest Road 54, the Wind River, and Highway 30 in quick succession. After crossing Highway 30, the trail crosses Forest Road 6517 and runs parallel with the road east for two miles, and intersects with Forest Road 65, south of Panther Creek Campground.

Crossing Panther Creek the trail gradually climbs though old-growth forest towards Big Huckleberry Mountain (4,202 feet), and crosses Forest Road 68 in four miles. Ascending rapidly, the trail intersects Grassy Knoll trail #146 in three miles. From this point trail users may choose to take the short 0.25 mile trail to the summit of Big Huckleberry, the site of a former fire lookout, or continue north on the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail runs north and skirts the Big Lava Bed and Cascade Range. A water trough for stock is located 1.5 miles south of Crest Camp. Crest Camp offers a campsite and outhouse at the intersection of Forest Road 60. From this point, trail users should consult the Mt. Adams Ranger Station for information on trails.

Mt. Adams Ranger District

Trail Park: Crest Camp - Trailhead is where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses Carson-Guler FR 60 at Crest Camp south of the Indian Heaven Wilderness.
Trail Park: 88 Road - Trailhead is where the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses FR 88 near the headwaters of Trout Lake Creek.
Trail Park: Williams Mine - Trailhead is on White Salmon FR 23 where the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses near Williams Mine.
Length: 52.4 miles
Season of Use: Late June to October
Visitor Use: Heavy (extra heavy through wildernesses)
Access: South end of Road 60, north end of Road 5603

Description: The section of Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 which runs through the Mt. Adams Ranger District begins on Road 60, approximately 20 miles south west of the town of Trout Lake, two miles from the southern border of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. The trail generally travels north though the Wilderness for17 miles past beautiful lakes and meadows. Water is in short supply, except for the lakes, so bring water filters or water purification tables. Upon merging from the Wilderness, the trail goes through the Sawtooth berryfields, then heads northeast toward the Mt. Adams Wilderness, which is approximately 15 miles away. Once entering the Mt. Adams Wilderness at the 4,400 foot level, one climbs through forest of Douglas fir and mountain hemlock, then up to Horse Shoe Meadow (elevation 5,900 feet) and the junction of the Around the Mountain Trail. Heading north from the meadow, the trail skirts the west side of Mt. Adams, with spectacular views of Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. Wildflowers, views of White Salmon and Adams Glaciers, high mountain lakes, cascading streams, and waterfalls are just a few of the sights to see along the trail. After 14 miles, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail leaves the Wildern3ess approximately 1 miles before leaving the Mt. Adams Ranger District at Road 5603.

Goat Rocks Wilderness: Highway 12 to Midway Meadows

Ranger District: Randle
Length: 36.4
Elevation: Elevation ranges from 4,450 to 7,200 feet above sea level

Description: The PCT within the Goat Rocks Wilderness varies in elevation from about 4,500 feet to over 7,500 feet. At higher elevations, rain or snow can be expected at any time. For this reason, through-travel may not be feasible until late July and last only until mid September. Crossing snowfields one half mile long can be common in August. Ice axes are always recommended. Warm, waterproof clothing is necessary during the entire summer.

This section of the PCT passes through some high alpine meadows. However, the majority of the trail follows the crest of the Cascades in rugged terrain. The trail leaves Hwy 12 near the White Pass Ski Area and climbs steeply to the south for 3.5 miles before entering the Goat Rocks Wilderness. The trail stays near the ridgetop as it passes Shoe Lake Basin (no camping allowed) and then descends gradually towards Tieton Pass. Continuing south, the PCT climbs towards Lutz Lake (at mile 12) and enters an area of open talus slopes at Elk Pass. The PCT becomes narrow, rugged and treacherous between Elk Pass and Packwood Glacier. The trail remains on high open slopes as it proceeds south toward Cispus Pass (at mile 22) and makes a slow descent before leaving the Wilderness several miles north of Midway Meadows.

Highway 12 to Fish Lake

Ranger District: Randle
Length: 13.5
Elevation: Elevation ranges from 4,450 to 5,600 feet above sea level

Description: The following describes the section of the PCT from Hwy 12, north to Fish Lake. Access to this section of the PCT is located near Leech Lake. Stock users should use the trailhead northeast of the lake. The trail leaves the highway and climb 2 miles to Deer Lake. From here it enters rolling alpine terrain, dotted with many small lakes and potholes. After 5.5 miles, the trail passes Beusch Lake and continues another mile to Jess Lake. The PCT leaves Packwood District after Fish Lake.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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